‘Bare bones squad’ keeps Wells on track for FA Vase encounter

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By Scott Bartlett

Tunbridge Wells warmed up for their FA Vase tie at Abbey Rangers this Saturday with a comfortable victory over SCEL First Division outfit Crockenhill in the Kent Senior Trophy.

Manager Jason Bourne fielded an unfamiliar line-up with injuries, suspensions and an eye on next week’s encounter.

Josh Biddlecombe and Dale Ashman were suspended; Brad Potter and Tom Davey were rested, while the influential Ryan Crandley was not fit enough to be risked and stayed on the bench.

Tunbridge Wells got off to a positive start with a goal after just six minutes, with Perry Spackman heading to Ollie Bankole on the edge of the six-yard box. He made space before hitting the ball low and hard into the middle of the net.

Three minutes later, a promising move from the Wells might have added to the scoreline, when Under-21s player Tom Lawrence made a surging run through midfield and crossed for Bankole, who volleyed just over the bar.

Chances came and went for the Wells playing on home turf, before they finally increased their lead a couple of minutes before the break.


Paul Butler won the ball on the halfway line and played a great pass into the channel for Bankole, who rounded the full-back and crossed for Brad Large to put a stooping header past the goal­keeper from close range.

In the second half, Crockenhill made a better fist of the early exchanges, but couldn’t pierce a strong Wells midfield that was creating plenty of opportunities.

Four minutes remained when the Wells tied up the game following some ­lovely build-up play that resulted in a Tom ­Bryant tap-in. Manager Jason Bourne praised his young side for an efficient performance that has kept them on track ahead of their FA Vase encounter.

He said: “We were without a few of our players for the match, and were down to our bare bones for the squad. But ­several of our Under-21s side came in to take their chance with the senior team, including Brad Large who scored.

“One of the most pleasing things was that we managed to keep a clean sheet, with defending being the bedrock of any team,” he added.

“We’re looking forward to our FA Vase match against Abbey Rangers, having managed to reach the final in the competition in 2013.

“We’ve had the opposition scouted, but we will just play to our strengths.

“From the start of this season we’ve said that we want to go and win ­trophies, which is something I’ve done as a player and want to experience as a manager.”

If you have a sports story or you would like to see your club’s reports and results featured in these pages, please email them to sport@timesoftunbridgewells.co.uk or sport@timesoftonbridge.co.uk

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