First Team
Isthmian League Premier Division Sat 6 January Alcaline Stadium
Folkestone Invicta
  • Sanogo (54')
Wingate & Finchley
  • Garrett-Douglas (10')

Andy Drury’s Invicta side continued to build on Monday’s win at Margate, making it 2 unbeaten at the start of 2024 with a point at home to high-flying Wingate & Finchley.

The manager named an unchanged XI from the New Year’s Day win at Hartsdown Park with the only changes coming on the substitutes bench as Ruben Soares-Junior, who was unavailable, and academy midfielder Brad Walledge made way for Ira Jackson to return from injury and new signing Jason Fregene who joined the club during the week from Hastings United.

Callum Davies lead out the Invicta side for the first time of 2024

With the sun poking out of the smallest gap within a cloudy sky, blinding all on the northern side of the Alcaline Stadium, David Smith kicked Invicta off attacking the Remland Stand.

The afternoon’s referee was called into action early on, giving Invicta a free kick following a challenge on Callum Davies that may have appeared soft with Anointed Chukwu clear through on goal in the 5th minute, seconds later the first booking of the afternoon at Ahmet Biler cut down Jordon Ababio on the right hand side as he broke away. From the resulting free kick Tom Derry headed just over the bar.

Invicta’s recent habit of conceding early goals struck once more in the 10th minute as Wingate took the lead. Alexander Solomon drove to the byline and did well to keep the ball in play, his cross headed away by Scott Heard but only as far as Rhama Garrett-Douglas whose left-footed volley struck the base of one post before dropping just inside the other.

Neither side managed to trouble the opposing goalkeeper for a period following the opening goal, Jordon Ababio looking Invicta’s most likely threat with his pace troubling Biler, but it was a hooked clearance from the Invicta wideman that sparked a bit of life into the home side for the final 10 minutes of the half, with David Smith driving at 2 defenders before being tripped by Wingate’s goalscorer Garrett-Douglas who was booked.

While Invicta had found some impetus and began to deliver crosses into the box, the visitors very nearly put themselves in a commanding position in injury time as Zack Newton beat the offside to go clean through on goal, only to find the long left leg of Joe Coleman in the way of his shot on goal before Jake Goodman blocked a second effort from Chukwu.

Invicta came out with more fire after half time and Smith collected a flick on from Derry to set up a shooting opportunity for Scott Heard but the midfielder was unable to catch the ball cleanly.

Ababio continued to threaten on the right against Biler as he collected a ball over the top and cut back to Smith who was challenged as he went for a first effort, saw a second blocked before laying the ball back to Heard whose effort from the edge of the area was deflected over.

Heard delivered the corner from the right and goalkeeper Ben Goode came but failed to claim with Callum Davies coming round the back but Invicta’s captain was just beaten to the ball by Chukwu who nodded it away.

8 minutes into the second half Sessegnon found himself high on the right hand side in support of Ababio and drew a foul from Chukwu that would prove decisive. Ade Cole delivered the ball from the right, David Smith met it in the middle of the penalty area and headed the ball towards goal and into the path of Seidou Sanogo who stretched to turn it inside the post before wheeling away to celebrate.

With less than half an hour to go Wingate thought they had retaken the lead, a shot from Newton fell into the path of Chukwu who finished well high into the near post but the number 9 had strayed offside.

With 66 minutes on the clock defender Jason Fregene came on to make his Invicta debut in place of Jordon Ababio who was suffering with illness, prompting a small reshuffle in the Invicta defence.

With both sides toiling on the difficult surface in search of a winner Andy Drury introduced Ira Jackson for the final 6 minutes in search of a breakthrough. Will Moses replaced Ade Cole moments later.

It wasn’t until stoppage time that both sides had chances to win the match. Wingate broke from an Invicta corner with Garrett-Douglas running through under pressure from Will Moses before Joe Coleman threw himself at the forward’s feet to take the ball. a minute later a long ball to the edge of the Wingate box was headed clear into the path of Scott Heard who unleashed from 30 yards but saw his effort fizz a whisker over the bar.

So both sides had to settle for a point, both continuing an unbeaten start to 2024 with Invicta moving a point clearer of Margate & Cheshunt below who both fell to defeat while Wingate maintained 4th place.

The match was sponsored as a happy birthday to Cyril Sinstead and our match sponsors selected goalscorer Seidou Sanogo as Man of the Match.