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 SCORE 4-3      GATE  467

DATE  18/01/20.

Video of Game click  HERE

Top goalscorer Ira Jackson scored a hat-trick, including two penalties, but Folkestone Invicta came away empty-handed as they relinquished 2-0 and 3-1 leads to go down to a late winner in a seven-goal thriller at Bognor Regis on Saturday afternoon.

Brad Lethbridge hit a 90th minute winner for Bognor after Matt Casey had brought The Rocks level at 3-3 in the 82nd minute at a sunny Nyewood Lane.

This was the sort of game that would have delighted the winning side and any neutrals but would have driven Invicta manager Neil Cugley to distraction. In many respects this was the performance the Folkestone club’s long-serving boss would have been looking for after two successive draws but Invicta were again unable to find a victory for a third successive Saturday in January 2020.

Invicta remain second in the BetVictor Isthmian League Premier Division but are now five points behind leaders Worthing.

The Folkestone club made three changes to the starting X1 that had drawn 1-1 at home to Hatringey Borough the previous weekend. Matt Newman returned to partner captain Callum Davies at the heart of the defence having gone off with a groin injury against Margate on Boxing Day, while there were changes further up the pitch as Kieron McCann came in for Johan Ter Horst and Jerson Dos Santos was on the substitutes’ bench for the first time since joining the club during the summer as Chinedu McKenzie made his full debut against one of his former clubs.

Bognor had the game’s first noteworthy attack within the opening minute as Tommy Leigh and Doug Tuck combined to find Lethbridge on the left whose ball into the box carried to Invicta goalkeeper Tim  Roberts before Mason Walsh could get a touch.

But Invicta opened the scoring in the eighth minute when Newman played the ball out to McCann on the right hand side whose ball into the box was slotted in by JACKSON who once had a spell with Bognor’s Sussex rivals Worthing.

Invicta attacked again in the 15th minute when a Davies ball found Jackson who cut in from the right hand side but this time shot tamely wide.

But the visitors soon increased their lead with their first penalty of the game as Newman received possession from defensive partner Davies and played another ball forward that sent McKenzie away who got their before Amadou Tangara and was brought down by the goalkeeper.  JACKSON stepped up to calmly convert the 17th minute penalty into the corner of the net.

There were chances at both ends in the 20th imnute as a Micheal Everitt touch allowed Ronnie Dolan to play a great ball forward to McCann on the left but the latter was denied by a good tackle by tall defender Casey.  Tuck then fired wide from just outside the penalty area at the other end seconds later when the ball came up to Dan Smith on the right hand side and his ball into the box was partially cleared by Nemwna.

Leigh recieved a throw in from home captain Harvey Whyte on the right hand side in the 22nd minute and the subsequent balll into the box was met by a Smith header that Invicta goalkeeper Roberts did well to push over the bar for the game’s first corner.

Lethbridge did well down the left hand side of the box after receiving the ball from James Crane in the 32nd minute when the ball across goal came off Roberts’ legs.

Invicta’s Scott Heard then received the ball from Davies in the 42nd minute and threaded it through towards McKenzie but the striker was well shepherded by Keaton Wood inside the penalty area and it carried to goalkeeper Tangara.

The home side pulled a goal back in the 44th minute when following a move down the left hand side the ball was threaded through to Smith but Roberts made a save, only for WALSH to volley in from close range.

You sensed that Bognor needed the lifeline of a goal back before half time to set up a second half revival. The Rocks are a good footballing side that likes to keep possession and will now have felt that a second half comeback was on, though you also felt that Invicta were likely to score again on the break.

Recent Invicta signing McKenzie is lacking match fitness and was repalced at half time with Dos Santos.

Dos Santos was soon involved as he received the ball from left back Nat Blanks and found striking partner Jackson who cut inside and fired wide of the post.

Roberts needed treatment as he came out to claim a through ball before a Bognor forward. The Invicta goalkeeper then made a good double save as he firstly kept out a well-struck Whyte shot from distance and then reacted quickly to claim the ball before anyone could put the rebound in

Goalkeeper Roberts then safely gathered a Walsh shot after the latter had combined with Lethbridge.

But Invicta restored their two-goal advantage with their second penalty of the afternoon when Jackson was fouled by a defender after he had combined with Dos Santos. It was JACKSON who stepped up again to make it 3-1 and complete his hat-trick from the spot in the 60th minute with his 20th goal of the season.

It was the first Invicta hat-trick since Jackson himself had hit a first half treble at home to Lewes last March.

Invicta broke again when McCann latched onto a ball out of defence but Tangara came out to claim.

Bognor reduced the deficit to one in the 67th minute when TURK made it 3-2 with a low shot from the edge of the penalty area after a ball into the Invicta penalty area had only been partially cleared.

The home side was now pushing for an equaliser but Invicta had half chances on the break as a McCann cross evaded team mates in the penalty area after Blanks had combined with Dos Santos and the ball went out for a goal kick after Heard had combined with McCann.

McCann then couldn’t quite get the ball under control with ten minutes remaining after a Newman ball forward and Tangara came off his line to claim.

The home side equalised in the 82nd minute when defender CASEY blasted a low shot into the net after a Leigh corner was met by substitute Arron Hopkinson before the ball came back out.

Momentum was now with the home side and top goalscorer Smith glanced a far post header wide with a good chance after an inviting cross from Lethbridge.

But the home side was to get its dramatic late winner when LETHBRIDGE got to the ball when a mis-hit Hopkinson shot stayed in play and the goalscorer’s shot deflected in via Roberts.

The shellshocked visitors did have a stoppage time chance to salvage a point as a combination of goalkeeper and defender cleared following a scramble inside the Bognor six-yard-box and when the ball came back in Dos Santos’ backheel was just wide of the far post.

The only club to have beaten Invicta in all competitions at the Folkestone club’s BuildKent Stadium so far this season, Bognor thus completed a league ‘double’ over Invicta during 2019-20.

Invicta had previously endured a torrid second half here in March 2017 when going down 7-1 having led 1-0 at half time.

It is a second 4-3 away defeat for Invicta this season as they had gone out of the F. A. Trophy by the same scoreline at Maldon & Tiptree when also leading 2-0 early on.

BOGNOR REGIS TOWN: Tangara, Whyte, Crane, Tuck, Casey, Wood, Walsh (Hopkinson 70 mins), Leigh, Smith, Flint (Mendoza 80 mins), Lethbridge.  Unused subs: Wakley, Baker.

FOLKESTONE INVICTA: Roberts, Vincent, Blanks, Newman, Davies, Dolan, Heard, Everitt, Jackson, McKenzie (Dos Santos 45 mins), McCann.  Unused subs: Ter Horst, O’Mara, Newcombe

Attendance: 497.