Tunbridge Wells 2 Hadleigh United 0
Wells fans celebrate at the final whistle on
By Steve Tervet
Kent has a club through to the FA Vase
semi-finals for the second year running after Tunbridge Wells
knocked out Hadleigh United on an historic afternoon at Culverden
Following Herne Bay’s run to the semi-finals
last season, the Wells are now two games from Wembley after
deservedly booking their place in Monday’s draw for the last
A record crowd of 1,180 packed into the
ground, where the Kent Hurlimann League side have averaged home
gates of 167 this season. They witnessed a performance full of
quality, focus and determination and the final whistle sparked a
pitch invasion from the joyous home fans.
The Wells, playing their third Vase tie in as
many weeks, attacked from the first whistle. Perry Spackman had a
close-range shot saved by Hadleigh keeper Dan Heath before Tom
Davey’s acrobatic bicycle kick flew over the bar.
At the other end, Hadleigh’s Danny Bloomfield
dragged a shot across goal from an offside position and Scott
Chaplin sent a firm effort into the hands of Wells stopper Chris
Oladogba. But that was the best the Thurlow Nunn Premier League
side could muster in a one-sided first half.
Jon Pilbeam sent a half-volley over for the
home side, who went close again when Andy McMath’s shot flew into
the massed fans behind Heath’s goal. Lewis Mingle cut in from
left-back and shot straight at the United keeper, before Pilbeam
almost rounded off a pacy counter-attack with an effort which
Finally, the breakthrough arrived nine minutes
before half-time. Carl Cornell combined with Pilbeam to set up Andy
Irvine, who made no mistake from close-range.
Chances were in shorter supply after the
interval, but it was still the Wells who carried the greatest
threat against their lukewarm Suffolk opponents.
Irvine was guilty of a bad miss after
Cornell’s shot had been pushed into his path but the former
Woodstock Sports man did put the result beyond doubt with his
second goal on 75 minutes. Pilbeam capped an excellent performance
when he whipped in a low right-wing cross which Irvine tucked past
the helpless Heath.
It could have been 3-0 when Pilbeam blazed
over in the dying stages, but the celebrations were long and loud
at the final whistle.
Tunbridge Wells: Oladogba,
Bourne, Whibley, Spackman, Mingle, Pilbeam, Davey, McMath, Stanford
(Barton 78mins), Cornell (Harris 69mins), Irvine (Large 90mins).
Subs not used: Fuller, Czanner. Attendance:
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