First Team
Isthmian League Premier Division Sun 24 March Hayes Lane
Cray Wanderers
Folkestone Invicta
  • Smith (30')

Invicta returned from London with all 3 points on Sunday afternoon as a single goal from David Smith was enough to secure a win over Cray Wanderers at Hayes Lane.

With Bromley hosting York City on Saturday, Invicta’s final trip to face The Wands at the ground that has been their home since 1998 was pushed back by 24 hours, Invicta’s first Sunday fixture since a trip to Hythe Town on Boxing Day 2015.

Manager Andy Drury was blessed with a full squad to select from, opting for just a single change from Tuesday night’s defeat away to Cheshunt as Seidou Sanogo came into the side in place of Toby Byron to facilitate a change of shape for Invicta.

On the bench meanwhile, Cameron Brodie joined the squad for the first time having signed on a dual registration with SCEFL side Snodland Town. Cameron spent time working with Drury at both Cray Wanderers and Margate, spending time on loan at both clubs from Dartford, and has also featured for Ashford United, Chatham Town and Phoenix Sports.

Before kick off there was a minutes applause for former Cray Wanderers secretary Kerry Phillips who passed away recently.

Both teams participate in a minutes applause for Kerry Phillips before kick off

As Hayes Lane bathed in the spring sunshine, it took 15 minutes for the first opening of the afternoon. Jason Fregene picked off a wayward pass 15 yards inside the Invicta half and drove up the pitch before finding Seidou Sanogo on the left, the midfielder curling an effort beyond the far pot.

Sanogo was afforded another chance to score a spectacular effort 10 minutes later as Cray Wanderers keeper Shaun Rowley came a long way to clear a ball in behind but hit it straight to the Invicta man. Luckily for the hosts Cameron Black was alive to the danger and dropped back quickly to head Sanogo’s effort off the line for a corner.

Invicta finally struck just seconds after the half hour mark. A long kick from Kai McKenzie-Lyle was headed down and found its was to Tom Kavanagh who hurdled a challenge to drive into a wide right position and deliver a cross towards Tom Derry in the box, the ball dropping to the feet of David Smith whose effort struck a defender to wrong foot Rowley on its way into the net.

David Smith fires home the game’s only goal after 30 minutes

Shortly after taking the lead Invicta were forced into a first change of the afternoon as Tom Kavanagh fell awkwardly, bringing down Sam Wood as he carried the ball out of defence and dislocating his shoulder in the process. Tom was shown a yellow card as he left the field to be replaced by Cameron Brodie, making his Invicta debut a little earlier in the afternoon the he may have anticipated.

Invicta lead at the break and started the second half quickly as more chances fell Smith’s way. Within minutes of the restart Tom Derry clipped a ball back from the byline onto Smith’s head but his effort dropped wide of the far post.

The hosts finally began to create chances of their own, a shot across goal and a back post header both failing to hit the target and force a save from McKenzie-Lyle.

The net chance to fall Smith’s way came 10 minutes after the restart as he latched onto a long diagonal ball from Callum Davies but his low, driven, right foot shot was saved by Rowley.

It was a ball from Brodie that next released Smith, this time turning his defender inside and out, entering the box with his shirt in danger of being ripped off his back but he remained on his feet and did well to get a shot off but failed to hit the target as cries came from teammates, the dugout and the terraces for what appeared a nailed on penalty.

Invicta would not be left to rue that decision as McKenzie-Lyle’ goal remained relatively untested for the remainder of the afternoon, a simple save from a speculative effort proving the be the most work the keeper would have to do.

The referee brought the afternoon to a close shortly before 5pm as Invicta made it 3 wins from 4 games, lifting us up to 16th above Canvey Island ahead of the Easter weekend double header: Lewes at the Alcaline Stadium on Good Friday before Hastings United away on Easter Monday.