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  Carshalton Ath. 5 Folkestone Inv. 0 

The thirteenth game proved to be unlucky for Invicta as an impressive Carshalton Athletic team romped to a 5-0 at the War Memorial Sports Ground, to end our unbeaten League record for the season.

We made just one change from Saturday’s starting line-up, with Ian Draycott, this time wearing number four to continue his collection of shirt numbers for the season! Replacing Matt Newman, who, as previously reported, was injured at the weekend, and Jordan Wright was back on the bench although not quite fit enough to start. Our opponents made two changes from their 6-1 victory over Brightlingsea Regent with skipper Paris Hamilton Downes and Chris Sessegnon coming into the side, replacing Bobby Price and Peter Adeniyi.     

‘The Robins’ kicked off and showed an attacking intent almost from the first minute as Daniel Bennett ran onto a through ball, although he delayed his shot and eventually the ball bounced harmlessly through to Tim Roberts in the Invicta goal, whilst at the other end, after a corner had been cleared, Scott Heard blasted his shot from the edge of the area over the bar. Heard was then involved again as he dummied Josh Vincent’s throw-in which allowed Ade Yusuff to turn on the edge of the box, but he too dragged his shot wide.

Roberts was then called into action as he collected a cross with Lewis White closing in, but on fifteen minutes our opponents took the lead. There didn’t seem to be any danger, but as Vincent attempted to switch the play, his pass was woefully short and White nipped in and slotted the ball past the advancing Roberts. This gave our opponents the impetus as White was again involved, as he played in Danny Bassett, who sent in a dangerous low cross which was just out of reach of the oncoming Harry Ottaway and the ball was cleared.

Invicta then caused the Carshalton Athletic defence another anxious moment as following a further Vincent throw-in, Heard played a delicate chip through to Yusuff, who appeared to be pulled back as he shaped to shoot, but the Referee thought otherwise, and play continued. Almost immediately, Invicta suffered the blow of conceding a second, when in the twenty-third minute our opponents won a corner which was swung in by Jordan Cheadle and Luke Read rose unchallenged to nod powerfully home.

Yusuff was proving to be our main threat, and he showed good skill to wriggle through the home side’s defence having received a pass from Vincent, but he shot high and wide from a decent position. He then saw another shot charged down by a defender, before setting up David Smith who also appeared to be pulled back, but for the second time the Referee showed no interest and Yusuff picked up the game’s first yellow card for disputing the decision.

Although we were making half-chances, ‘The Robins’ were a constant attacking threat and White was again involved as he made a good run before crossing for Bassett, who’s shot was charged down, but the ball was returned and Roberts made an excellent save, diving low to his left to keep out Bassett’s second attempt, this time from a header. The roles were then reversed, as Bassett fed White, but he couldn’t find the target with his shot. Hamilton Downes than picked up the game’s second yellow card for a foul on Draycott in the centre circle, although with some of the other tackles that had gone previously, he could count himself a little unlucky.

Just as it looked like we’d weathered the storm to a certain extent, our opponents made it 3-0 with two minutes of the half remaining. Ryan Johnson didn’t deal with a ball into the area and White slipped a pass to Daniel Hector whose shot was blocked, but he turned the rebound back across goal and Bassett was on hand to turn the ball in from close-range, and that was the end of the first half action.

Invicta kicked-off the second half and had an early chance when the ball reached Smith, but he blasted his shot out the ground (luckily my car was parked at the other end!). The last thing we wanted was to concede an early fourth goal, but after White had seen his shot blocked, in the fifty-sixth minute, another well placed corner was met by Read again, this time it was blocked on the line, but Bassett was on hand to turn the rebound in from close range. At this stage, things were looking ominous, and in an attempt to tighten things up, Finn O’Mara replaced Draycott. Daniels then fouled Ottaway on the edge of the area, although this time it was Cheadle’s turn to shot over, which came as a bit of a surprise as his set-piece distribution had been excellent up until then. Davies then finally picked up a yellow card under the totting up system as he had committed a number of fouls on Ottaway, although the final straw was for a tackle on Cheadle.

‘The Robins’ were now in the ascendancy and threatening more goals, firstly White saw his shot deflected wide and then Ottaway saw the same happen to his strike at goal, after Hector had beaten three defenders before feeding him. Bassett then skipped past Davies and sent in a good cross which was cleared for a corner, from which Read again got in an unchallenged header which was cleared, and as the ball was returned, a Carshalton Athletic forward appeared to be pulled back, but again the Referee was not in the mood to award a spot-kick.

Then came a passage of play which showed Invicta’s frustration in trying to break our opponents down,  Paxman was brought down on the edge of the penalty area close to the by-line, it was cleared to Heard and the ball was then played back to Roberts via Kieron McCann. That was Heard’s last involvement as he was replaced by Ollie Freeman with just over twenty minutes to go. McCann then forced Lloyd Thomas, in the Carshalton Athletic goal, to punch clear his dangerous cross. Cheadle picked up a yellow card for a foul in midfield and our opponents then made two substitutions with Bradley Williams and Tommy Bradford replacing Read and Bassett, respectively.

Invicta then almost pulled a goal back as from a corner, Yusuff rose unchallenged to send a powerful header towards goal, but Bennett was on the line to make a spectacular clearance, and then McCann joined a list of players who shot high over the bar. With seven minutes to go, ‘The Robins’ made their third substitution when the vastly experienced Peter Adeniyi replaced Bennett. Just as it looked as if the game was going to end 4-0, with five minutes to go, Hector burst through the Invicta defence from the halfway line leaving three players flatfooted, before he placed the ball wide of Roberts, giving the advancing Invicta goalkeeper no chance.

That was the end of the goalscoring, but as the game entered time added on, both sides picked up another yellow card, with Hector being booked for preventing a free kick from being taken and then O’Mara was cautioned for dissent.

So, that was it, a chastening 5-0 defeat which saw our unbeaten record go, going forward Carshalton Athletic looked the best side we’ve seen this season. What is of more concern is that we’ve now gone almost three and a half games without a goal. We now need to regroup and hopefully get back to winning ways against Faversham Town in the Buildbase F.A. Trophy on Saturday.                  

Talking to Neil today (Tuesday), he said: “That was a disappointing performance, made even more so by the fact we knew how they were ging to play but didn’t seem to be able to cope. “There were too many individual errors which lead to us giving away some bad goals, especially as a couple came from corners which is usually one of our strong points as we very rarely concede from them, Mev [Micheal Everitt] works very hard on our set piece defending and he’ll be devastated that their attackers were unchallenged.”

Looking at Carshalton, he added: “They are a good side, well organised, strong and pacy, but we didn’t do what was required and as the game wore on, we got pushed deeper and deeper, I know we had to lose our unbeaten record sometime, but to do it in that fashion wasn’t good enough. “Hopefully, we can bounce back on Saturday against Faversham.”     

Finally, many thanks to Carshalton Athletic for their hospitality and we wish them well for the rest of the season. 

 

Carshalton Athletic: Lloyd Thomas, Paris Hamilton Downes, Luke Read (Bradley Williams, 75 mins), Jalen Jones, Jordan Cheadle, Harry Ottaway, Lewis White, Daniel Bennett (Peter Adeniyi, 83 mins), Eze Ebuzoeme, Danny Bassett (Tommy Bradford, 75 mins) & Daniel Hector (Unused substitutes: Bobby Price & Chris Sessegnon).

Folkestone Invicta: Tim Roberts, Josh Vincent, Kieron McCann, Ian Draycott (Finn O’Mara, 56 mins), Callum Davies (Capt), Ryan Johnson, Scott Heard (Ollie Freeman, 69 mins), Ronnie Dolan, David Smith,  Ade Yusuff & Alfie Paxman, (Unused substitutes: Jordan Wright, Micheal Everitt & Connor Collins).

Referee: Gerry Heron

Assistant Referees: William Donnelly & Ron Albert.