A perfect shootout from Haringey Borough handed Invicta an early FA Trophy exit on Saturday as a tie that was largely devoid of drama burst into life late on.
Following on from Tuesday evening’s friendly win against Gillingham ‘B’, Invicta made a number of changes from the side that started the previous weekend’s defeat at Concord Rangers. Goalkeeper Joe Coleman returned between the sticks with Josh Strizovic having returned to parent club Dagenham & Redbridge. In front of him Will Moses continued as a partner for Ian Gayle in the centre of defence with Callum Davies pushed into midfield while Elliott Moore started at right back with Kane Penn, who was rested on Tuesday night, returned on the left. Andy Drury returned to make up the midfield 3 with Ade Cole while David Smith missed out with a knock, meaning a return to the front 3 for Jordon Ababio, who came off the bench to score last weekend.
The first half passed with very little action. A tame shot from an off-balance Jordon Ababio was the only action for either keeper before Invicta were forced into the first change of the afternoon on 25 minutes at Scott Heard replaced Andy Drury.
Shortly after the change Haringey worked the first real shot of the match and a move from left to right opened up space for Georgios Aresti to force a save from Joe Coleman. The resulting corner was met by Khalifa Jabbie at the back post who sent it back across goal, only to be turned over from 2 yards by Walter Figueira.
The sides went in with the score goalless at the break and a shootout seemed a real possibility if the second half continued in similar fashion, but within a minute of the restart Invicta created their first real chance of the afternoon as a throw high up the pitch from Kane Penn was worked to Callum Davies who fed in Ibrahim Olutade to shoot from a tight angle, forcing a save from goalkeeper Ted Collins.
Collins found himself in trouble 8 minutes into the second half as he conceded the first penalty of the afternoon. Ababio found Olutade who flicked a header in behind that appeared comfortable for defender Dexter Peter to deal with but his header was a long way short of his keeper who was beaten to the ball by Ira Jackson with the two colliding and the referee pointing to the spot. The Invicta forward picked himself up to roll the ball into the corner and give Invicta the lead.
The goal seemed to finally open the game up with Jackson again getting a sight of goal moments later as he was found wide right by Scott Heard and cut inside his full back to fire just wide of the near post with his left foot.
Haringey responded with a close shave of their own as Arthur Iontton fired off an effort inside the box that took a small deflection before taking a coat to paint off Joe Coleman’s post on its way behind for a corner.
Coleman was called into action with little more than 15 minutes remaining as he claimed a first time effort from Matthew Young from the edge of the area.
With Haringey having appeared on top in search of an equaliser, Invicta made 2 changes with Will Dempsey and Luke Holness replacing Jordon Ababio and Ibrahim Olutade. The substitutions seemed to have switched the momentum of the match with Invicta now having more of the ball and territory, probing for a second to kill off the tie until disaster struck with just over 5 minutes to go. A cross from Kasim Aidoo on the right beat the challenge of Dempsey and just eluded to long reach of Coleman at the near post to drop onto the head of Michael O’Donoghue who couldn’t miss from less than a yard out.
A game that had lacked quality for so long had now sprung into life and it was the visitors who had the next chance to win it as O’Donoghue got in behind and cut back to Jabbie who got the ball stuck under his feet with his trailing leg knocking it safely to Coleman.
As Haringey probed again Cole picked up a loose ball on the edge of the Invicta area and fed Jackson to spring a counter attack with Heard and Holness ahead of him. It was the former who lifted a ball over the final defender and back into the path of Jackson who came onto it perfectly to hit a first time effort that fizzed beyond Collins to give Invicta a 92nd minute lead, much to the relief of almost everyone inside the Alcaline Stadium.
But before the social media admin had time to tell the world of Jackson’s late goal we were all level again and heading to a shootout. Right back Alfred Bobson Bawling cut back from the byline to find Young arriving in the middle of the penalty area to fire low and hard past Coleman to level for a second time.
The referee brought the match to a close before Invicta had the chance to kick off again. The teams made their way to the centre circle with penalties to be taken at the Cricket Ground End of the stadium.
The visitors struck first with a kick high into the top corner, Ira Jackson Responded with a carbon copy of his earlier kick, with the keeper this time going the right way but unable to get to it.
Haringey struck their second again to Coleman’s right before Holness responded by sending the keeper the wrong way to level at 2-2.
It was the 3rd penalties that proved decisive at Figueira stepped up and hit his kick against the underside of the bar, bouncing down behind the line and back up onto the bar to many gasps of anguish from behind the goal before Scott Heard saw Collins push his kick away to give Haringey the advantage.
Coleman was sent the wrong way for the visitors’ 4th leaving them at match point with Ade Cole then sending the keeper the wrong way to keep the shootout alive an forcing Haringey to score their 5th.
And it was substitute Alphanso Kennedy who made it 5 out of 5 to send Haringey into the 1st Round and end Invicta’s FA Trophy run at the first hurdle.
Invicta’s Man of the Match, selected by match sponsors Folkestone Invicta Supporters Club was goalscorer Ira Jackson Jr.