Tunbridge Wells win Vase date with St Ives

ST Ives Town managers Jez Hall and Warren Everdell watched Tunbridge Wells book their place in the last 32 of the FA Vase on Tuesday evening – “on a bog of a pitch”.

Ives, who won their place in the fourth round proper of the competition when they beat Peacehaven & Telscombe 2-1 on Saturday, were drawn against either Tunbridge or VCD Athletic on Monday morning – and the management duo made the trip down to Kent to watch the two teams replay their third round tie after they drew 3-3 at the weekend.

At one stage, during that match, VCD were 3-1 up, but it was home side Tunbridge who went through in the replay, beating their Kent League neighbours 2-0. Now St Ives will travel down to the club’s Culverden Stadium on January 21.

“It was a good match,” said Hall. “It could have gone either way but it was a bog of a pitch and I think VCD struggled to play on it.

“We’re used to playing on a boggy pitch, especially when they rain has come down.”

VCD manager Ricky Bennett was quite critical about the state of the pitch after his side had gone out.

“I’ve got a team full of footballers, rather than hoofers who want to play on a muddy pitch. I know you need all sorts to be successful but yes, there you go,” he said.

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In response, the Tunbridge Wells manager Martin Larkin said: “That’s my biggest bug-bear. People can moan about the pitch, it’s not the greatest and that’s absolutely fair. It’s not the worst in the league but it’s not the greatest.

“Teams often say it’s a massive advantage for us playing on that pitch – but it’s not! It’s a disadvantage to be honest.

“Our away record is better than our home record and we’ve got to play on it every week so if you’re not going to adapt that’s their own fault. They come down here, they know what it’s all about.”

Perry Spackman in the 73rd minute and Lewis Mingle in the 90th were Tunbridge’s goalscorers while, in the last two minutes of the game, VCD had two players sent off.

Larkin now says he will watch the Saints before their big game.

“St Ives have got a very good record at the moment, they’ve won sixteen out of their last seventeen games but I’m not overly sure how strong their league is – but they look a strong outfit on paper,” he said.

“We have to try and see if we can see them a couple of times.

“They were here tonight so we’ll make sure we’re set but we’ve got some very important league games coming up before then that we’ve got to be ready for.”