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             CORINTHIAN-CASUALS      0    FOLKESTONE INVICTA         1

Folkestone Invicta made it two wins out of two in 2021-22 as a first half goal from striker David Smith was enough to give Neil Cugley’s side a slender victory away to Corinthian-Casuals at the U*nited Business Group Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

In their first away match of the new season Invicta kept the same starting X1 that had begun the Pitching In Isthmian League Premier Division season with a 3-1 home win over Worthing the previous weekend and came away with another three points despite not reaching the heights of the opening day.

The decisive goal came in the 17th minute when Alfie Paxman and Ryan Johnson combined to find Ade Yusuff on the left hand side whose ball into the box was converted by SMITH in the middle.

In the early exchanges, Invicta goalkeeper Tim Roberts got down to save an 11th minute Keiron Cadogan free kick after a foul by Ronnie Dolan on Elliott Bolton, while at the other end a Jordan Wright ball in from the right hand side a minute later was poked wide by Smith.

A 15th minute Bolton free kick was then deflected for the game’s first corner after a foul by Ian Draycot on Bolton who had received the ball from Jack Tucker.

Smith’s goal was temporarily to put Invicta top of the table, though next Saturday’s opponents Enfield Town were to finish the day as early season leaders.

Home striker Warren Mfula got in behind Callum Davies after a 21st minute ball up the left hand side but the Invicta captain recovered to make a saving tackle at the expense of another corner.  Invicta scrambled the subsequent set piece away and a Bolton shot was charged down when it came out to him on the edge of the box.

Invicta were close just before half time when Dolan played another corner in from the right hand side and the ball ended up in the net after a scramble but referee Shelby Elson blew for foot up.

Corinthian-Casuals made a change at half time as Waren Morgan came on for Coskun Ekim and Tucker moved further forward up the right hand side and Jame Bracken’s side was to raise its game aftere the interval.

The homeside’s best moment arguably came in the 49th minute when central defender Jack Strange played the ball forward to Mfula who went past two defenders and got a shot in that Roberts did well to touch over the crossbar.  Cadogan’s set piece from the right was headed over by Strange.

Tucker latched onto a 55th minute crossfield ball from the left that Paxman initially dealt with but goalkeeper Roberts was then struggling to clear after a back pass.

Paxman got forward and sliced his shot wide from the left hand side two minutes later when Ian Draycott sent him away after Dolan had initially played the ball forward to Smith.

It was Paxman who got another shot in when Dolan’s 62nd minute corner from the right came back out to him but home goalkeeper and captain Danny Bracken made a comfortable save.

A double Invicta substitution saw Scott Heard and Kieron McCann come on for Draycott and Wright, with Paxman switching to the right hand side.

Invicta threatened twice in the 71st minute as a Smith shot hit team mate Yusuff following a Paxman header and Matt Newman’s inviting ball in from the left then evaded everyone in the goal mouth and went just wide of the far post.

Heard combined with Dolan in the 79th minute after dispossessing Strange and went past the Corinthian-Casuals central defender and Bolton before putting a ball across goal from the left hand side that again just needed a otuch.

An 84th minute Tucker ball in from the right was met by Ben Cheklit in the penalty area but the latter couldn’t make clean enough contact.

Corinthian-Casuals had a big chance to equalise in the 89th minute with a free kick right on the edge of the penalty area but Cadogan’s strike from the left hand side hit the Invicta wall after a foul on Ola Williams.

There were bookings for Corinthian-Casuals’ Tucker (45th minute trip on Paxman), Hakeem Adelakun (74th minute) and Cadogan (90th minute flu on Paxman) and for Invicta’s Davies (studs up 29th minute challenge) and Yusuff (90th minute).

Invicta have now visited Corinthian-Casuals ten times and lost just the once.

The home side was cheered on by the London-based Sao Paolo Corinthians who banged the drum for their side throughout.

CORINTHIAN-CASUALS: Bracken, Tucker (Pinney 86 mins), Adelakun (Efambe 76 mins), Williams, Strange, Thompson, Bolton, Ekim (Morgan 45 mins), Mfula, Cadogan, Cheklit.  Unused subs: Mensah, Mills.

FOLKESTONE INVICTA: Roberts, Vincent, Wright (McCann 66 mins), Newman, Davies, Johnson, Draycott (Heard 66 mins), Dolan, Smith, Yusuff, Paxman.   Unused subs: O’Mara, Everitt, Collins.

Attendance: 321.