Thursday, 7 September 2017

Tunbridge Wells 3 Haywards Heath 0

Match 26/17/1476 - Tuesday, 5th September 2017 - FA Cup 1QR Replay

Tunbridge Wells (0) 3 Mooney 93, Colbran 113, Ikpeme 120
Haywards Heath (0) 0
After Extra Time (Score at 90 minutes: 0-0)
Attendance: 254

Entrance: £4 Senior
Programme: £2
Mileage: 38/1,588

Match Report

Question for the anoraks, can you support more than one club? Or do you support one and follow another, or two? It’s the type of question that can vex the fine people of the late Tony Kempster’s forum.

Whatever your opinion (there can be no definitive answer in my view) if you do indeed follow more than one club then several times a season you are in the position of having to make choices as to where you get your afternoon/evening’s entertainment. Such was my situation on this night.

In a normal set of circumstances, it would have not so much been Tunbridge Wells being preferred over Tonbridge, more so that the FA Cup trumps the Isthmian League Cup. But following the Angels dismal exit from the FA Cup on Saturday, I felt a sense of guilt in deciding to go to Culverden, almost a shame of turning my back on a friend in need.

But my friend had a severe retribution. At the end of 90 minutes and with a goalless draw taking the game into extra-time at Tunbridge Wells, I had been kept informed of an avalanche of goals at Longmead leaving me scratching my head with thoughts of wrong place, wrong time.

It was a shame that a damp, drizzly night probably saw 50 or more people trimmed off the attendance at Culverden following the Wells’ reportedly season-best performance to bring Haywards Heath back for this replay. Indeed, if you go 2-1 up in the 89th minute you are probably hoping for more than a replay but the West Sussex side found an equaliser in time added.

At the conclusion of this replay, Haywards Heath would have returned to Sussex wondering just how this tie got away from them as they spurned chance after chance.

Haywards Heath fielded a youngster, Marcus Newnham, in goal, but little did we know at the time that the 16-year-old generally played as a centre-back. He was drawn into action in the opening minutes saving well low to his right from Jon Pilbeam.

Alfie Rogers blazed over a chance for the Heath, a sign of things to come. But the Wells attacking intentions were to suffer a big set back after 25 minutes when Joe Nwoko was forced to limp out of the game.

Haywards Heath took charge and between Nwoko’s departure and half time a series of chances came and went. Rogers brought a save out of Chris Oladogba low to his right; Trevor McCreadie skipped a couple of challenges before firing wide and also directed a header straight at Oladogba.

The second half was a stalemate for 20 minutes before Rogers missed an absolute sitter from close range turning the ball wide.

Chances remained thin on the ground before, four minutes from time, Max Miller struck a post for Haywards Heath from just inside the box. The same player then steered a header wide from close range to see the game into extra time.

Having ridden their luck to get to extra-time, Tunbridge Wells made the breakthrough in the 93rd minute. A long ball over the top was seized upon by substitute Bailey Colbran whose effort was blocked by the feet of the rookie keeper but the rebound was to fall at the feet of Keelan Mooney who shot into the unguarded net.

Having had so much of the game, Haywards Heath’s heads appeared to drop on going behind and for the first time in the match Tunbridge Wells had the ascendancy.

Into the second period and Newnham did well at his near post to deny Rhys Bartlett, turning the ball aside. From the resultant corner, Colbran nipped in front of the goalkeeper to glance a header into the net to virtually seal the Wells place in the next round and a trip to Concord Rangers.

There was still time for Stephen Ikpeme to produce a fine individual goal, weaving his way through the Haywards Heath before slotting home. It was the perfect finish to the evening for a buoyant Wells support.

So, eventually I could take satisfaction from my evening’s entertainment. I’m not sure it trumps the 10-1 scoreline that I might have been watching at Longmead but one can never regret the magic of the FA Cup.

No comments: