First Team
Isthmian League Premier Division Tue 26 December Alcaline Stadium
Folkestone Invicta
Hastings Utd

It was a Boxing Day to forget for Invicta as Hastings United ran out convincing winners to kick off the festive period.

Joe Coleman returned from injury to start in goal, while in front of him Chris Sessegnon made his debut at right back, Will Moses partnered captain Ian Gayle in the centre of defence with Toby Byron on the left of the back 4.

Former Hastings man Kane Penn moved into midfield alongside Seidou Sanogo and manager Andy Drury while the new-look front 3 of Ruben Soares-Junior, Tom Derry and Joe Boachie continued.

Callum Davies returned to the bench following suspension, alongside Ade Cole, Scott Heard, David Smith and Luke Watkins. Ira Jackson missed out with an ongoing injury.

Invicta’s afternoon got off to the worst possible start inside 3 minutes. A ball from 15 yards inside the Hastings half went over the top to find Freddie Legg who burst into the box and rolled it into the path of Davide Rodari who tapped home to open the scoring as he did when the sides met in the Velocity Cup earlier in the month.

The chance to respond came in the 11th minute as a Sanogo pass in behind the Hastings defence was controlled well by Boachie but the forward put his shot just wide of the post.

Invicta were swiftly punished just a minute later as Legg broke on the Hastings right and fired a low cross that deflected off the leg of Will Moses and onto the crossbar before dropping into the path of Rodari who netted his second from less than a yard out.

Invicta had another chance to respond just a minute later, a corner from Andy Drury was cleared and then returned back wide to the manager who delivered a second ball that dropped to Ian Gayle at the back post but Charlie Grainger made a good save to deny the Invicta defender.

Tommie Fagg saw an effort saved by the left leg of Coleman and fired another effort narrowly off target before Invicta had another sight of goal, Ruben Soares-Junior doing well to keep his balance following a challenge and beating a defender to shoot just wide from the edge of the penalty box.

Hastings winger John Ufuah had the final chance of the half as he won the ball and was then played in behind only to see Coleman tip his effort wide of the post.

Andy Drury made a change at the break, replacing midfielder Kane Penn with forward David Smith in an attempt to get Invicta back into the game, an attempt that was dealt a fatal blow within 3 minutes of the restart.

Kian Moynes ran in behind the Invicta defence and into the penalty area, heading wide of goal as Joe Coleman went to ground and took the ball but looked up to see the referee pointing to the spot for a penalty. Rodari stepped up to complete his hat-trick.

The 2nd half continued to mirror the 1st as Moynes was put through again in the 12th minute of the half and this time slipped the ball under Coleman to add to Invicta’s misery.

Hastings continued to pile on pressure; Tommie Fagg was denied again by Coleman from a tight angle while Rodari nearly grabbed his 4th with an acrobatic effort that flew just wide. The two then nearly combined with Fagg cutting the ball back towards Rodari but Sanogo made a vital interception to deny the former Crawley Town man a shot on goal.

With less than 20 minutes to go Ruben Soares-Junior picked up the ball in the Hastings half and saw off a number of challenges to get himself in a position to shoot from distance but his effort couldn’t match the set up. An injury to Ian Gayle then saw the captain replaced by Callum Davies as Invicta’s afternoon went from bad to worse.

Tom Derry was brought down by defender Sam Gale wide on the left, giving Drury the chance to deliver a set piece into the box. The ball was punch by Grainger and eventually cleared into the path of Toby Byron who unleashed a first time effort over the bar before being caught with a nasty challenge from Fagg. Despite the referee deeming there to have been no contact on Byron and awarding a goal kick, the left back was helped off the pitch and had to be replaced by midfielder Ade Cole, forcing a reshuffle of the Invicta defence. Joe Boachie was booked during the stoppage, presumably having spoken to the referee regarding the challenge.

The scoring was completed with 3 minutes to go as Fagg finished off a cross from the left from close range.

The referee shortly blew for full time on what was Invicta’s first Boxing Day defeat in over a decade, heading into a huge New Year weekend double-header against Hashtag United (h) and Margate (a) in need of much improvement.

Goalkeeper Joe Coleman was awarded man of the match by match sponsors the Invicta Meldrews, we thank them for their long and continued support.