Invicta exited the Kent Senior Cup at the 1st hurdle on Tuesday evening as last season’s finalists Chatham Town ran out comfortable winners to set up a 2nd Round tie with Tonbridge Angels.
Micheal Everitt and Roland Edge started just 5 of the players who began Saturday’s win at Lewes. On Loan ‘keeper Josh Strizovic made his debut in goal in place of Joe Coleman. 3 of the back 4 remained, with Freddy Barton, Will Moses & Callum Davies being joined by Makhosini Ryan-Khanye who came in at left back, with Kane Penn pushing forward into a midfield alongside Scott Heard and Elliott Moore who joined the squad from his dual registration with Deal Town. Similarly, academy forward Fin Dent lead the line as he made his first start for the club, joined in attack by Saturday’s substitutes Andre Coker and Ira Jackson Jr.
Invicta’s bench included Academy scholar Brad Walledge, returning from his dual registration with New Romney, along with keeper Joe Coleman, Will Dempsey, Jordon Ababio and Jake Dancer. David Smith, Ian Gayle, Ibrahim Olutade and Ade Cole were all given the night off ahead of Saturday’s trip to Margate.
Chatham also made 6 changes from their weekend defeat to Cray Wanderers. New signing Eddie Allsopp and on-loan Tonbridge Angels midfielder Tommie Fagg both started along with Ben Allen and Ashley Nzala who both scored in the league meeting between the sides in August.
Chatham kicked off, with Invicta attacking the Remland Stand, and just 6 minutes in Scott Heard surged towards the Invicta supporters to draw a free kick and the game’s first booking with Ernie Cheeseman going into the referee’s notebook. Ryan-Khanye curled the free kick over the crossbar.
Coker, who had also stood over the free kick, had a first effort on goal a few moments later but dragged his effort from distance comfortably wide.
A free kick for a foul on Freddy Barton drew the Invicta’s next chance. The referee ignored new FA protocols as Scott Heard tried to take a free kick quickly but was prevented doing so by Ashley Nzala standing over the ball. Having been told to play the ball by the referee, Heardy delivered a perfect diagonal ball to find Ryan-Khanye who found the underlapping run of Elliott Moore, opening space for him to find Fin Dent who got off a first time effort under pressure but was unable to hit the target.
Chatham responded with their first chance straight from kick off with a real worked move that ended with Sanogo delivering a ball over the top of Barton for Nzala to chase. The Chats winger did well to hold off Barton and get off a shot but Strizovic made himself big to smother the effort and Barton hooked clear. Chatham quickly returned the ball to Nzala who beat Barton to drive a low cross that Jack Munns connected with but only managed to scuff straight to a defender to clear.
Chatham had began to grow into the game, a free kick from the Invicta right was slightly overhit and the header looped comfortably into the hands of Strizovic.
Invicta resound some of their early swagger as a cross-field ball from Barton found Heard to stretch the visitors defence. Heardy found Dent inside the area who looked to shoot but dragged the ball back well and laid it off to Coker who hit a bobbling effort inches wide of the near post.
Will Moses picked up Invicta’s first booking of the night in the 24th minute after kicking the ball away following a soft foul on Tommie Fagg. The referee had appeared to forget the new directives again but thankfully several Chatham players were on hand to remind him. Invicta dealt with the corner and countered, Coker finding Jackson with a long cross-field pass but Invicta’s number 10 fired his left footed effort off a defender for a corner.
Invicta continued to be on top, with more corners and some coshes from open play but without creating any real chance of note and were eventually punished on the 35th minute. A cross from the right just about reached Fagg at the front post who skied the ball which dropped to Nzala. A good challenge from Barton prevented the winger from getting off a shot but it ricocheted back to Eddie Allsopp who drilled against the ball from close range with the ball heading back out to Fagg who did well to control and fire low through the Invicta defence and into the far corner.
The goal certainly lifted the visitors. Nzala was fed in again almost immediately forcing Strizovic to reacted quickly and advance to smother the shot, although the flag was up for offside. Ben Allen then forced a very good save from the debutant keeper as he got both hands to and effort from just over 25 yards. Fagg then headed wide from the corner.
Jackson joined Moses in the book in 1st half injury time as he jumped high on halfway to win a header, much to the bemusement of all in attendance.
Invicta made the first change of the evening at half time, with Ryan-Khanye replaced by Will Dempsey.
It took just 3 minutes of the second half for the moment of controversy that appeared to swing the match. Fagg played a ball back to Bodkin deep on Chatham’s left and, spotting the run of Allsopp heading in behind Dempsey, delivered a first time ball over the top of the Invicta defence. Kane Penn jumped to try and cut out the ball that came off the top of his head and fell straight into the path of Allsopp, now some distance in behind the Invicta defence, for the Chatham debutant to walk into the net with the linesman holding his flag high in the air. As Strizovic went to restart the play quickly, the referee halted him and ran to the linesman for a discussion that eventually lead to him blowing his whistling and signalling for a goal, seemingly deeming the touch of Penn as some sort of new phase of play that meant Allsopp was now onside, despite having been off when the ball was played.
The Invicta supporters were understandably riled by the decision and it was help moments later as Dempsey did well to beat Nzala to the ball before having his legs kicked clean out from under him which was deemed a fair challenge by the officials.
Allen had a second sight of goal as he collected a Bodkin throw and unleash another effort from distance, this one heading wide.
Allen was then quickly involved in the visitors’ third as he challenge for a high ball to lay it off to Munns who fizzed it back forward into Fagg with Nzala making a run in from the left the he then found to set the winger free to bury Chatham’s third and kill the tie just 10 minutes into the second half.
The winger was then fed through between Invicta’s central defence and appeared to be onside but the flag went up to deny him a chance to add to his tally. He collected the ball before then dropping it behind Strizovic, an action that drew a booking from the referee.
He wouldn’t have to wait long for another though as Invicta looked to have completely switched off. Bodkin, having moved from left to right back moments earlier, delivered a cross-field free kick to find Allsopp who drove it back across the box to Nzala, falling backwards he still managed to make decent contact with his left foot, firing high into the net.
Invicta made 2 changes in the aftermath, replacing Dent and Heard with Jordon Ababio and Jake Dancer.
Allen threatened to add a 5th after Dancer challenged Nzala as he ran at the Invicta defence only for the ball to run nicely for Chatham’s number 10 inside the box for him to lift it over the bar.
Invicta offered a first threat of the second half with less than 15 minutes to go as a cross from Kane Penn was glanced wide by Andre Coker.
Nzala and Allen linked up once more to put the cherry on the icing on top of Chatham’s cake as the winger was fed the ball after it had been won from Barton in midfield, he cooled fed Allen inside the box and this time it was buried into the bottom corner.
An Allen free kick was nearly turned home at the front post from point blank range, possibly by either attacker or defender but Strizovic kept it at bay.
Freddy Barton got forward on the left to win a corner that he then met at the front post to volley wide.
Invicta were spared further embarrassment moments later as the offside flag denied Chatham’s 16 year old academy scholar a 6th.
Strizovic was called into action one more time deep in stoppage time as he made himself big to deny Nzala his hat trick. Invicta cleared the corner and the referee drew a painful evening to a close.
It was a night that must be swiftly forgotten as we look ahead to our trip to Margate on Saturday in the FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round.
Invicta’s Man of the Match selected by match sponsor Tony Newport was Freddy Barton. We would like to thanks Tony for his continued support.