This was my first visit to the Culverden Stadium. The game was a Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division match and was played on a dry, but chilly, Tuesday evening in August.
The Culverden Stadium has good banked standing terraces behind the goal at one end and two covered seating stands alongside the pitch. There was an external bar and a burger stand. The ground is big and has an impressive range of facilities even if they probably need some modernising.
Tunbridge Wells have made a decent start to the season, under their manager Richard Wright, and entered the match in 6th place in the SCEFL. Holmesdale, managed by Lee Roots, have one win from their first three games, that being the game I saw two weeks ago at Rusthall. They were therefore in 12th place coming into the game.
One of the peculiarities of this level of non-league football, is that the team lists get written up before the game on a white board and shared with the public as they come into the ground. Jordan Wells, top scorer for Tunbridge Wells with two goals, and Rory Ward, Holmesdale FC’s top scorer with three goals, were both named in the match-day teams.
Holmesdale FC opened up looking the sharper team going forward. Tunbridge Wells created some chances too but on 15 minutes it was Rory Ward, who opened the scoring for Holmesdale FC.
The first half continued with Holmesdale FC having the better chances. Tunbridge Wells fought hard in the tackle but lacked passing finesse when pushing forward.
At half time the game was still close and there for both sides to play for.
The second half continued initially as the first half had run. Tunbridge Wells passing game let them down and Holmesdale FC looked dangerous when going forward, with Nathan Palmer causing issues for the Tunbridge Wells’ defence.
On 68 minutes Holmesdale FC captain, James Shield, was booked for a scything tackle.
Tunbridge Wells pushed forward, passing with much greater accuracy in the final twenty minutes. They had a series of chances to equalise, forcing a flurry of corners and free kicks. The best of which, in the final minute, saw Jordan Wells strike the post, from a free kick on the edge of the box.
As the final whistle went, it was Holmesdale FC, who walked away celebrating three points. Tunbridge Wells will regret their failure to feed their forwards effectively for the first hour, but both sides look to be strong enough to make an impression on this league and will have something to play for as the season unfolds.