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What a Season! - Youth Team complete the ‘Treble'

Last night, in a tight game against Tunbridge Wells on an excellent Corinthian pitch, the Youth Team retained the KitToFit Kent Youth League Cup, and so completed a magnificent ‘Treble’ of Kent Youth League and Cup plus Kent FA Youth Cup, with a hard fought 2-1 victory over Tunbridge Wells. As expected with ‘The Wells’ being the Kent Youth League Premier North Division Champions it was always going to be close and the game wasn’t decided until the last couple of minutes of extra time.

Invicta started the stronger and took the lead after just three minutes when Brad Baker’s excellent corner was headed home by Jack Price making a welcome return from a two game suspension. We almost doubled our lead when Tyler Sterling latched onto a long Joe Coleman kick, the Tunbridge Wells goalkeeper Tim Walters saved well but only parried but Jordan Small couldn’t quite apply the finishing touch. After nineteen minutes Small had a goal disallowed after the Referee adjudged that Price had fouled Walters in nodding the ball down. We continued to press with Tunbridge Wells being restricted to long distance shots, although we didn’t make our pressure count and on thirty-five minutes our opponents got an equaliser. Price turned into an oncoming opponent on the edge of the Invicta area and committed a foul, and from the resultant free kick Harry Forster curled the ball over the wall and into the top corner giving Coleman no chance to make the score 1-1. That gave Tunbridge Wells encouragement and Coleman had to get down sharply to save from Caleb Edorh, who was a threat on the break all game, although just before the break we almost took the lead when Ethan Madden saw his header cleared off the line from another pinpoint Baker corner. So, the sides went into the break level, which seemed about right although Invicta may have just shaded it on chances.

The second half continued in much the same vein, although after fifty-six minutes, Baker almost repeated his feat of last Sunday’s Final when he hit the top of the bar from a corner. Invicta continued to look the most dangerous, with our opponents looking to catch us on the break but with the defence superbly martialled by Madden and Joss Wickham they were kept at a distance, although Edorh had a goal disallowed for offside on eighty minutes and then two minutes later, Oliver Plunkett drilled a free kick across the six yard box but the incoming Tom Anstee couldn’t quite get a touch. Unfortunately Wickham’s game ended in the eighty-ninth minute when following a poor challenge by the Tunbridge Wells player, which resulted in him being sent off, he appeared to be badly concussed and so had to be substituted. Joss was taken to hospital for a check up, at the time of writing I’m waiting for an update, but I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing him well. This allowed us to put more pressure on our opponents and in the eight minutes of added time we came close a couple of times with the Tunbridge Wells goalkeeper pulling off a fine save from a Price header, who also had another one from long range. So, the game ended 1-1 and we went into extra time.

The first period of extra time carried on as the second half ended, Baker had a shot into the side netting following a great run to the edge of the box, and he then had another effort easily saved by the goalkeeper. To their credit, and despite being down to ten men, ‘The Wells’ also made chances with Coleman making a decent save at his near post from Edorh. Despite all the effort, the first period remained scoreless and with the score still at 1-1, the spectre of penalties was in the air.

By now tiredness was taking over, which wasn’t surprising as both sides had given non-stop effort for almost two hours, and chances were at a premium, then came the crucial moment two minutes from time with a bit of good fortune about it. Hector Dupree and Sterling had a great interchange of passes which allowed the latter to cut inside and cross the ball, which was turned into his own net by a Tunbridge Wells defender to give us a 2-1 lead, whilst it was tough on our opponents and they deserve praise for their part in the game, we just about shaded it and at least we were saved the lottery of penalties.

As well as picking up the cup we received a kit voucher from the competition sponsors KitToFit, plus an open top bus parade from Stagecoach, so watch out for that coming near you soon!!

The two squads were;

Tunbridge Wells; Tim Walters, Oliver Plunkett, Alfie Lenton, Matthew Horlock, Nat Rofe, Josh Pepper,  Tom Anstee (capt), Ewan Jeffery, Caleb Edorh, Harry Forster, Tie Johnson, Oliver Lee, Jake Stickels, Jamie Smith, Pip Preston & Rory Benham

Folkestone Invicta; Joe Coleman, Chris Calthorpe, Finn Wood, Kieron Jones, Ethan Madden (capt), Joss Wickham, Jack Price, Tyler Sterling, Jordan Small, Brad Baker, Jake Grant, Hector Dupree, Ben Binder, Shawn Ikwuagua, Ryan Aldritt & Ethan Farnham.

Well, that’s almost it, just one game to go when we entertain Faversham Town at home for our last League match of the season, when we will be attempting to complete our programme unbeaten. Come along and support the lads, this will be the last chance you’ll have to see this excellent team play together.

Sunday 5th May (11:00am)           Faversham Town               Home                    KYL Premier Division South

That moment when the Cup was presented to @FIFC by Conrad Anderson of @kittofit