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Corners: Invicta 6 Eastbourne 3

 FOLKESTONE INVICTA                         3

                                    EASTBOURNE BOROUGH          3

Ian Draycott scored a hat-trick as Folkestone Invicta  came back from being 3-1 down at half time to draw 3-3 at home to Eastbourne Borough in Saturday’s pre-season friendly at The BuildKent Stadium.

Eastbourne Borough had taken the initiative and gone 2-0 up through Joel Rollinson and Leone Gravata before draycott made it 1-2, only for Gravata to strike again just before half time.

But Invicta turned things around after the interval as Draycott scored near the start and end of the second half to bag a hat-trick from a deeper midfield role.

Eastbourne Borough were third in the National League South – one division above Invicta – when the 2020-21 season was curtailed and gave Invicta a tough test after the Folkestone club’s opening two pre-season wins at home to Ramsgate (4-2) and Welling United (also of the National League South, 3-1).

The home side had a chance within the opening 30 seconds when David Smith shot wide from the right hand side of the penalty area.

But Eastbourne Borough opened the scoring in the fourth minute when the ball was played out to ROLLINSON on the right hand side who shot across goal and into the far corner of the net.

Home captain Callum Davies then allowed a trialist Eastbourne Borough striker to get in down the middle a minute later but the central defender recovered to make a good tackle.

The visitors were close again in the seventh minute when a Chris Whelpdale shot from outside the penalty area came back off the post.

It was a lively start to the game as Smith hit a low 10th minute shot at goalkeeper Curtis Anderson and Josh Vincent headed wide after a Ronnie Dolan free kick two minutes later.

Eastbourne Borough went forward again in the 14th minute when Gravata crossed from the left hand side into the middle from where Whelpdale headed at home goalkeeper Tim Roberts.

Alfie Paxman then shot wide from the edge of the box at the other end a minute later.

The visitors threatened again in the 18th minute when Gravata threaded the ball through to Whelpdale on the right hand side whose cross-shot across goal fell to James Hammond at the far post but Davies blocked.

Eastbourne Borough then had the ball in the net again through Whelpdale at the far post but an assistant referee’s flag was already uip for offside.

It was 2- 0 in the 20th minute when  GRAVATA combined with the trialist striker on the left hand side and the former converted the ball in the middle.

Invicta pulled a goal back in the 25th minute when Smith pulled the ball back from the right hand side of the box, a Paxman shot was blocked and the ball came out to DRAYCOTT who swept his shot in from the edge of the box.

It was end to end as Gravata headed strongly at Roberts in the 35th minute after a Whelpdale ball in from the right in a move started by Rollinson and captain James Ferry.

Dolan then won the ball in midfield two minutes later and supplied Ade Yusuff who shot into the side netting from the right hand side of the box, with the net rippling.

The visitors increased their lead in the 44th minute with another well-worked move after a spell of possession and GRAVATA hit a beauty across goal from the left hand side into the far corner of the net.

Both sides made the customary half time changes as Invicta broughton Jordan Wright, Matt Newman and Tyler Sterling.

Smith had the ball in the net but was adjudged to have bundled over goalkeeper Anderson.

It was soon 3-2, though, as Sterling played a good ball up to Wright on the right hand side who kept the ball in play, Smith performed a stepover and DRAYCOTT fired in with another good finish when the ball came back out to him.

Eastbourne Borough defender Mitchell Dickenson went up to head wide in the 57th minute after Hammond had sent over the visitors’ first corner of the afternoon from the left hand side.

The visitors then used their remaining six substitutes all at the same time on the hour mark.

Further Invicta changes were to see goalkeeper Connor Collins, Harrison Avery, Luca Borrello and Clark Woodcock introduced.

One of Eastbourne Borough’s trialist substitutes shot just over across goal from the left hand side in the 66th minute.

Sterling then curled a good 79th minute shot narrowly wide from outside the penalty area.

It was son 3-3 when DRAYCOTT sent the ball back into the net in the 80th minute when a defender headed the ball out and substitute goalkeeper Luke Glover was stranded.

The Invicta hat-trick hero was immediately replaced to make way for Woodcock.

A trialist Eastbourne Borough substitute made a dangerous 83rd minute run down the left hand side but shot into the side netting.

Invicta substitute Woodcock did well down the right hand side and played the ball across goal but Yusuff couldn’t quite put it in from close range.

A final chance saw Smith shoot over the bar when he could have won it in the 86th minute after an interchange with Wright who had done well.

FOLKESTONE INVICTA: Roberts (Collins 64 mins), Vincent (Wright 45 mins), Simpson (Borrello 75 mins), O’Mara, Davies (Newman 45 mins), Everitt (Averty 70 mins), Draycott (Woodcock 80 mns), Dolan, Smith, Yusuff, Paxman (Sterling 45 mins).

EASTBOURNE BOROUGH: Anderson (Glover 60 mins), Trilaist (Pickering 60 mins), Trialist (Trialist 45 mins), Ferry (Howard 60 mins), Dickenson (Blackmore 60 mins), Elliott (Towning 45 mins), Rollinson (Beaconsfield 60 mins), Hammond (Ventai 60 mins), Trailist (Lambert 45 mins), Gravata, Whelpdale (Trialist 45 mins).

Attendance: 314