Thursday, 16 October 2014

Tunbridge Wells 1 Cray Valley PM 0

Match 32/14/1141 - Tuesday, 14th October 2014 - Macron League Cup

Tunbridge Wells (0) 1 Smith 78
Cray Valley PM (0) 0
Att. 138

Entrance: £4 Senior
Programme: £1.50
Mileage: 36/2,265

Match Report

In early August as your club embark on their pre-season schedule, the guessing game of who’s the number four; is that Smith, no he’s eight, so who’s seven then, is all very fine and actually quite good fun, but in the middle of October any supporter worth his salt should know who each player is.

Such has been the turnover of players at Culverden this Macron Cup Tie managed to ignite the guessing game once more. The last time I watched the Wells was just three weeks ago at Lingfield and in that time four players have departed and another two have arrived. Results haven’t been what Martin Larkin would have hoped for, but the constant chopping and changing of personnel cannot help a team to gel.

In fact, for the first time since the Vase run, social media has more than a few dissenting voices regarding Tunbridge Wells’ performances and this reached a peak a fortnight ago when a 2-0 advantage at Culverden against Erith Town was overturned into a 4-2 defeat.

A victory at Croydon on Saturday and this evening’s League Cup win would surely have eased the pressure on the manager, but this was a performance that was far from convincing in a pretty poor game.

Cray held the better of the possession as both sides appeared to lack the necessary quality to cope with a sodden pitch.

Tunbridge Wells’ hero on the night became their goalkeeper, Steve Lawrence, who made a great penalty save to deny Jimmy Rogers after Nick Davis had brought down Marcel-Henry in the box.

After taking the lead with a quick-fire attack that was completely out of context with the rest of the game in terms of quality, Lawrence was called into action again in the closing minutes, plunging low to his left to turn a header from Cray player-manager Paul Gross around the post.

Wells broke the deadlock with 12 minutes remaining, Harry Smith coming off the bench, to fire home from 12 yards after a wonderful cross from Dane Luchford.

A partial floodlight failure in the second half made viewing as gloomy as the football in front of us before the lights came back on to illuminate Smith’s fine effort.

A run of good results will ease pressure on Larkin and this in turn should lead to more stability in team selection and less of a revolving changing room door.

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