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First home defeat of the season in cracking cup-tie after groundstaff work wonders to get playing surface fit for kick-off



Folkestone Invicta went out of the FA Trophy as they lost Tuesday night’s Second Qualifying Round replay at home to Burgess Hill Town at a very wet Fullicks Stadium.

Torrential evening rain meant that the game could easily have been called off but referee Paul Johnson deicded to go ahead with kick-off delayed until 8pm to allow the pitch to dry put and the rain eventually stopped.

Following Saturday’s goalless draw at Burgess Hill, there was always a scenario where a single goal could settle the issue between these evenly matched sides.

The all important goal came in the 69th minute when young striker Dann PERRY turned home captain Liam Friend, took the ball on and fired past goalkeeper Tim Roberts and into the net as Invicta protested in vain for handball.

Perry had been one of two changes in the Burgess Hill starting line up as he and Lee Harding came in for Rob O’Toole and the Hull City bound Greg Luer.


Invicta also had two make two enforced changes as Darren Smith (a former Burgess Hill player) again came out of semi-retirement for Matt Newman (unwell), whlle Micheal Everitt was again also missing because of famly reasons from the centre of midfield.

Youth team captain Callum Wraight started in place of Joe Taylor (back) whom he had replaced before half time on Saturday.

The game was to follow a similar pattern to the first tie as Burgess Hill had the better of the first half before Invicta came out stronger during the second half, although it was the visitors who were to score what proved the only goal of the game after the interval.

It was a match of corners aplenty – with 22 in total (11 each side) – and the first came in the fifth minute when Friend got back to put the ball out after Perry had played it in from the right towards captain Darren Budd.

Invicta gained their first corner of the night three minutes later when Jordan Wright took the ball down well after a Paul Booth touch and forced a save from visiting goalkeeper Josh James.

Burgess Hill had two chances in the 14th minute as Lee Harding headed wide after a cross from the right and Perry's shot from the right was saved at his near post for a corner by Roberts.

The visitors gave the ball away on the quarter of an hour mark and Ian Draycott played the ball to Booth but for once the two strikers were not on the same wavelength for the return pass.

Right back Neil Watts then fired over from distance for the Hillians.

Draycott headed a Jon Pilbeam cross from the right wide when Wraight spread the play from the left on the half hour mark.

There were chances at both ends in the 33rd minute as Frankie Chappell met a deep Smith free kick from the left but James saved comfortably and Perry won another corner after breaking down the right hand side.

Pilbeam broke down the right for Invicta in the 39th minute but his shot was blocked for a corner by Budd, while at the other end a Budd shot was blocked for a corner by Nat Blanks three minutes later.

The first half corner count of 8-2 in Burgess Hill’s favour reflected the visitors’ territorial advantage in the first half.

But Invicta again looked more dangerous after half time as Booth headed an inviting Pilbeam cross from the right wide in a move that also involved Josh Vincent and Draycott.

Burgess Hill were close to a breakthrough in the 62nd minute but Watts’ header hit his own team mate Lee Harding close to the line after a corner from the right.

Smith then took the ball past goalkeeper James at the other end but was crowded out after the midfielder had himself started a move also involving Wright and Draycott.

But Perry’s goal was soon to prove decisive and took Burgess Hill through to a home Third Qualifying Round tie against Leatherhead.

Invicta responded as a well-struck Booth shot was palmed away by James after the striker had combined with Wright, while Watts then hit a clean shot over the crossbar from the right hand side after receiving the ball from substitute O’Toole.


There was a potentially big moment in the 74th minute when the ball was played through the middle to give Perry a one-on-one chance to strike again but Roberts came out to make a vital save.

But the closing 15 minutes was all Invicta as they went all-out in search of an equaliser.

Smith and Pilbeam played Vincent in down the right in the 77th minute but the right back’s cross was headed over by a defender from close to the line.

Invicta’s Wright then became the game’s only booking for a foul after the subsequent corner had been cleared.

Goalkeeper James was to be outstanding in the final ten minutes, making three excellent saves in the 80th minute alone.

First James denied Blanks from close range when strikers Booth and Draycott combined to create a good opening after a Smith free kick.

James then did well to deny Chappell and then went one better to keep out a Booth header at the far post.

The home side were now three at the back with central defender Chappell now up front and goalkeeper Roberts eager to join the attack at corners but instructed to stay back.

Booth curled an 83rd minute shot over from the left hand side as time was running out for the home side.

Draycott then found Pilbeam on the right in the 87th minute but Joe Keehan threw himself at the subsequent ball in to concede another corner.

But Burgess Hill held on for victory and have still lost just one competitive fixture so far this season, away to Conference side Dartford in the Fourth Qualifying Round of the FA Cup.

FOLKESTONE INVICTA: Roberts, Vincent, Blanks, Friend, Chappell, Wraight, Wright, Pilbeam, Draycott, Booth, Smith

Unused subs: Taylor, Fedor, Palmer, Fender 

BURGESS HILL TOWN: James, Watts, Pointing, Budd (O’Toole 67 mins), Pearson, Miles, Kirkwood, Keehan, P Harding, Perry, L Harding (Tuck 88 mins)

Unused subs: Cunliffe, Bowra, Morrish

Attendance: 171.

Corners::Folkestone 11 Burgess Hill 11

Above: Head groundsman Gary Towse and his helpers earned praise from all around to getting this excellent cup-tie on (Pics: Don Linkin)