Football: Tunbridge Wells show bottle in battle to avoid drop

    Whitstable 1 Tunbridge Wells 1

    ON THE SPOT Jamie Lawrence fires home the penalty

    TUNBRIDGE WELLS produced a battling performance to earn a valuable point away to in-form Whitstable Town, who had won their previous 10 league games.

    The result lifts Wells one place in the Southern Counties East League to 17th with at least three games in hand on the other teams in the relegation zone.

    New signing John Shea made his first start at left midfield against a team featuring several ex-Wells players, former captain Tommy Bryant, Connor Hood and Brendon Cass.

    When the two teams met at the Culverden Stadium back in November, Tunbridge Wells produced one of their best performances of the campaign to secure a 1-0 victory.

    The game started at a blistering pace and the referee produced a yellow card to the Wells’ Jamie Lawrence inside the first minute.

    Yet the match was still goalless at half-time, which was a fair scoreline but not a reflection on the entertainment value.

    After 57 minutes the impressive Ryan Crandley dribbled into the Whitstable area and was fouled from behind. The referee immediately pointed to the penalty spot, and Lawrence made no mistake to give the Wells a deserved 1-0 lead.

    Both sides were committed to trying to secure the three points and provided full value for the crowd of 150 at the Oystermen’s ground.

    After 83 minutes, a lapse in concentration in the Wells defence allowed Whitstable’s Cane Smith to drift into the penalty area unmarked and fire a low shot into the bottom right-hand corner to level the scores.

    However, it was a solid performance from Tunbridge Wells, from a commanding central defensive partnership of Potter and Spackman through to the strong running and persistence of the forward pairing.

    On Saturday, Tunbridge Wells host Rochester United hoping to build on this performance with three points that could see them start to climb the table to safety.