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Invicta take their chances and hit six for the first time this season

WALTON & HERSHAM  2

FOLKESTONE INVICTA  6

Strike partners Richard Atkins (2) and Ian Draycott - pcitured right - shared half of their side’s goals as Invicta hit hosts Walton & Hersham for six at Stompond Lane on Saturday.

Ashley Miller marked his first starting appearance with a goal, midfielder Matt Newman scored for the second time in a few weeks and sub Jon Pilbeam sealed victory with the visitors’ sixth goal of the day.

The home side opened and closed the scoring on an afternoon that saw goals flowing right from the start.

Invicta have certainly been amongst the goals on their travels as they scored at least three goals for the fifth time in their last six away Ryman League Division One South fixtures.

The only exception to that run came away at unbeaten league leaders Burgess Hill early in the year.

The game survived the morning rain and sleet and team news saw Invicta bring Nat Blanks back in at left back for the injured Callum Wraight after Blanks’ operation on a fractured cheekbone was delayed at short notice in midweek.

Eleven

Recent signing Miller also came into the starting eleven for the first time having caught the eye as a substitute in the midweek Kent Senior Cup defeat at Margate.

In what is now a strong, well balanced squad where competition for places is higher than ever at the club, it was tigerish midfielder Jordan Wright and the skilful Jon Pilbeam who had to settle for a place on the bench.

But it was Walton & Hersham who opened the scoring as early as the fourth minute when Harry MILLS knocked in the rebound after Invicta goalkeeper Tim Roberts had saved the fullback’s initial shot from the right.

Invicta were soon level however as Josh Vincent (left) burst clear down the right hand side of the penalty area and his low ball across goal was turned home by ATKINS from close range.

A third goal soon followed as a 13th minute Ronnie Dolan ball put DRAYCOTT through down the middle after an interception from Blanks and Invicta’s top scorer found the net despite goalkeeper and home captain Gary Ross getting plenty on the ball.

In Atkins and Draycott Invicta have two hard-working strikers. And they score goals – that is five in ten for Atkins since rejoining the club and 29 goals in 40 appearances for summer signing Draycott.

Between Invicta’s opening two goals Roberts – playing against the club he left to join Folkestone some 15 months ago -  had suffered a dead leg in a collision with striker Gareth Chendlik as both players claimed a foul.

The lively Chendlik shot well wide from outside the penalty area after combining with Anthony Oaks in the 17thminute and a Cascoe shot curled wide from the edge of the box.

Invicta went close again midway through the opening half as Atkins fired a low ball across goal from the right but right back Mills Harry put the ball out for a corner at the far post before Miller could pounce in a move also involving Dolan, Draycott and Newman.

There were chances at both ends on the half hour as a Cottee shot rolled at Roberts and Mills denied Miller again as Atkins got in behind Louis Clark to go clear and play the ball across after being played in by Draycott.

Volley

At the other end, Cascoe found Chendlik down the right hand side in the 35th minute and the striker’s shot deflected over off Blanks.

Oaks’ deep cross from the left was met by a Chendlik volley that was not too far wide just four minutes later.

The run up to half-time, though, belonged totally to Invicta as Atkins shot deflected off centre half Jahmahl King’s head for a corner when Draycott chested down captain Liam Friend’s free kick to Atkins and the ball broke back to the hard-working frontman,

Invicta had penalty appeals turned down when a Draycott shot hit King’s hand.

But the visitors increased their lead seconds as MILLER opened his account for the club with a low shot into the corner of the net that Ross got a hand to but couldn’t hold.

And it was 4-1 barely two minutes later when NEWMAN (pictured) hit the pick of the bunch by blasting a 44th minute shot into the roof of the net after combining with Draycott following a short corner on the right hand side.

Walton & Hersham brought Vernon Francis on for Cascoe at half time and the home side did show positive resolve at the start of the second period.

A 55th minute Mills cross from the right was touched back by Chendlik to Cottee whose shot was partially blocked by Frankie Chappell and carried into Roberts’ hands.

Invicta made it 5-1 in the 58th minute when Draycott got behind Clark after Blanks played the ball forward and the unselfish Draycott was again the goalmaker , squaring the ball across for strike partner ATKINS to hit his second goal of the game after six matches without a goal.

Invicta had a good chance to score again just after the hour when that man Draycott found Vincent who put Miller clean through but Ross saved and Clark cleared before Atkins could pounce.

That was the signal for a double Invicta substitution as Wright and Pilbeam replaced Miller and Dolan for the final half hour.

Atkins had the ball in then net again in the 64th minute but was denied a hat-trick by a flag for offside after a Pilbeam ball in from the right.

But it was 6-1 soon enough as Wright sent Atkins clear down the left and the striker chose to cut in and go alone when on a hat-trick only for Ross to save, but PILBEAM had the simplest of taks of turning the rebound in.

Wonder

Fans began to wonder just how many Invicta were going to score and

Folkestone made a third substitution with Flavius Fedor replacing Blanks.

A low 75th minute Oaks shot from a central position just outside the penalty area was gathered by Roberts.

Home substitute Daniel Ranger was booked for going through the back of Plibeam and Clark was also cautioned as referee Neil McKenzie ran out of patience on what was a dispiriting afternoon for the Surrey club.

The Swans pulled a goal back when Cottee did well to battle through the middle and get the ball to OAKS who found the net.

There were chances at either end and it was Walton & Hersham who had the last opportunity of a fairly open game when Cottee shot at Roberts in the 90th minute after Mills played the ball up to Oaks.

But this was well and truly Invicta’s day.

WALTON & HERSHAM: Ross, Mills, Ogun (Ranger 66), Scarlett, King, Clark, Hemmings, Oaks, Chendlik (Pledger 62), Cottee, Cascoe (Francis 45).  Unused subs: Ajeon, Daly. 

FOLKESTONE INVICTA: Roberts, Vincent, Blanks (Fedor 73), Friend, Chappell, Newman, Miller (Wright 62), Everitt, Draycott, Atkins, Dolan (Pilbeam 62).  Unused sub: Fender. 

Attendance: 122