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Defenders forced to join poor Ari in the dog-house as Folkestone slump to shock defeat in The Nightmare on Colston Avenue



Folkestone Invicta were involved in a high-scoring away game for the second time in as many weeks but this time went home empty-handed and with their tails between their legs after their visit for some six years to Carshalton Athletic on Saturday afternoon.

It was the second successive Saturday that Invicta had been involved in an eight-goal thriller in Surrey having won 6-2 at Walton & Hersham the previous Saturday.

And the Folkestone side have now scored at least three goals in six of their last seven Ryman League Division One South away matches.

But it was the uncharacteristic defensive mistakes for which their shell-shocked manager Neil Cugley and fans will remember this nightmare afternoon.

Invicta went 2-0 down at Colston Avenue as they conceded two goals in a four-minute spell from the quarter of an hour mark, only for Ashley Miller (pictured) to pull one goal back.

But goals either side of half time restored the home side’s two goal advantage.

Jordan Wright and Micheal Everitt scored to put Invicta right back into  the game before their top goalscorer Ian Draycott missed an open goal and The Robins completed the scoring with a hotly disputed stoppage time penalty.

Invicta had kept the same starting 11 that hit Walton & Hersham for six in their previous game.

The visitors had the game’s first chance when central defender Frankie Chappell headed over the game’s first corner taken by Ronnie Dolan from the left.

But it was the home side who opened the scoring in the 15th minute when Josh Vincent’s weak back pass let Sean O’TOOLE in down the left hand to slot the ball into the net.

And O’Toole then fired over two minutes later when right back Vincent again lost possession.

It was 2-0 in the 18th minute, however, when Ricardo Panton raced past left back Nat Blanks on the right and his cross was met by a deft touch from big striker Austin GACHERU in the middle.

Invicta responded as Matt Newman shot narrowly wide from just outside the penalty area after receiving the ball from Miller two minutes later.

Panton got in behind blanks again after a 23rd minute Clarke ball down the right but this time Gacheru could not guide it into the net.

Invicta made it 2-1 in the 31st minute when MILLER curled a beauty into the far corner of the net after Newman’s pass to the left side of the penalty area.

It was a second goal in two starts for 20-year-old Miller since his recent move from Hythe Town.

The momentum was now with the visitors as Newman found Blanks down the left hand side and the latter’s good ball in was met by the jumping Richard Atkins who could not guide his header goal bound.

There were three chances in a row in the 34th minute as home goalkeeper Jack Eden saved a low Newman shot and then denied Draycott from close range, with Chappell then unable to find the target.

A big moment in the game followed in the 36th minute when Draycott (right) was unceermoniously brought down by home captain Adriano Moraes well inside the penalty area but only a free kick on the edge of the box was awarded by unimpressive referee Bloor and Miller fired wastefully over the bar.

And Carshalton went 3-1 up in the 42nd minute when Brendan MURPHY-McVEY blasted home a well-struck shot after Friend’s poor clearance fell to him after an initial move also involving Panton, Clarke, Gacheru and O’Toole.

Invicta’s defence had been at sixes and sevens at times and goalkeeper Tim Roberts’ attempted clearance after a Blanks backpass a minute later cannoned off Panton who had closed him down and nearly looped in before a free kick was awarded to avert the danger.

The visitors brought Wright on for Dolan at half time and the substitute was to have a very good second half.

But Invicta soon shot themselves in the foot yet again right at the start of the second half. There were only 16 seconds on the clock after the re-start when an underhit Chappell backpass put the visitors in danger again but Roberts came out to deny Gacheru at the expense of the home side’s first corner of the afternoon.

And it was from the subsequent setpiece that it became 4-1 as Murphy-McVey’s ball in from the left evaded the goalkeeper and was headed in by defender Jarrell GRAY.

Wright then shot across goal in the 49th minute as he led the Invicta fight back.

It was WRIGHT (pictured left) who made it 4-2 in the 57th minute when he put the rebound in after Miller crashed a fierce shot against the post after Draycott had pulled the ball back.

The lively Wright was involved again in the 62nd minute as his cross from the right was met by an Atkins header that did not have enough power to beat goalkeeper Eden.

Invicta reduced the arrears even further in the 65th minute when EVERITT headed in his first goal of the season from Newman’s well-flighted free-kick.

Home striker Gacheru had to leave the field with a head injury as the Robins clamoured for a penalty – and more - for Friend’s aerial challenge.

Invicta brought on Jon Pilbeam for Atkins in the 77th minute and the substitute put in a dangerous ball from the right a minute later that was somehow put wide by Draycott from the edge of the six yard area after Everitt had initially headed keeper Eden’s clearance upfield.

Eden then saved with his feet to deny Pilbeam in the 80th minute when Vincent crossed from the right to Blanks inside the penalty area.

Fullback Vincent and Wright combined again down the right two minutes later but defender Gray cleared the danger.

It seemed the home side had just about weathered the storm of Folkestone’s bid for unlikely glory as Murphy-McVey played a dangerous ball into the Invicta penalty area from the right hand side a minute later.

Home substitute Mickel Miller then received an 86th minute ball from Murphy-McVey and hit a well-struck shot just wide of the post after goalkeeper Roberts had come out of his penalty area to head the ball away following a forward pass towards Clarke.

Clarke then broke forward in the 88th minute and found home substitute Miller whose shot curled just wide of the far post.

Miller soon found Murphy-McVey who squared the ball to Clarke and the latter’s shot deflected off Vincent for a corner.

Invicta threw Chappell forward and put Newman alongside Friend at the heart of the defence.

And that led to an acrimonious end to the game as Clarke went down under what hapless referee Martin Bloor mistakenly believed to be contact by Newman and home captain MORAES completed the scoring with a stoppage time penalty.

Tempers flared as Newman angrily confronted his supposed victim Clarke at the final whistle.

It was hardly the way that the often stylish Newman would have wanted to mark his 100th appearance for the club.

The former Chatham player was booked for the ‘penalty’ incident and his reaction to it, joining Carshalton’s Clarke and Moraes and Invicta’s Chappell and Everitt in the referee’s notebook.

There had also been acrimony off the pitch before the game when Invicta mascot Ari the Great Dane was at first allowed into the ground, before  word came down from above that dogs were not to be admitted to the Colston Avenue ground – and then forced to wait outside the gates for some time.

The no-canines edict presumably came from the Robins’ owner/chairman Paul Dipre who yielded by allowing Ari in but thsomewhat conspicuously marched the docile beast and his owners Shaz and Paul Curd to a far  corner of the ground where they spent the entire game in the company of a slightly bemused and probably at least slightly embarrassed steward.

CARSHALTON ATHLETIC: Eden, Price (Miller 66), Hamilton-Downes, Gray, Moraes, Males, Panton, Clarke, Gacheru (Moore 72), Murphy-McVey (Higgs 90), O’Toole  

Subs not used: Korboa, Young 

FOLKESTONE INVICTA: Roberts, Vincent, Blanks, Friend, Chappell, Newman, Miller, M. Everitt, Draycott, Atkins (Pilbeam 76), Dolan (Wright 45)

Subs not used: Fedor, Edge  

Attendance: 174

Pictured below: Micheal Everitt climbs high to head Invicta closer at 4-3