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WHYTELEAFE 1

FOLKESTONE INVICTA 1

A 75th minute equaliser direct from a Jason Thompson free kick denied Folkestone Invicta victory at Whyteleafe on Tuesday night.

Neil Cugley’s side led thanks to a Dane Luchford goal just after half time on the home club’s new 3G pitch at Church Road.

The Folkestone side kept an unchanged starting eleven to that which had won 2-0 at home to Tooting & Mitcham on Saturday as they visited last season’s Southern Counties East League champions.

LUCHFORD had opened the scoring in the 50th minute when he slid the ball into the net from the right hand side after a through ball from Matt Newman.

But the home side kept pressing for an equaliser and was rewarded when captain THOMPSON’s 25-yard free kick found the left hand corner of the net despite Tim Roberts’ efforts to keep it out.

Invicta goalkeeper Roberts was making his 50th appearance for the club since joining from Walton & Hersham, whilst in front of him captain Liam Friend - pictured - was making his 400th appearance for Invicta.

The visitors had disputed the award of the free kick that led to the equaliser as they themselves prepared for a break.

Having got themselves the lead Invicta will have been disappointed to have conceded and had to settle for a second 1-1 away draw of the new season.

Threatened

There had been a lively opening to the game as a second minute Sam Clayton ball in from the right was cleared by Frankie Chappell and Invicta went straight down the other end as striker Paul Booth threatened to walk through the home defence but Louis Hollingsworth got back to avert the danger.

Home striker Clayton then shot at Invicta goalkeeper Roberts a minute later.

Chances then became few until the 21st minute when Ian Draycott drilled a low ball across goal from the right hand side after receiving it from striking partner Booth.

Ryan Fowler headed at Roberts in the 26th minute after a Bentley Graham cross from the right hand side in a move started by Greg Andrews and Jensen Grant.

Booth then threaded the ball through to Draycott at the other end but home goalkeeper Sheikh Ceesay came out to save.

The best opening of the first half came in the 27th minute when Grant got past Chappell down the right hand side and squared the ball to Andrew but the striker’s low shot was saved by Roberts.

A 35th minute Draycott shot from outside the penalty area flew wide of the post when the Invicta striker dispossessed Thompson.

Invicta goalkeeper Roberts got across to his left to keep out a well-struck 45th minute Claytton shot when the home striker let fly from outside the penalty area after receiving the ball from Fowler.

Luchford then drilled the ball across from the right hand side but Tommy Smith cleared during first half stoppage time.

A 49th minute Clayton shot on the turn from the right hand edge of the penalty area was saved by Roberts and Invicta were soon ahead courtesy of Luchford.

Whyteleafe responded as Roberts saved when Grant found Clayton on the right hand side.

A Josh Vincent shot then flashed wide of the Whyteleafe goal from outside the penalty area on the right hand side.

The home side made a double substitution on the hour mark as Simon Mensah and Tom Harper replaced Fowler and Andrews.

Back Stanchion

Booth headed wide across the penalty area after a 63rd minute ball in from the right and the striker then shot against the back stanchion when Luchford played the ball across from the right after Friend had  played the ball out of defence and Booth had combined with Draycott.

Graham shot at Roberts from the left hand side in the 71st minute and Whyteleafe were soon level after that set piece.

The home side threatened again in the 80th minute when Roberts came out to claim the ball ahead of Harper in the middle after a Clayton ball inform the left in a move started by substitute Harper instead.

Booth then fired over for Invicta when Darren Smith gained possession on the left hand side.

Invicta left back Nat Blanks then had to block when the ball fell to home substitute Mensah in the 82nd minute.

Visiting substitute Jon Pilbeam had his moments in the 84th minute as one shot flashed across goal from the right hand side and another was saved by goalkeeper Ceesay.

One final piece of Invicta defending saw Friend block a fierce Clayton shot.

For all its endeavour, the home side did not win a corner throughout the game.

WHYTELEAFE: Ceesay, Smith, Penfold, Hollingsworth, Merchant, Thompson, Fowler (Mensah 60 mins), Grant, Andrews (Harper 60 mins), Clayton, Graham.  Unused subs: Pratt, Lyle, Burnett.  

FOLKESTONE INVICTA: Roberts, Vincent, Blanks, Friend, Chappell, Newman, Luchford (Pilbeam 74 mins), Smith, Draycott, Booth, M Everitt.  Unused subs: Edge, Elliott, Coyne.

Attendance: 122.