Tunbridge Wells v Highworth Town

Saturday, January 24, 2015 - 15:00
Fa Vase
Culverden Stadium
Tunbridge Wells FC
HT Score: 
Highworth Town
Perry Spackman

It’s easy to write reports when we win, a bit harder when we lose, its even harder when the ‘P’ on your keyboard gets stiff... and actually the pizza i have just divulged pretty much sums up how we are feeling tonight. I was really looking forward to it, but it turned out to be a bit of a disappointment, and left a bad taste in the mouth..that’s the last Tesco express pizza i have, but certainly not the last Tunbridge Wells match i will see.

As the FA cup has shown today, anything can happen in a cup match, that’s why we love them so much, you can be a small team up against a big club, or visa versa and the result can never be predicted, we are a bigger club than Highworth Town, but the simple fact is that they are in the last 16 of the Vase, and over the whole tie, probably just about deserve to be.
After last week’s hard fought draw on that pitch with the kind of slope that even Jeremy Clarkson couldn’t get into trouble for commenting on, the Tunbridge Wells machine went into overdrive this week to get as many people to this game after 3 consecutive away tie’s in this competition and another possible away game to come.

There was a buzz all week on social media, work was a struggle to concentrate on, but like Christmas the build up can be more exciting than the event itself. The Club behind the scenes done fantastic work in promoting the game, Martin called for 1,000 fans in and almost got his wish..and Mao even organising a pop up bar with chandelier..we are a royal town after all..!!
The weather behaved itself this week and even overnight rain gave way to a beautiful day in Tunbridge Wells, everything was set for another barnstorming tight cup match against a well organised team.
Before arriving at the ground i popped into Bean cafe to bribe the kids with milkshake and cash for goals to brave the cold for the afternoon, and as i sat there watching the numbers of people walk down to the ground, it was apparent that there was going to be a bumper crowd, everything was set, all that was left was for the team to give a performance.

These match reports are really a fans view of the whole day, for a more detailed match report refer to the professionals like Wink, failing that there is always the courier, but the game started almost like last week’s match ended, Highworth seemed to settle better and again seemed stronger in midfield but with not many chances coming either way. Highworth again played the ball up to BJ as much as possible and BJ and Perry were set for another titanic battle, but unfortunately Perry got injured early on with what looked like calf strain and had to go off being replaced by Tolley.

Lee Radford seemed to be our only real outlet and it was from one of his lung busting runs into the box that the Wells got a chance to take the lead when he was brought down. Paul Booth stepped up to take the penalty in front of the faithful and as at Fisher in the cup he went to place his penalty low to the keepers left, Gaarryyy guessed correctly and saved the initial spot kick, but the ball bounced back to Boothy who slotted in the rebound. That was the Wells only real chance of the first half but we went in ahead for the second time in the tie.

After some half time lemonade’s, the kind of lemonade’s that Gracie has seem to taken to recently on Non Alcohol allowed games,, the match restarted and quickly Highworth were level when BJ powered into the box and after some hesitation from the defence and keeper found himself with a tap in to level the tie.

The second half descended into a midfield battle, BJ getting very friendly with the royal turf and with some half chances for Highworth and even less for the Wells. But for the second week in a row we were heading for extra time. Its a testament to the players from both sides that they keep going on heavy pitches, we were knackered on the south stand so god knows what they were feeling like.
The game seemed to open up more in extra time, and the game almost turned on a few minutes when the Wells got their only real sight of goal with Cass hit a perfect volley from 20yds out which seemed destined to rip the net to pieces, but the Highworth keeper got a good hand to the ball and knocked it over. Shortly afterwards Highworth took the lead when Ryan King slotted home after the kind of goalmouth scramble that even a dozen eggs couldn’t emulate.

With the Wells not creating many chances throughout the tie, this seemed to knock some stuffing out of the south stand. The Wells did play a bit better after that, but still too many stray passes and all seemed lost, but with 4 minutes left Cass scored causing many on the south stand to almost spontaneously combust..how he scored we couldn’t quite see..but he scored and that’s all that mattered. The Wells then went for the win but there was not enough time left and penalties ensured.

Boothy stepped up to take the first one, but as at Fisher in the league cup, and as in the first half he hit his shot low to the keepers left and again the keeper saved it. The wizard had the Wells 3rd penalty well saved and Highworth scored their next penalty and the tie and the Wells participation in the Vase was over for another year. Good luck to Highworth in the next round.

A crowd of 788 was a great turnout, but like last season’s Vase game against Crowborough in front of over 1,000 the team struggled at home in front of a bumper crowd, this is a real shame as the Wells have been playing really well over the past 10 games or so and the Fans who turned up today didn’t get to see the real Wells. We should be getting these kinds of crowds every week but that will only happen with some success and good performances, we still have a cup to play for and in 2 weeks time in the Quarter Final of the league cup with a winnable game against Deal.

Next up is league favourites Phoenix on Wednesday night, Martin needs to pick the boys up, dust them down and get a result and show us how they can really play, we will be there en mass as usual singing loud and proud.