“Disjointed” was the word Micheal Everitt used to describe the performance as Invicta drew for the first time this summer against Steve Lovell’s Herne Bay.
Without checking the record books we are confident in calling this summer the wettest pre-season on record, as the rain poured down from the early morning at the Alcaline Stadium.
Invicta took to the pitch sporting our brand new red & white away kit, with the visitors awaiting delivery of the blue home kits and having to play in all yellow.
Invicta named an unchanged team from the win over Hythe Town, with Scott Heard and Lenny Atherton returning to the squad on the bench. A late change was made to the Invicta back 4 with Ian Gayle being replaced by Scott Heard, meaning Andy Drury dropped into the back 4. Freddy Barton started at right back having been announced as an Invicta player before kick off.
The first chance of the afternoon fell to Invicta as a wayward goal kick found Andre Coker who cut in from the left and curled an effort just past the far post.
Coker was again involved as he laid the ball of to Ade Cole who saw his shot deflected wide for a corner.
Invicta’s goal came from another move on the left. Following a throw in, the ball was worked back wide to Trialist A at left back who delivered a cross into Ibrahim Olutade who saw his header hit a Herne Bay defender and drop perfectly for David Smith to finish past the keeper for his 4th goal of pre-season.
Invicta were given a warning within seconds of the restart but the came back off the post and into Joe Coleman’s arms as the flag went up for offside.
it was a warning that was not heeded however, as Gil Carvalho levelled the scored just moments later. Skipping over a challenge from Callum Davies the winger bent an effort from the edge of the box off the inside of the post to level the scores.
Olutade was next to threaten the scoring, running at former Invicta defender Liam Friend before getting off a shot that the Herne Bay keeper saved comfortably.
It was Herne Bay who went closest to finding a winner as Invicta failed to deal with a long ball into the box, giving Kane Rowland the chance to shoot against the post before ricocheting around the area before a second effort was cleared off the line by Trialist A.
After a period of little action at either end Invicta went close right at the end of the first half. A David Smith effort was deflected wide for a corner which was then headed clear to Kane Penn who saw his shot through a crowd of players blocked in front of the goalkeeper.
The weather had dried up during the first half but the rain was back for the restart as Invicta brought on Jordon Ababio to replace Trialist A who had picked up a knock shortly before the break. This meant a reshuffle for Invicta with Coker moving more central and Kane Penn dropping into left back.
Joe Coleman made the first save after the break although the flag had gone up for offside. Jordon Ababio then forced a good save at the other end, coming onto a ball laid back by Andre Coker and hitting a firm, low effort at goal that needed a decent save to keep it out.
Fans of goalmouth action would have a long wait for any excitement but Freddy Barton picked up the first booking of the afternoon for a light push on Carvalho before Herne Bay picked up one for a challenge that brought down Coker as he ran at goal. Invicta’s no. 11 picked himself up to fire the free kick over the bar.
Herne Bay’s 19 found the target from a similar distance at the other end although Coleman was comfortable in making a save.
It was a change from Herne Bay that then sparked some life into the second half. The substitute goalkeeper came on and immediately took a free kick that came back towards the Bay goal with a ball over the top from Andre Coker. Olutade may well have been offside had he reached the ball but the keeper appeared to panic and caught the ball about 25 yards from his goal, just outside the D. Pointing towards the linesman he appeared to protest that the offside should be given but the referee issued Invicta with a free kick and booked him. The free kick then hit the wall before a cross from Ababio was dropped out for a corner by the keeper.
Ababio then saw his next effort, a driven cross-shot, parried by the keeper before being cleared but the game fizzled out as both teams seemed to have more focus on their opening fixture of the league season, with Invicta travelling to Wingate & Finchley and Herne Bay preparing for their return to the Isthmian South East Division as they welcome Burgess Hill Town.
Many thanks to those who came out to support the team in horrid conditions. We hope that the start of the season will bring better weather and you will be able to enjoy an evening on the open terraces when we welcome Chatham Town on Tuesday 15th August (kick off: 7:45pm)