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FOLKESTONE INVICTA                         5             BRIGHTLINGSEA REGENT      1

Folkestone Invicta maintained their unbeaten start to the 2021-22 season with a comprehensive 5-1 win over Brightlingsea Regent at a sunny BuildKent Stadium on Saturday afternoon as Alfie Paxman (2), Scott Heard, David Smith and debutant Ollie Freeman were among the goals.

Invicta kept the same starting X1 that had won 1-0 at home to Gloucester City in the Emirates F A Cup amid the wind and rain the previous Saturday as goalkeeper Alexis Andre made a Pitching In Isthmian League Premier Division debut as he continued to cover for Tim Roberts (groin).

The home side was on top from the start as PAXMAN opened the scoring as early as the third minute with a confident finish into the far corner of the net across goal after Smith had touch the ball to him on the left hand side.

Invicta gained three corners in the opening four minutes.

The Folkestone side then lost possession from a free kck deep in their own half and the visitors played the ball through to Eren Kinali but the striker was thwarted by home captain Callum Davies with a challenge that referee Peter Conn judged was the right side of the law.

Invicta striker Smith blasted high and wide after a 23rd minute interchange between Jordan Wright and Heard on the right hand side.

Ade Yusuff then shot wastefully wide into the side netting when he took the ball into the box after a good 28th minute ball from Ryan Johnson up the right hand side.

It was 2-0 in the 30th minute when Paxman’s ball into the box from the left hand side was converted by HEARD from close range in a move started by Johnson and Smith.

Brightlingsea regent responded as Reggie Gregory cut in from the right hand side in the 32nd minute but shot over the bar.

There were chances at both ends in the 37th minute as visiting goalkeeper Charlie Turner saved with his legs to deny Smith after Ian Draycott had found the striker on the right hand side.  Charlie Durling then found Gregory on the left hand side seconds later when the latter went round goalkeeper Andre but Davies kept the ball out.

Central defender Davies then blocked a Kinali shot a minute later and Gregory and Kinali were both involved again seconds later when the latter swerved a 40th minute shot just wide of the target from outside the penalty area.

There were early chances at both ends in a second half that saw Invicta extend their lead andBrightlingsea Regent score as well as hitting both post and crossbar.

Yusuff shot wide for Invicta when Paxamn played the ball up to Smith in the 46th minute.

Brightlingsea Regent were then close a minute later when Gilbert played Gregory through and Invicta goalkeeper Andre made a great save, with Kinali then shooting against the post from close range when the ball came back out.

Gilbert and Gregory combined again on the right hand side in the 50th minute when the latter got a shot in but Andre kept it out.

Brightlingsea regent captain Chris Ribchester became the game’s only booking for bringing Draycott down after another good Invicta move in the 52nd minute.  Ronnie Dolan blasted the subsequent free kick over the crossbar.

Invicta were playing some flowing football as Heard then took his shot first time when Yusuff played him through a minute later but Turner saved.

Yusuff was involved in the build up to Invicta’s third goal as Ribchester blocked his shot for a corner. Following a short set piece Paxman played the ball in from the left hand side and SMITH rifled his shot into the net in the 54th minute.

Invicta had gone 3-0 up at almost the identical stage of the game in their previous league match at home to Potters Bar a fortnight earlier but were then pegged back to 3-3. That was never likely to be the case here nor any fears that Invicta would be sidetracked ahead of their big F A Cup tie at Easteight next weekend.

Gilbert got in behind Johnson down the left hand side and fired against the crossbar in the 58th minute.

Marcus Gouldbourne then broke down the left hand side a minute later when the ball in went right across the Invicta goal.

But Invicta made it 4-0 in the 61st minute when Yusuff found Draycott who played in PAXMAN and the latter took the ball on before hitting another good low finish in the far corner of the net for his second goal of the game.

Brightlingsea Regent continued to go forward themselves two minutes later when the ball was palyed through to Gregory but Andre came out to claim.

At the other end, Cdraycott played the ball in to Smith on the right hand side of the box in the 65th minute but Turner saved at his near post and Yusuff fired over after combining with striking partner Smith a minute later in a move started by Heard.

Visiting striker Kinali then let fly from 25 yards but it flew wide in the 69th minute.

Brightlingsea Regent gained their only corner of the game in the 72nd minute when the set piece from the right was played back to Miles Mitchell-Nelson whose shot was blocked.  Yusuff then broke for Invicta and found Draycott on the right hand side of the box but Turner saved.

A double Invicta substitution in the 75th minute saw Freeman and Tyler Sterling replace Heard and Yusuff and Finn O’Mara later came on for Dolan.

Dolan had lost possession which led to Brightlingsea Regent’s goal in the 77th minute courtesy of a good strike from GREGORY.

Gilbert found Gouldbourne on the right hand side who went past Paxman in the 79th minute and the subsequent ball across goal was not met by any telling contact.

A stoppage time Wright shot from the right hand side was deflected for a corner after the former had combined with recent signing Freeman.

FREEMAN then crowned his debut appearance by lobbing the ball into the net from outside the penalty area after a ball forward from O’Mara on the right hand side.

A final Brightlingsea Regent chance saw Gilbert hit a free kick from the left hand side but Andre got behind it.

Brightlingsea Regent’s problems had started before the game as one player became unwell during the warm up and had to sit it out on the substitutes’ bench and another initially travelled to Felixstowe rather than Folkestone and arrived for the second half.

FOLKESTONE INVICTA: Andre, Draycott, Wright, Newman, Davies, Johnson, Heard (Freeman 74 mins), Dolan (O’Mara 86 mins), Smith, Yusuff (Sterling 74 mins), Paxman.   Unused subs: Everitt, Collins.

BRIGHTLINGSEA REGENT: Turner, Esole (McKenzie 66 mins), Miskin, Durling, Ribchester, Thompson, Gregory, Mitchell-Nelson (McLeod 76 mins), Kinali, Gilbert, Goludbourne.  Unused subs: Bennett, Feyi. 

Corners: Invicta 8 Brightlingsea 1

Attendance: 908.