Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Tunbridge Wells 2 v 4 Corinthian

Tuesday 4th February 2014
Southern Counties East Football League
Culverden Stadium, Tunbridge Wells
Admission: £6.00
Programme: £1.50
Attendance: 146
Match Rating: 3

After only seeing one midweek game so far in 2014, it came as a relief when the Culverden Stadium - notoriously susceptible to waterlogging at the best of times - passed a midday pitch inspection, thanks to a couple of dry days.

Tonight would be my first visit to the Culverden since mid November, when they edged a local derby with Crowborough Athletic in the FA Vase. As they were then, they continue to be amongst the leading pack in the Southern Counties East League, going into this game in fourth place, and they would go top tonight, as this would the only game in the division this evening and they trailed leaders Ashford United by two points, although Ashford would have played three less games. Tunbridge Wells are level on points with third placed Whyteleafe, but have played two games more. Corinthian occupy a comfortable mid-table position, in seventh place in the 17 team division, but with ten points less than Tunbridge Wells. However, recent history of encounters between the two sides actually favoured the visitors this evening, with Corinthian having won the last five matches, and Tunbridge Wells not triumphing since 2010.

On a bitterly cold night, with dry conditions at kick off, it was the visitors who adapted better to a heavy pitch, playing some very neat and incisive attacking football, whilst Tunbridge Wells looked rather sloppy and off the pace. Corinthian were awarded a penalty when Adam Marsh burst into the box before being brought down by the Tunbridge Wells keeper, Michele Czanner, earning him a yellow card. Ben Wilson drove the penalty down the middle to give Corinthian the lead. On 37 minutes, Tunbridge Wells were back on level terms. Awarded a free kick in a central position just outside the penalty area, Tom Davey curled the ball into the top right hand corner of the net. The visitors almost went back in front within a couple of minutes, first having a free kick from 30 yards tipped over the bar, then following a corner, a miss kick from a defender saw the ball fall at the feet of a striker about 10 yards out at a slight angle, but saw his powerful drive skim the top of the crossbar. On 41 minutes, the Wells took a lead they barely deserved when the ball was scrappily played forwards, before Ian Parsons poked the ball into the net.

Into the second half and with, by now, a strong wind behind them, Corinthian got a deserved equaliser. A free kick from deep was curled into the area, the keeper could only fumble the ball when he really should have done better, and Justin Asheri applied the finish. On 74 minutes the visitors went back into the lead when a quick counter attack saw some lovely quick passes forward ended with Derek Gayle shooting low across the keeper and into the net. Two minutes later and Corinthian sealed the three points when Adam Marsh saw his curled-in corner go through the keeper's hands and into the net. The game rather petered out after this, with all too familiar squally rain arriving for the last ten minutes and so it was Corinthian who continued to be Tunbridge Wells bogey side with a deserved win. In front of their lowest attendance by some distance this year, despite carving out some reasonable chances, this was a poor performance by the Wells, one they couldn't really afford if they hope to win the league this season, considering how consistent Ashford United and Whyteleafe are this year.

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