Joint head coach Roland Edge refuted suggestions that the match was “entertaining” on Tuesday evening as Invicta were left to rue missed chances against 10-man Potters Bar Town.
Invicta remained unchanged from the side that drew with Whitehawk 3 days earlier. Goalkeeper Joe Coleman returned to the squad after his absence in place of Luke Watkins on the bench while Micheal Everitt replaced Will Dempsey.
It was a bright start for the stripes and they were rewarded inside 6 minutes. An attempted clearance was closed down by Ira Jackson and the ball ricocheted into the path of Ibrahim Olutade who cooly finished beyond Preston Edwards in the Potters Bar goal to give Invicta the lead.
Invicta were given a warning in the 12th minute as a cross to the back post found an unmarked maroon shirt with Josh Strizovic making an initial save before the rebound was put wide from close range.
The warning was not heeded however as the hosts equalised just minutes later. Freddy Barton was beaten to a high bouncing ball by Potters Bar number 9 Brandon Adams who cut inside Ian Gayle and fired high into the net to level.
Adams struck again on the half hour mark to give Potters Bar the lead. Callum Davies was adjudged to have used his arm to control a bouncing ball just inside the box and the Potters Bar top scorer stepped up to send Strizovic the wrong way from the spot.
David Smith levelled for Invicta in the 37th minute as he timed his run to perfection to bet the offside trap and latch onto a long pass from Freddy Barton before taking the ball round Edwards and firing into an empty net from a tight angle.
Parity did not last long. Just 25 seconds after the restart Olutade was penalised for a challenge inside the box and Adams stepped up again to complete his hat trick in the 39th minute, sending Strizovic the wrong way for a second time.
Invicta pressed for an equaliser in the closing minutes of the first half with Jackson forcing a good save from Edwards at his near post but we went in behind at the break.
Invicta came out of the blocks well after the restart and a sweeping move from back to front and then left to right allowed Jackson to force another save from Edwards.
The keeper would not remain on the pitch for much longer as the game’s biggest talking point came just 5 minutes into the second half. Barton delivered another long pass in behind the defence, this time into the path of Olutade and Edwards came out of his box to deal with it, getting their first but rather awkwardly kicking across his body with his left foot to get a toe on the ball he caught the Invicta man. Despite protestations that he had clearly got the ball the referee showed no hesitation in dismissing the keeper, who was replaced in goal by left back Prosper Keto with no keeper on the bench.
It would take Invicta until the 65th minute to take advantage and level the scores. Ira Jackson saw a long throw headed back out to him before his cross was headed out the other side to Andy Durry who delivered first time onto the head of Ian Gayle to head home his first goal of the season.
With 25 minutes plus added time to find a winner most in attendance would have favoured Invicta to go on and win the match but Potters Bar stood firm. Freddy Barton fired over from a short corner before Scott Heard forced the first save from the stand-in keeper as he fired at goal from the edge of the box, his shot too close to Keto who pushed it over. Callum Davies then headed wide as he rose to meet a cross from deep.
Everitt and Edge threw caution to the wind as Andre Coker replaced Barton with Invicta going to a sort of 3-4-4 formation with just over 15 minutes to go.
Potters Bar nearly snatched the lead back as a corner to the back post evaded Strizovic but was thankfully headed wide.
Invicta continued to try and pick the lock as Jackson delivered a deep cross to the back post that found Coker who volleyed into the ground and over the crossbar with the goal at his mercy.
Coker then delivered a ball from the left that fell to Smith who spun and hit his short first time to force a very good save from Keto.
Jackson again delivered with his left foot from the right in injury time, Coker unable to get a head to it at the back post.
With over 104 minutes having been played across the 2 halves an Invicta corner was headed clear and the referee brought the evening to a close, Invicta travelling home with the feeling of missed chances and a missed opportunity to move into the playoffs on the night.