Wells' blonde ambition to change their fortunes - EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS

Sunday 24th September 2006

Jason Bourne insists Tunbridge Wells’ FA Vase run will help lift the Culverden Stadium outfit off the foot of the Kent League table, writes Stephen McCartney.

Tunbridge Wells have so far banked £1,100 of FA prize money after beating lower league opposition in the competition.

East Grinstead were despatched 3-2 in the last round before Farnham Town, currently lying in second place of the Combined Counties League second division table, were thrashed by a side that’s now getting their more experienced players back from injury.

It took Martin Farnie’s side just 53 seconds to open the scoring when Alex Rich scored his first goal of the season, after Wayne Balmer’s drive was parried up into the air by Farnham goalkeeper James McArthur and Rich tapped home from close range.

Wells, with only one point from their first six league outings, doubled their lead after eight minutes when Ross Campbell’s volley screamed past the goalkeeper after Rich’s cross from the left.

The Kent side added a third after just 16 minutes when striker Dave Blundell, who was plucked out of local Sunday League football, scored his third goal in as many games, and Adrian Hatcher added the fourth deep into stoppage time from the penalty spot.

Campbell added his second early in the second half before Farnham striker Nathan Abery glanced a header past former Dartford goalkeeper Jimmy Simpson after 51 minutes.

Substitute Danny Nicholls’ skied a penalty after 77 minutes but their sixth goal came courtesy of Sam Phillips’ strike six minutes later.

And skipper Bourne, agreed with his manager Martin Farnie, who admitted their league position is “false”.

“We’re starting to get real momentum with our season now,” Bourne said EXCLUSIVELY to www.kentishfootball.co.uk after their comfortable Vase victory. “We’ve got a lot of players back.

“First half we were fantastic. Second half, took our foot of the pedals, which was a bit disappointing but (we’re) really happy with the result.”

The west-Kent club, however, will be taking an interest in Tuesday night’s FA Vase replay at the Small Glen between Slade Green and Pagham, as the winners travel to Culverden Stadium in the first round on 7 October.

But after playing two lower league sides in the competition, Bourne knows his team-mates will be tested if they meet Kent League rivals Slade Green in the next round.

“Always tougher games as you go on in the Vase,” he said. “You’re obviously going to get harder fixtures but you still have to beat the lesser teams.

“You know what it’s like, you can go to games and sometimes slip up against the lesser sides but we did a good job against Farnham, a good workmanlike performance, and with the league form not being great we’re pressing on now.”

With experienced campaigners Adrian Hatcher and Andy Garrett back in the side, Bourne, formerly of St Leonards and Great Wakering Rovers, feels the team should now be aiming for midtable.

“I would have thought the next couple of months we’re gong to be sitting midtable and press on from there and see what the season brings,” he said.

But Bradley Mortimer, one of the biggest characters in Kent football, revealed the secret behind the side’s three match unbeaten run.

“I managed to meet John Aldridge’s daughter and the lads have actually got a picture of her pinned up in the changing room,” he revealed.

“I brought it down her because the Brazilians say that blonde hair is good luck.

“Because we’ve been trying to play like Brazilians and keep shooting ourselves in the foot, I though I’ll bring it down.

“It’s on the changing room wall and we kiss it (before games) and since then we’ve been unbeaten in our last three games.”

Don’t know if that story about blonde women bringing Kent League footballers luck, but the former Sevenoaks Town left-sided player would like a showdown against Slade Green and not Pagham in the first round.

“I think we’ll prefere to have Slade Green I would have thought out of the two,” he said.

“It looks good for us, another home draw and after that obviously you get a few bigger clubs get involved - it’s good for the club.

“We’ve been lucky with draws but you can only beat what’s put in front of you and anything can happen.

“We had to do a job against East Grinstead because they came here and rolled their sleeves up but against Farnham we were just too good on the day.”

But Mortimer urges fans to get behind the side more. The crowd of 98 were silent throughout the goal feast on Saturday.

He said: “The people (club officials) are working hard - you can see the improvements, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed.

“But it’s down to us to get the results and give people every reason to see us watch us play.”

Due to Slade Green’s 2-2 draw at Pagham in the FA Vase on Saturday, Wells’ visit to the Small Glen on Tuesday night has been postponed to make way for the replay.

Therefore, Tunbridge Wells’ next Kent League game is against high flying Faversham Town next Saturday (3pm).

For more information visit Tunbridge Wells’ website: www.tunbridgewellsfc.co.uk