First Team
Isthmian League Premier Division Fri 29 March Alcaline Stadium
Folkestone Invicta
  • Sanogo (7')
  • Derry (26', 53')

Invicta kicked off the Easter weekend with a Good Friday win over playoff chasing Lewes at the Alcaline Stadium.

Sun bathed the pitch at Cheriton Road as the two sides stepped out onto it. Andy Drury had a full squad to choose from apart from lone Tom Kavanagh who dislocated his shoulder in a fall at Cray Wanderers on Sunday. Tom dropped out to be replaced, as he was at Cray Wanderers, by Cameron Brodie who made his 1st start for the club having signed on a dual registration. Jordon Ababio filled the Kavanagh-shaped hole in the matchday squad, returning from his loan at Ashford United to take a place on the bench.

Lewes kicked us off for the afternoon with Invicta attacking the Remland Stand end of the ground and it took little over 5 minutes for Tom Derry to head the first chance of the match into the stand as he met an Eddie Allsopp corner at the near post. Smith the latched onto a Derry flick-on from a Jason Fregene throw but fired his effort wide as Invicta continued to build momentum.

Lewes are knock for their football style but it was that that proved to being their downfall in the 7th minute. Goalkeeper Nathan Harvey was put under pressure with the ball at his feet and kicked the ball into touch. From the throw Eddie Allsopp worked the ball back to Michael Kedman who found Seidou Sanogo in space out side the box, the Invicta midfielder carrying the ball inside and driving a shot at the near post that Harvey may well feel he should have done better with, but the ball beat him and Invicta had a reward for their fast start with Sanogo’s 6th for the club in 17 appearances.

Seidou Sanogo is mobbed by his teammates after giving Invicta the lead against Lewes

Within 90 seconds Invicta were in again, a long kick from Kai McKenzie-Lyle putting Smith through on goal but Invicta’s 10 fired his effort just wide of the near post. Moments later Smith chested a ball into the path of Sanogo but the goalscorer was unable to get his first touch right to allow him to run clean through on goal for a 2nd.

Then in the 13 minute Invicta were punished for those early missed chances as Lewes struck against the run of play. Pacey winger Ola Ogunwamide managed to get himself around right back Jason Fregene, his first cut back blocked by Brodie but the luck came his way as he was able to stab the ball into Tyrese Briscoe, Fregene and Callum Davies both putting they body on the line to block a first then second effort before it fell to Ryan Gondoh who shot into the ground, the ball looping up and over everybody inside the Invicta penalty area and just inside McKenzie-Lyle’s post.

The equaliser had given Lewes some confidence and they gained a foothold into the game in the minutes thereafter but Invicta steadied and a Tom Derry flick on was cleared as far as Allsopp who fired wide from the edge of the box after 18 minutes.

The game would not remain level for long. Dean Rance won the ball back on halfway to begin the move, giving the ball to Sanogo who found Kedman on the left, the fullback’s cross finding Smith in far too much space at the back post. Harvey got a right boot to Smith’s finish that sent the ball onto the post but Derry reacted quickest, getting to the loose ball ahead of both Jake Elliott and Ronnie Vint, one of which sent the shot back into the Invicta man before it ricocheted into the empty net.

Tom Derry is congratulated by teammates after restoring Invicta’s lead against Lewes

His tail up, Derry sniffed an ambitious sight of goal just after the half hour mark as a header from Sanogo bounced nicely for him to strike on the half volley, his effort leaving Harvey rooted to the spot but dropping just over the crossbar.

Moments later Harvey was scrambling as a throw from Kedman up the left to Sanogo allowed the midfielder to turn around the corner of the penalty area, unleashing an effort that narrowly missed the top corner and the Lewes keeper flew helplessly through the air.

Tempers began to rise with the halftime interval in sight as Invicta were not given 2 free kicks in the attacking third, firstly for a handball and then for a foul as Derry was bundled over, before Lewes were awarded a soft free kick in a dangerous area.

The real moment of controversy came in the final minute of the half. Ogunwamide fed a ball into Gondoh that he turned into the path of the very clearly offside Briscoe with his first touch. The assistant referee had his flag up immediately for all to see but, having not yet taken a first touch Briscoe withdrew from the ball that was under his feet and allowed Gondoh to regain possession, the forward running clear and rolling across the 6 yard box for Ogunwamide to roll into and empty net as Invicta protested and fans vented their fury. After over a minute of discussion between the referee and his assistant the goal was disallowed and Invicta awarded the free kick for offside.

After restarting, Invicta saw out the rest of injury time to head in with a 2-1 advantage at the break.

5 minutes into the second half Invicta created a first opening as Smith controlled a clearance on halfway with his back to goal, laying off to Allsopp who delivered a perfect ball over the top for Derry to run onto. Inivcta’s 9 appeared to be clear through but went down after getting what looked like an arm in the back from Elliott, but all protests were waved away.

Derry was given a free kick 10 yards inside the Lewes half just seconds later which Allsopp delivered, a Lewes head getting to the ball first to send it high into the air before dropping to Sanogo who attempted an ambitious backwards header that went wide.

Having clearly not heeded the warning of Derry’s run through their defence moments earlier, Lewes were punished. This time it was Brodie who played a long ball over the top to the defence, but this time no white shirt could get near Derry before he rolled the ball under the onrushing Harvey and into the net from 20 yards.

Tom Derry celebrates with the corner flag after scoring his second against Lewes

Invicta had the ball in the net again just second later but Smith was clearly offside as he ran onto a ball from Derry before squaring to Brodie to finish.

Smith continued to search for a deserved goal just before the hour mark as he cut inside from the right and twisted Elliott inside and out, leaving the defender on the floor as he fired off his effort that went just wide of the near post into the netting, making some inside the Alcaline Stadium think it had sneaked in.

The other side of the hour mark Invicta were given a warning as Callum Davies made himself the hero, Lewes substitute Walter Figueira turning a cross to the back post on target but unable to beat the Invicta defender.

Smith’s relentless hard work was on show again as he chased down what appeared to be a lost cause to reach a ball from Allsopp before it headed out for a goal kick. Smith laid the ball back for Kedman to deliver and headed into the box where he connected with Derry’s header back across goal but could not get high enough to put it on target.

In the 77th minute Andy Drury turned to his bench as Smith and Brodie departed to applause from every corner of the Alcaline Stadium, with Louis Collins and Jordon Ababio entering the field.

With 10 minutes to play Lewes substitute Bradley Pritchard was the first name into the referee’s book after putting a foot in on McKenzie-Lyle who had just made a routine save.

Will Moses replaced Eddie Allsopp with 2 minutes to play as Lewes began to find some late pressure. In the final minute a Figueira shot was blocked for a corer which was then headed just over the top corner at the near post.

In injury time McKenzie-Lyle was forced into a couple of good saves to maintain Invicta’s 2-goal advantage. The first down load to his left to deny Pritchard before Ogunwamide hit a shot from distance moments later.

Invicta saw out the final seconds with Kedman and Sanogo keeping the ball in the corner but the dressing rooms and the referee’s whistle, after just over 100 minutes of football, was met by a roar from the open terrace as Andy Drury’s side notched a 4th win in 5 games to leave us closer to the playoffs (15 points) than the bottom 4 (16 points) as we head into an Easter Monday trip to Hastings United followed by Horsham’s visit to the Alcaline Stadium next Saturday.

Unsurprisingly Tom Derry was selected as Man of the Match by our match sponsors Andy Graphix Ltd

Tom Derry rewarded for his 2 goals against Lewes as he is presented with his Man of the Match award