|Tuesday 17 August 2004||Go Travel Kent League Premier Division||Stephen McCartney reports from Greatness Park|
|Sevenoaks Town||1||Constable 67|
|Tunbridge Wells||1||Smith 42|
Honours even in ding-dong derby
HONOURS were even in an entertaining west-Kent derby at Greatness Park on Tuesday night, as nine-man Tunbridge Wells clung on to a deserved point.
Barrington Beaney was the first to be sent off by referee Mr J'Darcy in the 70th minute and he was followed by Daniel Barham, who was harshly sent off by the man in the middle for throwing the ball away, with thirteen minutes remaining.
However, Sevenoaks Town threw everything at the nine-men in the closing stages of a pulsating clash, but they couldn't apply the finish to beat eighteen-year-old stopper James Coleman.
Sevenoaks striker, Andy Constable, signed from Kent League rivals Whitstable Town, found the net for the second time in as many games after 67 minutes, cancelling out Steve Smith's opener which came three minutes before the interval.
Earlier in the game, Constable headed Liam Spillane's corner kick wide of the post, in the home side's first opening inside five minutes.
Smith brought a fine save from home goalkeeper Darren Smart, who dived to his left to push the rasping 20-yarder around the upright.
Sevenoaks grew in confidence as time went on, and in the 21st minute Lee Aldridge fired a shot from distance over Coleman's goal.
Six minutes before the break, however, Sevenoaks' hit the woodwork for the first time. The bouncing shot from impressive striker Richard Bryce eluded Coleman and the ball struck the right upright.
At the other end, a 35-yard drive from Barham flashed wide before Kevin Metcalf's visitors opened the scoring with three minutes to go before the break.
Barham played a defence splitting ball to the right of the penalty area and Smith latched onto and drilled a shot past Smart and into the net to give Tunbridge Wells, who have clearly improved from last season's campaign, a deserved lead.
Visitng striker, Delroy Parkes missed a gilt-edged chance to increase their lead in the final minute of the half. A corner was cut back to vocal Lee Porter whose cross found the striker unmarked, but he planted his header over the bar.
Sevenoaks Town manager, John James, admitted he had a job to lift his players during the half time break.
He said: "After Saturday's defeat at Hythe we had to lift ourselves up.
"The hardest thing is to accept a goal before half-time and we went into our dressing room at half-time with a lot of chins and shoulders sagged and looking tired.
"We had to lift them in some kind of way.
"Last year we played Tunbridge Wells and they took all six points and it was very frustrating, and I felt the lads played a little bit of football but got no just rewards.
"We had to somehow lift them - it was hard - but they try to set their own standards- and they were finding it a bit frustrating."
What ever was said inside the four walls of the home dressing room, however, had the desired effect as the home side came out with all guns blazing, and should have equalised within seven minutes of the re-start but Chris Ralph hooked over when well placed.
Wells had another chance to wrap up the three points in the 56th minute. Beaney played the ball to Shane Sims, who was on the right by-line, and his perfect delivery carved out Smith on the far post unmarked but the scorer blasted over.
As soon as the heavens opened this sparked a recovery from the home side, and they drew level in the 67th minute when skipper Wayne Balmer drilled a shot towards the far post and this was touched home by prolific goalscorer Constable.
Smith's 25-yarder was tipped over the crossbar by Smart before the visitors lost their discipline and Beaney was sent off, for what appeared to be for arguing to the referee over a Sevenoaks free kick.
Changes were made by Metcalf and he brought on Stephen Ward, and in the 76th minute he ran fully 60 yards down the right flank with the ball before winning a corner, tackled by Ollie Miles on the right by-line.
Wells' were reduced to nine men in the 77th minute as Barham saw red in more ways than one, throwing the ball away in front of the match referee, who harshly brandished a straight red card.
Sevenoaks threw everything at their visitors with Miles 40-yard shot whistling wide of the post and Constable twice going close, with an 85th minute header clipping the right upright and a volley crashing narrowly wide of the right post inside injury time.
However, Tunbridge Wells' substitute Ward almost snatched victory, racing clear of the defence, and with only Smart to beat, he shot agonisingly wide of the right post.
Sevenoaks boss John James admitted he was pleased with picking up his first point of the season, after playing well, but losing 3-1 at Hythe Town on the opening day of the season.
He said: "After going to Hythe and not getting anything in such a good performance, we played some reasonable football tonight.
"I am quite happy we are off and running tonight, with a point on the board."
Meanwhile, his opposite number, Wells
manager Kevin Metcalf, saw this as two points dropped, as was the case on
Saturday when a last minute equaliser from Whitstable's Steve Marshall denied
them three points in a 2-2 draw at Culverden Stadium.
Metcalf added: "Again, two points dropped as far as I'm concerned - the same as on Saturday.
"I think it just shows how far we've come in the pre-season. Before the game I was looking for three points but we've come away with a point so we are unbeaten."
Sevenoaks Town: Darren Smart, Sim Johnson (Steve Snell 84), Liam Spillane (Steve Humphries 67), Ollie Miles, John Gasson, Wayne Balmer (C), Lee Aldridge, Chris Ralph, Andy Constable, Richard Bryce, Ian Balmer (Andy Hart HT). Subs: Darren Skey, Jason Reeves
Tunbridge Wells: James Coleman, Jay Westwood (C), Ben Hilden, Simon Joynes, Shane Sims (Kevin Brown 67), Barrington Beaney (sent off 70), Lee Porter, Bradley Mortimer (Bradley Hobbs 80), Delroy Parks (Stephen Ward 76), Daniel Barham (sent off 7), Steve Smith. Subs: Richard Vidley, Kevin Skinner
Referee: Mr J D'Arcy
Assistants: Mr D Bew & Mr J Roffey
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