A late strike by Jon Pilbeam sealed the Kent Senior Trophy for Tunbridge Wells, who were under pressure for long periods in a match that at times was scrappy, but competitive and closely-fought throughout.
A crowd of 736 enjoyed the first sunshine of the year at Tonbridge’s Longmead Stadium with a large proportion of the following coming with Tunbridge Wells, who are fast becoming Kent’s feel-good football team following their FA Vase heroics and bumper home crowds.
Click here for a photo gallery of the day
Lordswood started the stronger, and with a strong first-half wind at their backs took the lead after only 10 minutes when Wells’ Joe Fuller gave away a free kick 25 yards from goal. Lordswood’s Jordan Wells strike curled cleared the wall and Wells’ Keeper Chris Oladogba’s effort could only help the ball into the net to put Lordswood ahead.
Imran Englefield, Adam Hooper and a powerful strike from Joe Kane kept Oladogba busy for the remainder of the half, but despite Lordswood’s dominance they were unable to add a crucial second goal. Kane, later chosen by sponsors Spire Alexandra Hospital as man-of-the-match, put in a stand-out performance at full back and was unfortunate to finish on the losing side.
Lordswood started the second period as they left off in the first, until the addition of Carl Cornell from the bench for Wells proved decisive when he played in Pilbeam who cut inside from the left wing to slot home against the run of play.
With scores level, Lordswood again pressed for the winner but were unable to create a decisive chance. With Wells growing in confidence and now with the wind in their favour, Cornell again turned provider. After a jinking run across the face of the box, Cornell played in Pilbeam to place the ball beyond Lordswood keeper Matt Byott’s despairing dive and send the Wells fans into raptures.
The Kent Senior Trophy is Tunbridge Wells’ first silverware in 25 years, and despite coping with a difficult period of fixture congestion, the team now look to their Wembley final on May 4th for their next big day out.
The game was filmed by Tonbridge FC's Trevor Arnold; click here for his YouTube highlight video.
Lordswood FC 1 (Wells 10)
Tunbridge Wells FC 2 (Pilbeam 58, 88)
Lordswood FC: Matt Byott, Joe Kane, Adam Hooper, Gary Cook, Peter Huggens, Dan Wells, Imran Englefield (Stephen Munn), Lee Maskell, Jordan Wells, Mark Murison, Sam Hallett (Ellis Trutwein)
Subs not used: Steven Sage, Beau Taylor, Grant McIverson
Tunbridge Wells FC: Chris Oladogba, Jason Bourne, Tom Carr, Joe Fuller, Scott Whibley, Perry Spackman, Jon Pilbeam, Andy McMath, Andy Irvine (Richard Sinden), Jack Harris, Josh Stanford (Carl Cornell)
Subs not used: Andy Boyle, Stuart Thorley, Michal Czanner
Man of the Match: Joe Kane (Lordswood)