First Team
Isthmian League Premier Division Sat 17 February TerraPura Ground
  • Walker (70', 79', 90+1')
Folkestone Invicta
  • Allsopp (57')
  • Smith (67')

Manager Andy Drury was left wondering how his side left Sussex without even a point on Saturday as Invicta took a 2-goal lead but were eventually beaten by a stoppage time penalty at The Enclosed Ground.

Whitehawk’s Enclosed Ground

Invicta came into the fixture having not played in 11 days following the previous week’s postponement against Potters Bar Town, so legs were fresh but Drury’s squad was left stretched by absentees. Seidou Sanogo served his 1-match ban following his sending off against Cray Wanderers while Toby Byron continued his ban picked up against Hornchurch. Midfielders Ade Cole and Dean Rance were unavailable while Ian Gayle picked up a knock in training.

The absentees meant that Invicta would include 2 academy players in the squad for the first time; goalkeeper Dan Kennedy and forward Kian Scott. Andy Drury also named himself along with Louis Collins and a 2nd goalkeeper Joe Coleman who continued to struggle with an injury picked up in the win at Billericay.

On the pitch that meant Kai McKenzie-Lyle remained in goal while Jake Goodman returned to the defence alongside Jason Fregene and Callum Davies. Chris Sessegnon returned to action on the right with Michael Kedman on the left, allowing Kane Penn to move into the midfield alongside Will Moses, returning from his loan spell at Ashford United, and Eddie Allsopp, while David Smith and Tom Derry continued their partnership top.

Invicta line up ahead of kick off

Invicta kicked off, playing down a significant slope in the 1st half. The hosts had the ball in the net in the opening minutes but the linesman had long had his flag up for an offside from the set piece. Meanwhile David Smith and Eddie Allsopp had both curled left footed efforts just wide of Mitch Walker’s post.

Kane Penn was first to force a save in the 13th minute as a free kick was cleared to the edge of the box, the Invicta man’s dipping strike well saved by the goalkeeper.

Moments later Smith went close again but fired just wide from an Invicta counter attack.

Walker had to be at his very best in the 26th minute as Whitehawk failed to deal with Invicta pressure, the right back having 1 shot blocked before a 2nd took a deflection but was kept out of the bottom corner by another superb save from Mitch Walker who got down to his right.

McKenzie-Lyle was tested for the 1st time in the 38th minute as he pushed a header from Charlie Walker away for a corner.

The sides headed into the dressing rooms with Invicta left wondering how they had not scored and whether things might change going uphill in the second half.

The second period began less lively than the first but sprang into life in the 57th minute. Whitehawk gave away possession in the middle of the pitch and Invicta strange quickly, with David Smith feeding Eddie Allsopp who fired a low effort across the goalkeeper and into the bottom corner, his 1st goal for the club.

10 minutes later it was 2. Tom Derry beat his defender to the ball and the ensuing tangle was adjudged to be a foul by the referee who pointed to the spot. Smith stepped up to fire the spot kick to the keeper’s left, Mitch Walker getting a hand to it but unable to keep it out, Smith’s on the scoresheet for the 3rd match in a row.

Tom Derry is fouled in the box
David Smith scores from the spot

While the inebriated travelling support on the stand at the north end of the ground may have thought Invicta were heading to a comfortable 3 points, Whitehawk had other ideas. Just 3 minutes after Smith’s penalty the host’s 3 Charlies Lambert, Harris & Walker combined with the latter finding the finish to halve the deficit.

The game was suddenly end to end with chances appearing for both sides. Kane Penn bent an effort just wide of the post before Rob O’Toole forced a superb block from Fregene.

Invicta then should have killed the game off as the ball fell to Tom Derry in the penalty area but Mitch Walker made himself big to deny Invicta’s number 9, Eddie Allsopp following up but was also foiled by the keeper.

Derry then got himself onto the end of a Fregene cross at the near post, his first touch taking him into space but his second poking the ball just wide under Mitch Walker.

We were swiftly punished for our missed chances as Whitehawk found an equaliser, McKenzie-Lyle doing well to parry a vicious effort from distance only for Charlie Walker to finish off from a tight angle.

There was always still a goal left in the game. Smith received the ball to chest in a central position outside the area, spinning and hitting a volley that flew just past the post. Whitehawk went up the other end and saw Imran Kayani blaze over from 12 yards.

Invicta introduced former Whitehawk forward Louis Collins for the final 5 minutes of the game, replacing Smith in attack, but the vital moment was to come at the other end. A cross from the right was controlled by O’Toole who was brought down by Fregene, the Invicta defender getting some of the ball but not enough for the referee who pointed to the spot. Charlie Walker stepped up to fire down the middle and win the game in injury time.

Invicta return from Sussex with plenty of positives from the performance but wondering how they managed to allow a 2-goal lead to slip and to come away with nothing, with manager Andy Drury looking to put things right on the training pitch this week ahead of the visit of Concord Rangers to the Alcaline Stadium on Saturday.