I took advantage of an early kick off today to go to see a Craske & Wells Memorial Trophy tie between Westerham FC and Tunbridge Wells Foresters FC. The weather was grey and cold as I approached King George’s Playing Field, home of Westerham. The ground has a sloping grass pitch and a nice clubhouse with decent bar and toilet facilities.
Westerham FC have had a mixed season thus far in the Premier Division, occupying 5th place, with nine points from six games. They did however, come into today’s fixture on the back of five straight league and cup victories, including an 8-2 win against Malgo and a 3-4 away win, against much fancied, FC Revo. Coming into a home tie against lower league opposition and in a rich vein of form, Westerham FC were confident of securing a decent victory.
Lewis Longhurst has been prolific with goals for Westerham this season, scoring 14 goals in seven games. Frankie Connor has a respectable total of four goals from six games.
Tunbridge Wells Foresters FC play a division lower than Westerham FC, and sit seventh after securing nine points from their opening five fixtures. The Foresters play at Bennett Memorial School on Culverden Down, Tunbridge Wells. Top scorers this season have been Ben Martin-Coward and Tom Gardiner, both with three goals, and Frank Lavington with two.
Manager Barrie Pickett would have been hopeful, coming into the tie, that his side could be competitive against the Premier Division, Westerham side.
The game started with Tunbridge Wells Foresters attempting to pump the ball long and make the most of the sloping pitch. However Westerham FC looked much stronger in midfield and repeatedly won ball back. It was no surprise then, when on 13 minutes, the home side’s Lewis Longhurst slid the ball in from close range to make it 1-0.
The remainder of the first half saw Tunbridge Wells Foresters pushing hard to claw themselves back into the match. Despite having much of the ball, it was Westerham FC who created the most dangerous chances.
On 40 minutes Westerham were 2-0 ahead when Lewis Longhurst drilled the ball along the ground, finding the left hand corner of the net.
At halftime despite playing with the slope in their favour, Tunbridge Wells Foresters found themselves trailing 0-2 to Westerham. They stayed on the pitch as their manager tried to work them up to find the energy to pull themselves back into the tie.
In the 60th minute Lewis Longhurst completed his hat trick with a wonder finish, which included him lifting the ball over the heads of two consecutive defenders before volleying the ball into the net.
The tie went out of reach when Robert Simpson finished with a headed goal on 82 minutes.
It was the home side who progress to the next round, having never looked like losing control of this match. Lewis Longhurst really impressed today and clearly is the linchpin of the Westerham FC team.