Invicta dusted off the Christmas cobwebs and got the new year off to a perfect start as a brace from David Smith sealed all 3 points for Andy Drury’s side to kick off 2024.
Invicta headed into a New Year’s Day trip to Hartsdown Park off the back of Saturday’s late defeat at home to Hashtag United while Margate had seen their Friday night trip to Cheshunt postponed.
Invicta arrived at Hartsdown Park with a familiar face returning to the squad, with winger Jordon Ababio’s loan at Faversham Town having come to an end and the 22 year old went straight into the Invicta side, lining up on the right side of a 5-man defence, alongside Saturday’s back 4.
Joe Coleman started in goal. The big stopper had not conceded in any of his 3 previous appearances against Margate, missing the 2 FA Cup ties earlier this season through work commitments.
Seidou Sanogo returned to the midfield alongside Scott Heard and Ade Cole while David Smith was deemed fit enough to start, partnering Tom Derry in attack fo the first time.
It was Invicta’s “Bagsman”, who had spent a period on loan at Margate last season from Bromley, who settled the match with 2 goals in the space of 5 minutes midway through the 1st half.
Just beyond the quarter of an hour mark a cross from Kane Penn on the left found Ababio in the box, the wideman caught by a defender as he tried to bring the ball under control. Smith put the ball on the spot and dispatched beyond Harry Seaden in the Margate goal.
In little time Invicta were 2 goals up, this time from the right. Derry headed a long ball down to Scott Heard on the right and Invicta’s number 7 found the perfect delivery onto the head of Smith, who saw his header saved by Seaden but it proved too hot for the Margate keeper and dropped into the bottom corner to double Invicta’s advantage.
Margate’s main threat always appeared to be from the set pice delivery of Ben Greenhalgh but Coleman’s goal was rarely under real threat in the first half and it was Smith who went closest to adding to the scoring as he looked for his hat-trick just before half time. Smith chested down a throw from the right on the edge of the box, turned and hit his effort first time but saw it fly narrowly wide of the far post.
With the New Year sun having set and the floodlights shining off the 3G pitch, Margate got us back underway with Invicta attacking the North end of the ground that is due for redevelopment starting next month.
It was at that end that the first chance of the 2nd half fell to Jordon Ababio, Scott Heard finding a pass into his path on the right side, the flying wide-man forced a good save from Harry Seaden high at his near post.
Tom Derry was next to see the whites of the ‘keeper’s eyes, David Smith slipping him into a similar position to Ababio’s chance but this time Seaden making a low save with his legs.
Smith’s afternoon was soon called to an end as he departed to an ovation from the travelling supporters, replaced by Ruben Soares-Junior.
Margate huffed and puffed and eventually forced a simple save from Coleman with a shot from distance from defender Lewis Knight.
Scott Heard became the 3rd Invicta player into the book with 8 minutes to go, following Callum Davies & Chris Sessegnon, but was immediately replaced by Will Moses, while Jordon Ababio departed for Joe Boachie with a few minutes remaining.
Greenhalgh’s threat from set pieces continued to look the most likely route to a goal for Margate, one late corner headed wide while another was headed off the line by Kane Penn, although it may have been heading just wide.
A final corner was headed clear at the near post by Will Moses and the referee brought proceedings to a close, Invicta kicking off 2024 with a 4th consecutive victory & clean sheet in the Isthmian League over their Kent rivals, taking Andy Drury’s side above The Gate, and Cheshunt, into 17th place.
— Folkestone Invicta (@FIFC) January 1, 2024