Invicta fell to a first defeat of 2024 on Tuesday evening on a night where set pieces dominated in Essex.
Having been unbeaten in 4 matches since the turn of the year, Invicta made the trip to Canvey Island, who had won both fixtures between the sides last season.
Manager Andy Drury made 3 changes to his starting XI as he juggles the side during a busy period. Jordon Ababio, Dean Rance and Louis Collins came in to replace Toby Byron, Scott Heard and David Smith.
As high winds blew around the Movie Starr Stadium, the first clue as to how the night would unfold came after just 6 minutes. Canvey goalkeeper Sam Jackson came to claim a corner from Ade Cole but with the ball moving in the air he appeared to have slightly misjudged how far he would have to come and was forced to retreat slightly as he jumped with Jason Fregene, coming down off balance and falling into his own net. The referee was quick to blow for a free kick and deny Invicta an early lead.
The host had their first sight of goal shortly after in the 12th minute as Invicta were beaten by a ball over the top but Joe Coleman flew to his right to turn an effort from the edge of the box around the post for a corner.
Invicta were a whisker away from opening the scoring in the 20th minute as the ball bounced loose to Ade Cole 30 yards from goal, the midfielder turning and striking his half volley first time only to see it thunder back off the post.
Just a few minutes later Invicta were punished. A corner from the right reaching the back post where it was turned back across the 6 yard box to be flicked home by Bradley Sach, his 5th goal against Invicta in 3 games for Canvey.
Both sides toiled in the conditions and it wasn’t until the 42nd minute that either had an effort on goal as Dean Rance took aim from a similar position to Ade Cole’s earlier effort, if not a little closer to goal, forcing a good save from Jackson. Canvey failed to adequately clear the ball and it was turned back in to Tom Derry who forced a good save from a tight angle.
Invicta would not be denied a 3rd time. Scott Heard’s corner’s flicked on by Fregene before falling to Jake Goodman at the back post, the big defender scrambling the ball over the line for his second goal for the club to level the score.
Rance had one final effort from distance before the break as he came onto a squad pass from Cole over 25 yards from goal but this time fired wide.
Invicta came out for the second half with Toby Byron replacing Jordon Ababio in defence.
Canvey had the first effort of the second half from a direct free kick on 51 minutes. Rance chested the ball down went to ground to clear it, an attacker falling over the ball and the Invicta midfielder and winning the foul. Coleman parried the free kick away.
Invicta had one of their own just 3 minutes later, Ade Cole’s effort heading goal-bound before being punched clear by a man in the wall, unfortunately it went unseen by any of the officials and Invicta were denied the penalty.
Just after the hour mark Canvey almost took the lead from a corner that the wind caught but took just over the crossbar.
At the halfway point of the 2nd half the crucial moment of the evening began as Canvey were awarded a free kick when Ade Cole and a Canvey player came together off the ball, the man in yellow tripping over Cole’s feet. The free kick was unleashed from some 40 yards by Sam Higgins but a deflection took it over.
The corner from the right gin caught in the wind as it cleared everybody and struck the far post, Invicta scrambled it clear but only as far as Charlie Edwards who fired high into the net.
Drury sent on Scott Heard and David Smith in an attempt to get the goal that would keep Invicta’s unbeaten run in tact but it wasn’t to be. Seidou Sanogo fired wide a free kick in the dying embers of the 90 minutes before the final chance fell to Fregene from a corner deep into injury time, the defender thundering a header against the cross bar. Canvey got the ball clear and the referee called time, strangely nearly a minute before the 6 that he had indicted had been played, must to the annoyance to travelling players and supporters alike.
Having picked up 4 points from 3 away fixtures in a row Invicta now return to the Alcaline Stadium for back to back home games, firstly the visit of Carshalton Athletic on Saturday before champions elect Hornchurch visit on Tuesday night.