Tunbridge Wells Charity Int Final 2009-10

Thursday 13th May 2010 - Culverden Stadium

High Brooms Casuals   3     Platt Utd Res  2  (aet)

Match Report: Adam Luscombe

A crowd of around 100 friends and family gathered to watch this Tunbridge Wells Charity Cup Final, with both sides very convincing in their previous rounds.

The early evening kick off at Culverden Stadium led to a tale of four very different halves for the finalists, one in the evening sunshine and three under lights.

Early play displayed why High Brooms had made it to the final, a very direct and physical team who looked useful up front with every free kick and throw in launched onto Platt’s penalty spot – it looked to be a long evening for the Platt centre backs and keeper with this threat.

Platt showed commitment and endeavour which would have kept them well up the league table had they reproduced this during the season gone, battling for every ball and using the flanks to great effect. Robbie Sedge and Craig Bruce made good use of the ball and only strong defending from High Brooms prevented a clear attempt on goal. Martin Smith and Simon Horler supported well from midfield with Paul Webb winning most if not all of his challenges.

The class of Chris Patey and Ashley Russell was obvious at the back with James Church appearing all over the pitch to help out.

It was clear the majority of the attendance supported the High Brooms team and they began to get behind them. With around 20 minutes on the clock, High Brooms talented striker who has featured in many of their recent victories found space down the centre of the pitch, rounded keeper Luscombe and calmly slotted the ball home between two covering Platt defenders.

The lead only lasted for 10 or so minutes when Robbie Sedge continued a mazy run in from the right wing, it looked that the chance had passed but he reappeared in front of goal with the ball to finish smartly and leave the scores level at 1-1 going into half time.

Platt could have taken the lead, but for some snatched chances in the six yard box - one of which looped over the crossbar from Church.

The lights came on as the teams waited to start the second half, everyone hoping it would be as entertaining as the first.

Clear chances were rare in the second period, a free kick from High Brooms tipped over the crossbar by Luscombe their only real opportunity and several dangerous balls into the penalty area from Platt which were dealt with comfortably or rolled out for a High Brooms goal kick.

Right at the death a goal mouth scramble in the Platt area could have won if for High Brooms, but stout defending kept the scores level to take the game deep into the night and extra time for the already tired legs.

The eight flood lights were not ideal and it became clear that both sides were struggling to adapt to the glare with the ball in air. Platt used three of their five substitutes bringing on Mercer, Attwater and McCarthy in an attempt to clinch victory.

Early in the first period, one of many High Brooms deliveries into the box was headed back across goal from the far post and finished from the head of the advancing striker at the opposite post to take the lead again. Platt briefly stopped what they had done so well for the entire match and allowed another goal mouth scramble to be won by a High Brooms striker, who poked the ball in from close range.

With what all seemed lost, Platt looked to regain the initiative and this was achieved by Sean Attwater’s class free kick – one which would grace a much higher level of football. From a good 25-30 yards, it was struck so sweetly that as it dipped in under the stanchion the only player on the park moving was Attwater who wheeled away in celebration.

Too little, too late from Platt unfortunately, a sweetly struck volley again from Attwater in the dying minutes was saved superbly by the High Brooms keeper – but time ran out with Platt camped in the High Brooms half.

A fantastic performance from Platt, who left nothing on the field. On another day it would have been a comfortable victory for High Brooms but Platt can take a lot from this match into next season. High Brooms deserved winners and their competitive, direct play saw them home.

The cup was presented immediately in front of the majority of fans who stayed to the end, well past 10pm.

Team: A.Luscombe, C.Patey, M.Smith (H.Mercer), C.Russell, S.Horler (D.McCarthy), J.Church, C.Bruce (S.Attwater), B.Wheeler, P.Webb, R.Sedge, D.Hart.