Abbey Rangers 3-0 Tunbridge Wells
By Scott Bartlett
Tunbridge Wells bowed out of the FA Vase with a 3-0 defeat at Combined Counties’ side Abbey Rangers.
They reached the final in 2013 but Jason Bourne’s small squad is now stretched to breaking point. Ryan Crandley and Josh Biddlecombe were unavailable, while Jason Barton has returned to Crowborough.
Steve Lawrence returned in goal after recovering from a broken thumb but Wells’ misfortunes grew on 19 minutes when Tom Bryant twisted an ankle.
A well-drilled Rangers side hit the post twice before taking the lead after 25 minutes, Patrick Rusicka firing home calmly after the defence failed to clear.
After 75 minutes, the hosts went two up with a finely worked goal. A couple of neat passes in the box left Paul Hodges in on goal to knock it past Lawrence.
From there, Hodges put the tie to bed with three minutes left as Wells were chased the game. A diagonal ball saw the Abbey winger drive to the by-line and cross for Hodges to fire in from the edge of the six-yard box.
Manager Bourne said: “This was a disappointing performance from the team. We’ve an away match against Sheppey next weekend, which will be another tough one, but I think that’s what we need right now, and I’m hoping we’ll get a reaction from the boys.”