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Atkins the scourge of Hythe again as Invicta complete a comfortable double in big Shepway derby at Reachfields



Folkestone Invicta completed the league double over neighbours Hythe Town as goals from Frankie Chappell and Richard Atkins (pictured) gave Neil Cugley’s side a comfortable victory at Reachfields on Easter Monday afternoon.

Goalscorers Chappell and Atkins, who travelled down to the game together, were both on the scoresheet as Invicta made it 100 Ryman League Division One South goals so far this season.

Faversham are the only other club in the division to have reached a century of goals in R1S so far during 2014/15 and ended the day leading Invicta only goals scored with the two clubs being level on goal difference.

The battle for runners up spot is now likely to go the final day of the season as both clubs can now expect a home play off semi- final on Tuesday April 28 against either Merstham or Whyteleafe.

With Ashley Miller (groin) missing out against his former club, Folkestone kept the same starting eleven that had won 1-0 at home to Chipstead on Good Friday.

It was an open start to the game at Reacfhields as Hythe captain James Morrish blocked Jordan Wright’s effort when Atkins pulled the ball back in the second minute.

And and an acrobatic Craig Thompson shot at the other end finished up well just seconds later.

A fifth minute Atkins shot was blocked by former Ashford Town youth team defender Laurence Harvey when Chappell played the ball up to Ian Draycott, while Thompson couldn’t quite force his way through a crowded Invicta area three minutes later as ex-Invicta player Josh Burchell sent over the first corner of the game from the right.

A well-struck 11th minute 25-yarder from well-travelled Hythe striker Shaun Welford flew a couple of yards wide when ex-Faversham fullback Sam Bewick’s ball forward was only partially cleared.

It continued to be end-to-end as Hythe’s ex-Invicta goalkeeper Roddy Hayward got down to save Wright’s 20-yard shot on  14 minutes.

Hythe broke on the quarter of an hour mark when Bewick intercepted Draycott’s intended pass to Nat Blanks but the subsequent shot was easily blocked by Invicta captain Liam Friend.

For the visitors, the ball fell to striker Atkins inside the box two minutes later but the solid Hayward saved blocked well and big defender Joe Kennett cleared before Draycott could pounce on the loose ball.

Visiting goalkeeper Tim Roberts, who was making his 100th appearance for the Folkestone club claimed possession easily when a deflected shot from former Invicta player Michael Yianni posed just a wee bit of danger.

Attack-minded right back Bewick then headed harmlessly wide at the far post after a good 28th minute ball in from Welford.

Invicta broke the deadlock in the 34th minute after a handball decision against Kennett when Matt Newman’s free kick from the left of the penalty area was easily headed home by the excellent CHAPPELL (left).

Hythe’s defence had to re-organise during first half stoppage time when they lost one-time Folkestone defender Phil Stevenson to injury.

Town’s ex-Faversahm forward Luke Harvey became the first booking in this season’s two Shepway derbies for a 48th minute foul on Wright.

But Hayward got down to make a good save from Draycott’s subsequent free kick.

The home side were unlucky in the 50th minute when  Thompson’s fiercely struck 20-yard blast came back off the crossbar.

Tim Dixon’s side had twice stuck the uprights twice in Boxing Day’s 1-0 defeat away to Invicta and seemed only able to hit the woodwork again again in this return fixture.

Hythe rallied during the second half and had a big chance in the 56th minute when a Welford ball in from the left found Jordan but the latter could only shoot tamely, and straight at Roberts.

Invicta were themselves close with a glancing Micheal Everitt header after a 63rd minute Ronnie Dolan corner against one if his former clubs. 

Folkestone made the game safe on  74 minutes when Hayward blocked Draycott’s attempt to connect from a fine through pass by Wright and ATKINS coolly made space and seized his moment to shoot into the far corner of the net from the right hand side of the penalty area.

It had been Atkins who had scored Invicta’s winning goal in the Boxing Day derby at The Fullicks Stadium and the whole-hearted striker seems to have a liking for these Shepway derbies!

Jordan hit a 76th minute free kick from just outside the penalty area over Roberts’ crossbar after a foul on Thompson but there was no way back for the home side.

Home captain Morrish was booked for a bad 82nd minute challenge on Newman as Town’s players became increasingly frustrated at their side’s inability to compete with their local rivals.

Ashis Tamang, 16, was named on the Invicta substitutes’ bench for the first time at senior level.

The declared 804 attendance was strangely exactly the same as on Invicta’s previous Easter Monday visit to Reachfields in 2012 – a game that also resulted in a 2-0 win for Invicta when Burchell, now of Hythe, and Darren Marsden, last heard of at Ashford United, scored the goals.

Invicta secretary Richard Murrill and supporter Keith Dobson made a return sponsored walk between Folkestone and Hythe, raising cash for two charities - Beauty and CRY (Cardiac Reserch for the Young).

HYTHE TOWN: Hayward, Bewick, Burchell, Stevenson (Wells 45), Kennett, Harvey, Yianni (Philpott 82), Morrish, Welford, Thompson, Jordan. Subs not used: Conlon, Carr, Eason 

FOLKESTONE INVICTA: Roberts, Vincent, Blanks, Friend, Chappell, Newman, Wright, Dolan, Draycott, Atkins, M Everitt. Subs not used: Pilbeam, Edge, Palmer, Tamang, Fender.  

Attendance: 804

Corners: Hythe 4 Invicta 8