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Invicta Retain The George Sargeant Memorial Shield

    Ashford Utd 2 Folkestone Inv. 3    

We retained the George Sargeant Memorial Shield with a hard-fought 3-2 win at the Homelands against Ashford United on Saturday. Thankfully, the torrential rain that caused Deal Town’s SCEFL Premier Division  game with Chatham Town to be abandoned at half-time due to flooding kept away, and for the most part the game was played in bright sunshine. We played a similar team to that at Crabble last week, although Ryan Johnson replaced Micheal Everitt in the starting line-up and Ian Draycott made a welcome return to the squad, albeit on the bench initially.

Invicta made the brighter start with David Smith having the first chance, but he was unable to convert Jordan Wright’s cross from the right, although our opponents also had an early chance as following a short corner and a clever step-over the ball reached Tommie Fagg on the edge of the area, but his shot was charged down and cleared.

However, it didn’t take long for Invicta to take advantage of our early advantage, when we took the lead after just eight minutes. Johnson played a good through ball to Ade Yusuff, who was fouled on the edge of the area as he bore down on goal, and, from a similar position to his goal against Dover Athletic last week, Tyrone Sterling curled an unstoppable shot into the top right-hand corner of the net. Alfie Paxman then fed Yusuff, who turned his marker, but his cross-cum-shot was scrambled clear by the ‘Nuts and Bolts’ defence.

Our opponent’s attacks were sporadic in the early exchanges, but during one they felt they should have had a penalty as the ball hit Yusuff defending in his own area, and their frustrations showed as Yusuff was cynically tripped by Jack Steventon as he broke away, which earned the Ashford United player a booking. This frustration grew as after fourteen minutes, we doubled our lead. Smith won a corner on the right-hand side, which was taken short by Sterling to Wright and his shot looped off a defender’s boot and spun over the Ashford United’s goalkeeper into the far corner, giving him no chance.

Smith and Yussuf then both had two-on-one chances as they broke away, but on both occasions delaying the final pass lead to them being squandered and we then paid for that hesitation as our opponents got back into the game. In the 27th minute, Tommie Fagg played a clever dinked pass over the Invicta defence which was received by Tashi-Jay Kwaiye, his powerful shot was parried at the near post by Tim Roberts, but Luke Leppard spotted his chance and tapped home the rebound.

The game then became more open and both sides had chances. Firstly, Yusuff beat the home side’s offside trap as he ran onto a defence-splitting pass from Ronnie Dolan, but he mishit his shot wide of the right-hand post, whilst at the other end, Fagg played in Tariq Ossai, but his cross was just out of reach of the onrushing Leppard and the ball went to safety. Invicta then had a real let off as a free kick wasn’t cleared and when the ball came back in from Trialist ‘C’, Leppard was unlucky to see his close- range header bounce to safety off the crossbar. In time added on at the end of the first half the Invicta nerves were settled going into the break as we added a third. Dolan played the ball to Yusuff, who in turn slipped the ball to Paxman and his low cross was finished at the far post by Wright for his second of the game.

At the start of the second half, Ashford United made two changes with both the outfield Trialists being replaced by Josh Wisson and Mamadou Diallo, but chances were, initially, at a premium. Smith did well to win the ball in midfield before passing to Wright, who played the ball inside to Sterling, but he curled his shot wide of the far post off the outside of his foot. Bradley Simms then went close for our opponents as his vicious swerving shot from the edge of the area just cleared Roberts’ crossbar. They continued to press and substitute Wisson sent in a good cross, but Leppard and Fagg got in each other’s way and the latter nodded wide.

Although the ‘Nuts and Bolts’ were having the best of it at this stage, we were still showing attacking intent and after Smith had been fouled by Ben Gorham, who was perhaps fortunate not to pick up the game’s second yellow card, Sterling let fly from around twenty-five yards and was unfortunate to see his free kick bounce off the bar and go safe. The home side then had a free kick of their own inside the ‘D’, but it was charged down by the wall and when the ball was returned, Roberts punched clear to relieve the danger, although he was soon called into action again and this time, he did well to collect the ball cleanly under pressure from a well taken free kick on the Ashford United right.

Fifteen minutes from time, we were pegged back to 3-2, Fagg cleverly span away from Ian Draycott, who had come on as a substitute for Yusuff around ten minutes earlier, and played the ball to Luke Burdon, who had also just come off the bench, he slipped it through to Kwayie whose composed finish was placed past Roberts’ left hand as he came out to narrow the angle, and into the far corner.

Four minutes later we almost got our traditional fourth in this fixture! Sterling and Wright combined with the latter sending in a low cross which was met by Draycott on the edge of the six-yard box, only for the Ashford United goalkeeper to pull off an outstanding reflex save, and as Smith came in on the rebound, his shot was deflected away for a corner.

That was the end of the action and Invicta’s good run in the pre-season games continued with just one more to go before the League season starts in earnest. Thanks to Ashford United for their hospitality and best wishes to them for the forthcoming season.

After the game, Ashford United Director Derek Pestridge presented the George Sargeant Memorial Shield to Micheal Everitt.

 

Today (Sunday) I spoke to Neil Cugley who reflected on the game: ‘I thought it went well yesterday and I was pleased that there was a decent attendance to remember George and that we were able to pay our respects and play the game. ‘We actually changed the system a little bit as it may be that some of the injured players won’t be available for our first League game and so we have to look at other options, but we’ll see where we are on Saturday and go from there. ‘I thought Jordan [Wright] and Tyler [Sterling] did well yesterday, and they’ve both done well in all the pre-season games and taken advantage of getting a place in the side. ‘I was also pleased that Draycs [Ian Draycott] came through the last half hour or so without any reaction, which gives us another option.’   

 

 

Ashford United: Trialist ‘A’, Tariq Ossai, Bradley Simms, Jono Richardson, Trialist ‘B’ (Josh Wisson, 46 mins), Ben Gorham (Capt), Trialist ‘C’ (Mamadou Diallo, 46 mins), Tommie Fagg (Trialist ‘D’, 86 mins), Luke Leppard (Luke Burdon, 69 mins), Tashi-Jay Kwaiye & Jack Steventon.

Goalscorers: Luke Leppard (27 mins) & Tashi-Jay Kwaiye, 74 mins).

Folkestone Invicta; Tim Roberts (Connor Collins, 87 mins), Josh Vincent (Capt), Jordan Wright (Luca Borrello, 85 mins), Matt Newman (Micheal Everitt, 78 mins), Finn O’Mara,  Ryan Johnson, Tyler Sterling, Ronnie Dolan, David Smith, Ade Yusuff (Ian Draycott, 65 mins) & Alfie Paxman.

Goalscorers: Tyler Sterling (8 mins), Jordan Wright (14 & 45 mins).

Referee: Simon Finnegan

Assistant Referees: Luke Morley & Chris Robbins.

Attendance: I’m not sure what the attendance was Yesturday, but many thanks to all the Invicta fans who went to the Homelands Stadium to support the team.

Next Fixture: We are at home next Saturday, 7th August, when in our last pre-season game, Maidstone United of the Vanarama National League (South) visit the BuildKent Stadium, kick-off is 3:00pm.