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CAN INVICTA PICK THEMSELVES UP FROM GRUELLING NIGHT AT STAINES AND CLINCH A PLAY-OFF PLACE IN THE SPACE OF LESS THAN THREE DAYS?

Invicta may be counting the cost of Thursday’s hard fought 4-4 draw at Staines with a number of minor knocks when they travel to take on Dorking Wanderers at the Westhumble Community Stadium.

Only a dramatic stoppage time equaliser finally earned Folkestone a point in the big play-off clash at Wheatsheaf Park and there were mixed feelings of relief and disappointment that Neil Cugley’s side didn’t get the win they perhaps should have had after leading three times in what was a testing game for players, must have been shared by management and supporters alike.

But they have to get up and go again this afternoon when they face a Dorking side who sit 17th in the table, and just below halfway in the form table with 51 points from 40 games.

This should be one of the last games to be played at Wanderers’ current home ground where they have been since 2007 – only eight years after the club was founded by current chairman/manager Marc White and others. There must have been tremendous frustration and disappointment for everyone that their new multi million pound Meadowbank Stadium was not ready for the start of this season, and is not already up and running as had been promised several times by the contractors.

This was always going to be a season of consolidation after White’s side won promotion through the play-offs 12 months ago, but this has surely proved a season of marking time, or, given the weather we have had recently, treading water for one of the most ambitious clubs in this part of the country.

In 1999 they were playing in the Crawley & District League, but they have climbed rapidly up through the pyramid since that time, joining the Ryman League a couple of years back.

Several of their current squad have been attracting attention from the highest levels of the game, but they suffered a major setback when attacking midfielder Matt Briggs - the brightest of those young stars - was seriously hurt in an horrific clash of heads in a match against Burgess Hill early this year.

Crashed

Briggs (pictured right) has now rejoined the first team squad and played for 65 minutes in Dorking’s 2-0 defeat at Needham Market last week but was not involved on Thursday when they crashed 4-0 to title contenders Dulwich Hamlet.

The taelented Briggs may be a doubt but White has assembled a strong, competitive squad that includes season campaigners such as ex-Ebbsfleet striker Luke Moore and the dangerous Lewis Taylor whose CV includes spells at the likes of Margate and Tonbridge. 

Marc White’s side will though be without Slovakian goalkeeper Slavomir Huk who was booked for conceding the penalty from which Needham scored the first of their two goals last week and then received a second yellow card for dissent a couple of minutes later.

Invicta have a number playing nursing niggly injuries from the gruelling encounter at Staines and will be leaving team selection until virtually the last minute.

This is the second of three awkward away fixtures for play-off chasing Folkestone who go to Thurrock for a re-arranged game on Tuesday before their final home game of the season against Dulwich Hamlet next weekend.

They then have the Kent Senior Cup Final away to Maidstone on April 24th and end the ‘regular season with a visit to current league leaders and long-time bookies’ title favourites Billericay Town a fortnight today (April 28th).

And then? Maybe the play-offs???