Crowborough Athletic 3 Tunbridge Wells 0
THE difference in mood at the final whistle was as stark as the result itself.
While Jason Bourne led his side in a sombre warm-down, the exuberant Crowborough announcer was exclaiming that the home side had now gone a club record 27 games without defeat.
Heading into the new year, Crowborough moved up into the top spot in the Southern Counties East League but Tunbridge Wells remain in a precarious position down among the relegation places.
They have three games in hand over Erith Town and Beckenham but defensive frailty means they may struggle to pick up enough points from these games to reach the calmer waters of mid-table.
In front of a bumper crowd of 503 for the A26 -derby, Tunbridge Wells started well and had good chances. Charlie Cornford and Ryan Crandley were both thwarted by Crowborough keeper Dan Ellis.
But the Crows’ clearance sent Sam Carrington clear to tuck the ball past the advancing Steve Lawrence at the other end after four minutes.
The home side gathered momentum from the opener. After 16 minutes Dan Perry struck a post and, on the half-hour, Lawrence saved bravely at Perry’s feet as the winger broke clear.
The Wells were on the wrong end of a harsh decision after 38 minutes when a penalty was awarded for handball against Jake Hampson after the ball reared up off the turf. Zak Attwood coolly converted the spot kick into the bottom corner.
Within five minutes of the restart the home side had made it 3-0. An Attwood cross was deflected on to his own post by Jake Hampson and the rebound fell handily at the feet of Sam Crabb, who picked his spot into the bottom corner.
Thereafter it was all about the hosts. Bradley Large, who came on as a 61st-minute substitute for Crandley, did manage to produce a cross for Josh Biddlecombe but he blasted over the bar.