Sevenoaks Town 6-2 Tunbridge Wells - I come and do the best I can. If it ain't good enough someone will have to tell me and that's fine, says Tunbridge Wells boss Jason Bourne

Tuesday 10th October 2017
Sevenoaks Town 6 – 2 Tunbridge Wells
Location Greatness Park, Mill Lane, Seal Road, Sevenoaks, Kent TN14 5BX
Kickoff 10/10/2017 19:45

Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division
Tuesday 10th October 2017
Stephen McCartney reports from Greatness Park

SEVENOAKS TOWN manager Micky Collins says his side are ahead of their target after ten games after silencing their noisy neighbours.

Sevenoaks Town remain at the summit of the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table with 25 points on the board, level on points with Croydon, but with three games in hand.

Tunbridge Wells have slipped down into the bottom five with eight points from nine games and are only three points clear of the relegation zone and the six goals conceded tonight means the club have leaked 21 goals in their last five games.

Rory Hill, who was later forced off with an Achilles injury, opened the floodgates after only 94 seconds before Sevenoaks Town raced into a 3-0 lead inside 20 minutes when Billy Bennett scored a brace.

Tunbridge Wells pulled a goal back through Jon Pilbeam’s desire, but any hope soon vanished as Bryon Walker swept home Sevenoaks’ fourth goal, before Pilbeam converted from the penalty spot to give the crowd of 203 six first half goals.

Tunbridge Wells rallied and put in a much better performance at the start of the second half but Walker scored with a rare header on the hour before Tom Ripley lashed in the final goal.

Collins said: “Pleased with the result. I was pleased with the start, it was good.  We came out of the blocks, they gifted us one and then I thought we took control of the game and all off a sudden we’re 3-0 up and it’s how many are we going to get?

“Then we made a bad mistake and I thought, we didn’t get rattled, we lost our focus a little bit.   We made a little bit of hard work of it.  I had a bit of a moan at half-time and addressed it and second half I thought we came out and was far better.”

Sevenoaks Town went into the game on the back of their 3-0 win at Rusthall, while Tunbridge Wells were thrashed 4-1 at home to Crowborough Athletic at the weekend.

Tunbridge Wells boss Jason Bourne needs to turn things around after one win in eight in all competitions after tonight.

“We came off the back of a bit of a hiding (at home to) Crowborough when we didn’t turn up at all. It was an absolutely heartless performance,” admitted Bourne.

“We continued that vein of form for the first 20 minutes (tonight), gave them a couple of goals, went 3-0 down very quickly but from that point onwards I thought we really put a shift in. It’s going to sound a little bit bizarre because we got beat 6-2. 

“They punished us every single time they went forward, every chance they had they scored. In terms of the number of chances, it’s probably quite even but they were ruthless, that’s why they’re a top side.”

Tunbridge Wells created the first opening after only 20 minutes when former Hastings United striker Jack Harris drove forward and drilled a low right-footed shot from 30-yards, which was comfortably saved by Craig Holloway.

Bourne said: “We said to the boys it was a perfect start, absolutely perfect start.  You don’t know where it’s going to go, take shots and take chances.  It went down his throat but it was a lovely clean strike and straight away we get punished.”

Collins said: “The thing is you never know how teams are going to start.  They’re obviously not having their best run, which is no good for them but they’re going to have a reaction but I said to our guys they’re going to come out and react tonight.  There’s some good players in that team and if they put it together and they play to sevens and eights out of 10 we’re going to have a really tough night.  Luckily at times our boys are stepping up, which is quite obvious.”

But woeful defending gifted Sevenoaks Town the lead.

Central defender Jonathan Shea passed the ball back to his goalkeeper Chris Oladogba and Walker pounced on the loose ball and the keeper wiped out the striker inside the box.

Referee Zoltan Konkoly watched the play unfold and waved play on as the ball trickled across to Hill, who swept in his ninth goal of the season into the empty net from eight-yards.

“I’m glad you explained it because I never saw it,” revealed Collins. “All I saw was Rory rolling it into an empty net.  I didn’t have a clue what happened before that. I was talking to somebody behind me, I turned round and then it was 1-0.  If you saw that’s what happened then I trust you.

“Everyone wants to play in a local derby, no matter what level it is.  There’s always been a decent rivalry between us, I have a good bit of rivalry with their fans, they have some great fans.

“If you’re on a good run and you score early it settles you and they’re not on the best run so if you score early against them it rattles them a little bit and they’ve got to come out and as soon as they come out, we can pick teams out.”

Bourne admitted: “It was a comedy of errors!  It was a foul in the corner, Joffy (Shea) placed the ball and tried to play the ball to Chris. Chris has then played it back to him and Joffy decided to play it back to him again.  I said to them first of all, Chris should’ve taken responsibility to clear the thing up the pitch, which would’ve got us off to a good start.

“I thought the officials we’re some of the best we’ve had this year, they were really fair, kept the game flowing. It could’ve been a penalty but the ref played advantage and Rory finished.”

Tunbridge Wells couldn’t live with Sevenoaks Town’s sublime quick passing game on the artificial pitch and Sevenoaks Town were to be denied by Oladogba, who got down low to his left to push away Jason Thompson’s low left-footed drive from 25-yards after the ball was cleared out to him after Harrison Carnegie’s right-wing cross.

Sevenoaks Town doubled their lead when it arrived with eight minutes and three seconds on the clock.

More woeful defending, this time from right-back Ian Parsons, saw him hook the ball straight to Bennett, who released Hill down the left flank, who cut into the box to reach the by-line to cut the ball back for Bennett to place his right-footed shot into the bottom left-hand corner from eight-yards.

Collins said: “Good ball, capitalising on mistakes but you’ve got to do it and you’ve got to be clinical.  Bill hasn’t scored of late and we changed things a little bit for him tonight to accommodate him and try to get on the scoresheet and he’s delivered with two goals.”

“Again, when the chips are down, you’ve got to hit good areas and go and press and work form there but when you’re dallying around, when you get people who aren’t doing the basics right, we’ve literally given them two goals,” admitted Bourne.

Hill terrorised Parsons down the left, while Carnegie terrorised Joe Adams on the other flank.

Hill got the better of Parsons and played Walker in behind the poor Tunbridge Wells defence that were clearly missing Scott Whibley and Perry Spackman and Oladogba stood tall and a strong outstretched right-hand prevented a goal.

Hill then cut the ball onto his right-foot and unleashed a dipping right-footed drive from 25-yards, which came crashing back down the crossbar and Oladogba grabbed hold of Carnegie’s poked follow-up shot at his near post.

Collins said: “You could see where he was going to put it exactly but it was two inches too high and he hasn’t got another goal.  Rory’s got nine in seven or something, that’s some going.  He’s been that catalyst of what we needed, that little bit of extra quality that goes with what else we’ve got and at the moment it’s going well.”

Bourne added: “They piled on the pressure and they smelt blood and it was there to be taken.”

Scintillating Sevenoaks raced into a 3-0 lead with only 19 minutes and 8 seconds on the clock.

Brett Ince played the ball inside to Bennett, who drove into a pocket of space in front of the retreating Tunbridge Wells back four and drilled his right-footed shot towards goal from 25-yards.  Oladogba dived to his right but allowed the ball to flash underneath his body and nestle inside the bottom corner.

Collins was delighted with the strike.

“I’m so pleased because I moan week in week out, not getting into that position and looking for another pass and I moan about it constantly, and today he’s pulled it out of his feet, driven forward and it’s not the best strike and maybe the keeper should do better but you’re playing on plastic. At times you have those bounces or it skids and it stays low. It’s not like grass and he hasn’t got down quickly enough.  I’m chuffed because it’s something that I wanted us to do, be more clinical and take shots from further out and it’s worked.”

Bourne added: “Again, I felt we gave them that goal. It’s well worked from a Sevenoaks point of view but for me we need to put a lot more pressure on the ball. He drove through a pocket of space unopposed and a keeper of Chris’s calibre, I fancy him to save it.  Anyway, 3-0 all of our own undoing.”

Both manager’s were asked their thoughts at the time.

Collins said: “Too long to go!  You’ve got 70 minutes to play and even though you’ve had a great start and you think you’re going to be comfortable, you know you’re not because they only need to get a sniff and as soon as they did that their chests are out and they’re going to come at you.  It’s how we react then and to be fair I thought we reacted quite well because we went straight down the other end and got another one.”

Bourne added: “I said to the boys at half-time, I was thinking f*****g hell!  For 20 minutes in, this is going to be a terrible, terrible night.  On top of a terrible performance and then from pretty much nowhere the boys sparked into life and took responsibility for it.”

With Bourne offering encouragement from the dug-out, Tunbridge Wells rallied after the half-hour mark – but the damage had already been done.

Harris drilled a deflected drive past the right-hand post from 20-yards after good play in the final third from Jake Beecroft.

Tunbridge Wells pulled a goal back with 33 minutes and 44 seconds on the clock.

Shea punted a long ball out of defence which sailed over Ripley’s head and keeper Holloway reacted slowly and Pilbeam showed more desire to leap and knock his header over the keeper (taking a knock in the process) and the ball bounced into the goal.

Bourne said: “That’s the best Jon’s played for us all season.  By his own standards - and I’m the most critical of Jon because I know what he’s got to offer - he’s been poor this year and we laid it down for him.  It was down to him today to give us a performance and he was our best player, if not one of the better players on the pitch.”

Collins added: “Two mistakes there, probably that I’ll look at and maybe the two centre halves have switched off and Craig’s probably too deep and he’s tried to come and claim it and it’s too late and they’ve scored. We switched off in my opinion as a back five.  We’re 3-0 up and we think we’re cruising and you’re never cruising at any level.”

However, Sevenoaks Town killed off any unlikely Tunbridge Wells come-back as they immediately went up the other end to score their fourth goal of the night, timed at 35 minutes and 14 seconds.

Wing-wizard Carnegie teased Adams again, reaching the by-line before cutting the ball back towards the near post for Walker to sweep his shot low into the bottom near corner from eight-yards, before Collins gave his goalkeeper Holloway the hairdryer treatment in the manner that Pilbeam notched his third goal of the season.

Collins said: “When Harrison’s in those positions, he creates and awful lot. He’s got the most assists at the club and he terrorises full-backs at times.  We’ve been moaning when the ball is pulled back into great areas we’re not there so we’ve been working on trying to get the forwards in those positions to manage to convert.

“We needed to relax, we should take it into half-time at 4-1 and we come out and took the sting out of it but we don’t.  We’re usually good defensively and we’ve got a really good defensive record and just a couple of mistakes has cost us a couple of goals tonight.”

Bourne added: “It was a very well worked goal.  Again, we got back into it and they go down the other end and undo our hard work.

“But I’ve got no qualms about that, when you’ve got wingers of Harrison’s quality, it was very well worked and it was a very good goal.”

The goal appeared to effect Holloway for a few minutes and winger Tom Lawrence whipped in a deep cross from the left towards the far post but Tom Davey steered his free header across goal from a tight angle.

Tunbridge Wells notched their second goal of the night with 39 minutes and 43 seconds on the clock.

Oaks’ left-back Greg Benbow failed to clear his lines and allowed Alexx Kendall to centre towards the near post and Thompson clipped Harris inside the six-yard box and the referee pointed to the spot.

Pilbeam stepped up and slotted his right-footed penalty nicely inside the bottom right-hand corner, sending Holloway the wrong way.

Bourne said: “Well worked move.  I think Thompson’s got the wrong side of Harris really and dangled his leg in and of course it’s a foul and lovely finish from Jon.”

Collins added: “We should’ve cleared out lines earlier. We should’ve cleared it out of the ground and re-grouped and dealt with it and we didn’t. We invited it on and fair play to them they’ve robbed the ball, the kid on the right has done well and he’s pulled it into Harris and Jack’s turned well and it’s a penalty and Pilbeam’s done well and put it away.”

Tunbridge Wells needed to score the next goal to spark a revival and they missed a glorious chance on the stroke of half-time.

Parsons whipped in a first time cross from the right towards the near post but Harris’ stooping header from six-yards missed the right-hand upright by inches.

Bourne said: “He didn’t really have full control of it. Jack got there a bit early and it didn’t look like it was going in but again we take that chance, if we were ruthless like Sevenoaks are, it’s 4-3 and we’re in the ascendancy and it was looking better going into half-time.”

Collins added: “You could be (4-3) and then you’re staring down the barrel of a gun because the ascendancy is with them but when you’re having a bad run these things don’t go for you and when you’re having a good run you’re lucky and sometimes you need that little bit of the rub of the green and that luck to carry you in.”

Both camps were asked their thoughts at the break.

Collins said: “It’s madness! Six goals first half, great for the fans really watching. As a manager you’ve got 15 minutes to try to address what you think has gone wrong and I think we did that.

“We made two mistakes, sloppy!  You can’t do that if you want to go and win things, you can’t be sloppy.

“At 3-0, you’ve got to go on and be four, five or six-nil and they know it.  They’ve put their hands up and said it’s not good enough!”

Bourne admitted: “The boys needed to know it wasn’t acceptable!  We just needed to play basic football. We’re in a state where we’re not playing well so we needed to keep it basic and earn the right to play it.  I feel the way we played we kept quiet and very nice.  We asked everyone to be a leader and get on at each other and demand more and create the tempo by creating noise.”

Tunbridge Wells started the second half with plenty more desire and effort than they started the first and were on the front foot for a good 15 minutes.

Collins said: “We would expect that to happen because the next goal is crucial. If they get it then it’s the Alamo and it’s game on and they’re going to be pinning us in and we would be against it and the boys knew that.  As soon as we got the fifth you could tell by their body language that it was all over for them.”

Beecroft played the ball out to Kendall, whose angled drive was blocked by Holloway and Kendall’s cross was met by Lawrence’s free header at the far post that he steered past the near post, inside the opening three minutes.

A big kick from Holloway was met on the chip from Hill from 20-yards, which dropped just over the crossbar.

Davey’s left-footed drive from 20-yards, deflected over the bar and Beecroft floated in the resulting corner from the right which was steered across goal and past the far post by Brad Potter’s header.

But clinical Sevenoaks Town rode the early storm and killed off their local rivals by scoring their fifth goal of the night on the hour.

Ince, inside the final third, swept the ball out to Carnegie on the right, who whipped in another fine cross towards the far post for Walker to steer his header into the near corner from 10-yards.

Collins said: “That’s a really good goal, it’s how we play. It was a great header.  The ball’s behind him and he’s leaned back and not only has he got the header but he’s got it into an area where the keeper can’t get to it. It’s a good goal at any level of football.  That’s how we play and what we try to deliver.

Reflecting on Walker’s tally of seven goals for the season, Collins said: “We play to his strengths at times.  Fair play to him, he’s come good for the last few weeks, scored a lot of goals so he’s got his confidence back. It’s good. We just have to get the ball to the people who do the damage and when we do that we’re a force going forward.”

Bourne added: “They got the next goal but I still felt we kept fighting. Maybe he crossed it a bit too easily. The marking should’ve been better for the goal. Brad Potter was the only natural defender in the back four tonight and he was getting frustrated. It is what it is. We asked the boys to do a job and they done their best.

“We’ve got people coming back. Scott Whibley will be available on Saturday and Perry Spackman’s not too far behind him so all of a sudden we’ve got a selection dilemma.  Kieron Tarbie, our usual right-back, is a couple of weeks away, so we get that settled.  I don’t think there’s much of a problem going the other way but there’s problems to address.”

Lawrence’s ball over the top released Pilbeam down the left channel and his cross was met by Kendall’s header, which he glanced across goal and past the far post in the 65th minute.

Davey played the ball inside to his fellow central midfielder Beecroft, who drilled his right-footed shot from 30-yards just past the left-hand post.

“Jake strikes a great ball and that’s the one thing we haven’t been doing well lately, we haven’t been taking chances.  We seem to want to pass 20 times before we have a shot,” admitted Bourne.

“I thought Tom Davey and Jake Beecroft were superb, second half especially.  They linked up well and I thought Tom got the game by the scruff of the neck.”

Sevenoaks Town’s sixth goal arrived in the 77th minute when Ripley lashed home.

Benbow’s corner from the right was cleared out to substitute Tom Youngs, the winger played the ball back to Benbow on the right and his cross wasn’t dealt with by a poor defence and Ripley lashed his shot into the roof of the net from six-yards.

Collins said: “I was pleased with it because we sort of recycled it. The ball ended up at Youngie and instead of putting it in, he knew that Benbow had a better position. He rolled it back and not only that, rolled it back on his stronger foot.

“Ripley does what he does.  It means the world to him.  You can see, even at 6-2, for him to get a goal. He’s heart on sleeve. He’s your centre half you want playing for England. He has passion and that’s what you need as a manager when you look at players like that.”

Bourne added: “Again, they seemed to make chances and finish them.  I don’t remember them missing too many.  I think it would’ve finished 10-9 to Sevenoaks. I don’t think anyone would’ve complained.

“If we were ruthless as they are, that’s why they’re a top team, they’re ruthless.”

Youngs produced a quality free-kick, which was poked wide by Ripley at the far post.

To their credit, Tunbridge Wells kept going.  Harris drilled a right-footed shot from 35-yards, which stung Holloway’s fingers, before Lawrence whipped in a cross, which nestled on the top of the roof of the net for a goal-kick after Pilbeam brought Adams’ hopeful long ball out of defence under control with his shoulder.

Sevenoaks Town have a 100% league record at home and Collins is delighted with his team.

“Another three points, that’s all it is, another three points, another game ticked off, another win at home, which is pleasing,” he said.

“We’re starting to score more goals and we just stay up there. We know what the table’s like. We know where we are at, we just have to keep chalking them off.

“We’ve got to keep it, keep using (the artificial pitch) to our advantage. We play good football, we get the ball down and we pass it and the pitch suits that.

“We pass the ball and we’re attractive and I think looking at the crowds that’s why they’re going up and up and up week after week because we’re an exciting team to watch going forward, we’ve got goals in us and we are not bad defensively.

“I’m happy with where we are. We’re ahead of the target I thought we’d be but it's up to us to maintain it.”

It seems that Tunbridge Wells are going to have another season of underachievement which is simply not good enough for a club that attract average crowd of 234 at Culverden Stadium.

When asked where Tunbridge Wells go from here, Bourne replied: “Keep going ahead until someone tells me otherwise, it’s as simple as that. We need to improve!

“I look back and look through everything all the time and look through settled sides and when we’re doing well.  Four weeks ago, we just broke a record in The FA Cup. This is football, it all gets forgotten.

“After our first seven games everyone was saying how good we were and how well we were going to do. Another four games on, with a lot of injuries, everyone’s saying it’s doom and gloom. It’s football.

“If you get too down when things are bad you’re going to end up never sleeping so at the end of the day I come and do the best I can. If it ain’t good enough someone will have to tell me and that’s fine.

“Eight points, is not what we wanted. We’ve got a load of games in hand but it doesn’t mean anything. We need points on the board so we’ll just keep accumulating points.  We’ll keep trying to do things well.   If we play the football we did tonight, without the silly mistakes, we’ll be what everyone thinks we should be with the squad we’ve got.  If we make silly mistakes and give teams goals, especially the better teams, they’ll punish us so cut the silliness out!

“Once they cross that white line, if they’re going to make the mistakes they are I’ll put pressure on them to do the right things all the time because football’s played on instinct.

“It hurts us all the same. We’re all one family, it’s supporters, it’s us, it’s the players, it does hurt. 

“Make no bones about it, Crowborough and Sevenoaks are the best two teams in the league. If somebody said you’re not going to win either of the games I don’t think many people would be surprised.

“It’s the nature of the performance.  We rolled over and got our tummies tickled on Saturday.  Today, I don’t think it was the case so the boys showed character.  It’s no coincidence but we haven’t had a settled back four over these games. When we have a settled back four we perform to a better standard.”

Sevenoaks Town: Craig Holloway, Jack Miles, Greg Benbow, Brett Ince, Tom Ripley, Corey Holder, Harrison Carnegie, Jason Thompson (Yacine Gnahore 58), Billy Bennett (Stephen Camacho 82), Bryon Walker, Rory Hill (Tom Youngs 62).
Subs: Mark Jones, Paul Springett

Goals: Rory Hill 2, Billy Bennett 9, 20, Byron Walker 36, 60, Tom Ripley 77

Booked: Craig Holloway 35

Tunbridge Wells: Chris Oladogba, Ian Parsons, Joe Adams, Tom Davey, Brad Potter, Jonathan Shea, Alexx Kendall, Jake Beecroft, Jon Pilbeam, Jack Harris, Tom Lawrence.
Subs: Jamie Lawrence, Steven Ita, Bailey Colbran, Connor Charlton, Rhys Bartlett

Goals: Jon Pilbeam 34, 40 (penalty)

Booked: Joe Adams 83
Attendance: 203
Referee: Mr Zoltan Konkoly (Maidstone)
Assistants: Mr Stuart Marriott (Ashford) & Mr Michael Donnelly (Headcorn)


Coverage Sponsored by: