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CORINTHIAN                                 2     FOLKESTONE INVICTA             3

Folkestone Invicta won Saturday’s Emirates F A Cup First Round Qualifying tie away to Corinthian with a nervy, topsy-turvy 3-2 victory as Neil Cugley’s side went ahead three times with goalsfrom Ade Yusuff, David Sm ith and Alfie Paxman at Gay Dawn Farm.

Corinthian – playing their first season in the Pitching In Isthmian League (South East Division) and recent F A Vase semi finalists – equalised through Oscar Housego (penalty) and Jack Mahoney before having Ryan Sawyer sent off with the scores level at 2-2.

The result was in doubt right up until the end as the home side gave it a real go and got ‘stuck in’ in what was in many ways a good old-fashioned cpu tie.

Invicta had an early chance when David Smith headed narrowly wide when he met Ryan Johnson’s third minute ball into the box.

But one of the game’s main talking points soon followed as Tim Roberts found himself in trouble after James Billings’ ball forward and handled outside his penalty area.

The Invicta goalkeeper – who once played some pre-season games for Corinthian – will have been relieved to see only a yellow card as referee Thomas Ramsey judged that it was not a goalscoring opportunity.  Housego hit the subsequent free kick into the wall and the visitors survived a potentially game-changing moment.

Invicta soon opened the scoring in the eighth minute when a Yusuff header was initially blocked after Smith had combined with Paxman but YUSUFF was there to put the ball in when Jordan Wright drilled the ball across goal from the right hand side.  It was Yusuff’s first goal since re-joining Invicta in the summer from Cray Valley (PM) having been top goalscorer for the Folkestone club in 2017-18 and 2018-19.

Yusuff then headed at home goalkeeper Aiden Prall when a 15th minute Dolan free kick came back out after a foul on Yusuff.

Invicta gained their first of 11 corners in the 22nd minute when Ryan Johnson played a crossfield ball from the right to find Paxman on the left hand side of the box and the latter’s cross deflected off Jack Holland. 

But Corinthian were level in the 25th minute when HOUSEGO put his penalty straight down the middle after he himself had been fouled by Yusuff on the left hand side of the box.

At the other end, a Dolan shot deflected at Prall after the Invicta midfielder had received the ball from Scott Heard in the 27th minute.

Housego then tried an audacious chip that went narrowly over the crossbar from just outside the penalty area after Luke Tanner’s ball had come off Invicta defender Josh Vincent.

Invicta themselves went close again in the 35th minute ehen a Smith shot was blocked by Billings after the striker had made room for himself and goalkeeper Prall did well to get across and touch Heard’s volley round the post for a corner.

Billings headed a Paxman cross from the left out for another corner two minutes later and from the subsequent set piece Vincent’s header was headed off the line by Mahoney at the far post.

Invicta restored their lead in the 40th minute when DOLAN’s free kick beat the home wall and crept past goalkeeper4 Prall after a foul on Smith.

Corinthian responded as Mahoney’s 44th minute shot was charged down after Josh James’ initial ball had come back out.

The home side started the second half well as Johnson did well to block when James Trueman played the ball in to Tanner inside the penalty area.

It was 2-2 in the 51st minute when MAHONEY timed his run well to stay onside and apply a neta finish after James’ ball into the box.

Invicta were close again in the 54th minute when Wright headed against the post after Smith’s chip across from the left hand side in a move started by Yusuff.

Billings was then booked as the game opened up and remained highly competitive.

Yusuff received the ball from Dolan and broke down the left hand side in the 58th minute but Prall got his hands to the subsequent shot.

It was then Corinthian’s turn to go close on the hour when Mahoney played the ball over the Invicta defence and Trueman lifted his shot over Roberts but Wright got back to clear from close to the line.

The home side was enjoying a good spell as Jamie Miller headed wide across goal in the 62nd minute when the ball was chipped across following a short corner on the right.

Temperatures were rising as Corinthian’s Billings and Invicta’s Matt Newman were spoken to before a visitors’ corner and James was booked for a 64th minute challenge on Yusuff when the referee played an advantage but came back to issue a caution.

The tie then tilted back in Invicta’s favour when Sawyer was shown a straight red card for a 68th minute challenge on Yusuff.

Invicta soon seized the initiative as a Paxman shot was saved by Prall a minute later in a move that also involved Vincent and Yusuff and Johns’n’s shot from the edge of the penalty area was deflected for a corner.

Dolan’s set piece from the right hand side was met by a Vincent header but Prall made an excellent save to keep it out.

What turned out to be the winning goal soon followed in the 71st minute when PAXMAN rose to head in Vincent’s cross from the right.  Invicta striker Smith was booked for kicking the ball away after the goal and was immediately replaced by Ian Draycott.

Draycott headed a 76th minute Paxman cross from the left wide after a spell of Invicta pressure and substitute Tyler Sterling then found Wright on the right hand side three minutes later when a defender threw himself to block for a corner.

Invicta may have been ahead against ten men but Corinthian refused to go away.

Housego shot just over in the 81st minute when the home side had a man over and substitute Louie Clarke and Tanner worked the ball to the right.

Billings then had a free header but couldn’t find the target after Mahoney’s corner from the right two miuntes later.

Invicta’s Sterling was booked during stoppage time for not taking a free kick when a Corinthian man was not ten yards back.

When the dust had settled Invicta were in Monday’s draw and through without the need for a replay.

But it had been a bumpy ride.

CORINTHIAN: Prall, Sawyer, Trueman, James (Tobon 84 mins), Billings, Bath, Holland (Stirman 59 mins), Mahoney, Tanner, Housego, Miller (Clarke 70 mins).  Unused subs: Lashley, Johnson, Edmundson, Gueabour.

FOLKESTONE INVICTA: Roberts, Vincent, Wright, Newman, Davies, Johnson, Heard (Sterling 72 mins), Dolan, Smith (Draycott 70 mins), Yusuff, Paxman.   Unused subs: O’Mara, Everitt, Collins.

Corners: Corinthian 6 Invicta 11

Attendance: 205.