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FOLKESTONE INVICTA                    3          POTTERS BAR TOWN                 3

Folkestone Invicta had to settle for a point despite taking a 3-0 lead at home to Potters Bar Town at a sunny BuildKent Stadium on Saturday afternoon on a day when Ian Draycott broke the club’s senior goalscoring record. 

Potters Bar were to complete a remarkable turnaround in what was to be a crazy second half as both sides then also had chances to hit a late winner.

Unbeaten Invicta appeared to be in total control asthey led 2-0 at half time through Ade Yusuff and Draycott (penalty) before Scott Heard made it 3-0 early in the second half.

But two quick goals from Ben Ward-Cochrane reduced the arrears before Sansom Esan’s equaliser.

Invicta had only conceded three goals in their opening six Pitching In Isthmian League Premier Division fixtures of the 2021-22 season but here were to concede three in a 23-minute second half spell.

It had been an eventful afternoon for Potters Bar, most of whom had to travel to the match by train due to the fuel crisis, and (already without the suspended James Budden) then lost Luke Tingey to an injury in the warm up which brought Max Delyfer into the starting X1.

Invicta were without Matt Newman (attending his sister’s wedding) so Draycott wore the number four shirt and Ryan Johnson joined captain Callum Davies at the heart of the home defence.   Josh Vincent also passed a fitness test to return in place of Finn O’Mara.

Potters Bar were positive from the start as an intricate third minute move into the box saw Devonte Aransibia cut inside but Davies made a saving tackle.

At the other end, Yusuff broke down the left hand side a minute later but visiting goalkeeper Hafed Al-Droubi saved at his near post for a corner.

Al-Droubi did well to get across to palm away a Yusuff header when Jordan Wright crossed from the right hand side in the eighth minute in a move started by Ronnie Dolan and Yusuff.

A good 11th minute Potters Bar move saw Ryan Young and Joseph Boachie combine to find Aransibia inside the penalty area w2ho attempted a one-two with Ward-Cochrane when he might have gone alone as the visitors gained their first corner of the game.  Ward-Cochrane then shot wide from Esan’s set piece from the right hand side.

Invicta broke the deadlock in the 15th minute when Al-Droubi fumbled Wright’s cross from the right hand side and YUSUFF touched it in from close range for his first league goal of the season following his F A Cup hat-trick at Ashford Town (Middlesex) the previous weekend.

An assistant referee signalled that the ball had crossed the line.

It was the first goal before half time in a home Invicta fixture so far this season and the first time that Inviocta had opened the scoring in a home game during 2021-22.

A stretching Esan in the middle couldn’t quite get enough on a 20th minute Ward-Cochrane ball across goal from the left hand side .

The ball then somehow stayed out at the other end as Dolan played the ball to Paxman who got a great cross in from the left hand side that Yusuff didn’t glance into the net.

Invicta were playing some good stuff as Paxman headed over in the 29th minute when Dolan chipped the ball into the box in a move started by Heard.

The home side increased its lead with a penalty during first half stoppage time as Paxamn was brought down by Young after a move that involved Paxman, Dolan and Yusuff.

With both Paxman and Yusuff also involved the discussion as to who is Invicta’s penalty taker, it was DRAYCOTT who duly accepted the chance to hit his record-breaking 142nd senior goal for the club since joining from Leatherhead in 2014.

Paxman made a saving 51st minute tackle after a good Potters Bar ball down the left hand side.

But there were then to be three goals in a four-minute spell.

It was 3-0 in the 53rd minute when Wright again put the ball in from the right hand side, a Draycott shot was blocked and it fell to HEARD who found the net.

But Potters Bar were thrown a quick lifeline when Esan slipped the ball through to WARD-COCHRANE and the striker went round goalkeeper Tim Roberts to put the ball into an empty net in the 54th minute.

It was soon 3-2 when Boachie slipped the ball through to WARD-COCHRANE in the 56th minute and the striker poked the ball past Roberts to pull another goal back as the home defence appealed in vain for offside.

Esan received the bal from Boachie and played a 59th minute ball to Aransibia in the box butJohnson got across to clear for a throw in.

It was end-t0-end as Yusuff dragged his shot just wide of the far post across goal a minute later when Wright played the ball through.  Potters Bar broke seconds later as Ward-Cochrane got another shot in when Aransibia played the ball through but Roberts came out to make a good 69th minute save at the expense of a corner.

Potters Bar threatened again in the 72nd minute when Invicta substitute O’Mara lost the ball in his own penalty area and an Esan shot from the left hand side deflected for a corner on the right.

The visitors made it 3-3 in the 76th minute when Boachie played a great through ball to ESAN on the right hand side who hit a clean finish across goal and into the far corner of the net.

Invicta res[ponded as David Smith battled away but Yusuff didn’t get any power on his shot a minute later.

Dwight Pascal held off Yusuff and played an 82nd minute ball up to Aransibia on the right hand side who got a shot in that deflected at Roberts before it could reach Ward-Cochrane.

Young and Potters Bar captain Nathan Livings combined to findBoachie in the 86th minute who embarked on a tricky run that was curtailed by Dolan.

There was more danger for Invicta a minute later when the ball was played out to substitute Amine Sassi on the right hand side of the penalty area who held it up before his shot deflateed off Paxman and narrowly wide of the far post for a corner.

Invicta then had chances of their own to win it as Smith headed off target in the 89th minute when Wright’s ball in took a touch after substitute Tyler Sterling played it across to the right after Heard had played the ball forward when receiving it from Paxman.

Sterling is the Invicta player likely to produce something special late on but he blazed over with his big chance here in the 90th minute when Heard sent him clear down the right hand side after Smith had held the ball up and played it back.

Substitute Sterling then hit a stoppage time free kick just outside the left hand side of the box on target but Al-Droubi got behind it after a handball decision.

There were bookings for Invicta’s Vincent (20th minute challenge on Jaden Sharman) and Heard (reckless 72 minute challenge) and for Potters Bar’s Pascal (hauling Smith down in the 23rd minute).

FOLKESTONE INVICTA: Roberts, Vincent (O’Mara 69 mins), Wright, Draycott (Sterling 82 mins), Davies, Johnson, Heard, Dolan, Smith, Yusuff, Paxman.   Unused subs: Freeman, Everitt, Collins.

POTTERS BAR TOWN: Al-Droubi, Pascal, Sharman (Parchment 49 mins), Cathline, Delyfer, Livings, Young, Aransibia (Carvalho 83 mins), Ward-Cochrane, Esan (Sassi 79 mins), Boachie. 

Corners: Invicta 3 Potters Bar 5

Attendance: 782.