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Folkestone Invicta
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Folkestone Invicta

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    WINGATE & FINCHLEY 1           FOLKESTONE INVICTA 4   Kieron McCann scored his first senior hat-trick as Folkestone Invicta enjoyed a much-needed win away to ten men Wingate & Finchley to move back up to third place in the Pitching In Isthmian League Premier Division on Tuesday night.   It was a third consecutive 4-1 win that Invicta have now recorded over their north London opponents after an F A Cup win at the Maurice Rebak Stadium last September was followed by a home league win by the same scoreline three days later.   29-year-old McCann reaped the benefits of playing on the left hand side of a front three as Invicta adopted a new 4-3-3 formation with Alfie Paxman furter back on the left hand side. Having rejoined the club from Cray Valley (PM) in the summer McCann has had a stop-start 2021-22 so far having undergone a knee operation and being used recently on the right hand side in the absence of the injured Jordan Wright.   McCann had also scored in Saturday’s 2-1 Buildbase F A Trophy win at home to Faversham Town – remarkably two years to the day since his previous Invicta goal also in the F A Trophy at Maldon & Tiptree.   This was a fixture in which Invicta manager Neil Cugley had hoped to unveil a new signing – which now appears to have fallen through – but McCann stepped up to score the goals, an aspect of his game that Cugley has spoken about improving previously.   Having taken just points out of nine from their previous three league fixtures – and losing their unbeaten start to the season 4-0 at Carshalton Athletic the previous midweek – without scoring a goal, this was exactly what Invicta needed.   The Folkestone side kept the same starting X1 that had won on Saturday, albeit with the new formation.   Wingate & Finchley started well as top goalscorer Billy Sayoud was just wide when he let fly in the fifth minute.    A cross from the right was then headed out for the game’s first corner a minute later when Kavan Cotter’s set piece from the left came out to Theophilius Ofori who didn’t connect properly with his shot.   Ofori and Sayound then combined to find Matt Achuba on the right whose ball in was met by a swing and a miss from Ofori in the ninth minute.    Luke Ifil then curled a 13th minute shot wide of the far post across goal after Sayoud’s cross from the left fell to Ofori.   Invicta had to wait until the quarter of an hour mark for their first noteworthy chance as Ryan Johnson fired wide from the edge of the box after Paxman had headed on goalkeeper Tim Roberts’ clearance after a good flick from Ade Yusuff found McCann on the left.   The visitors soon opened the scoring in the 16th minute when Johnson found Yusuff on the left hand side whose ball found McCANN and the latter’s shot took a deflection and looped up into the net.   Yusuff then couldn’t quite lift the ball over home goalkeeper and captain Ben Goode from the right hand side three minutes later.   Jesse Armoo was booked for a high 21st minute challenge on Ronnie Dolan that was to have repercussions before half time.    Yusuff did well close to the halfway line and released striking partner David Smith in the 23rd minute but home defender J’Ardell Stirling intercepted the attempted ball across to the unmarked Scott Heard.   The home side had a chance a minute later when Ifil put big striker Ibrahim Meite through but Roberts turned the ball wide of the far post across goal.   Home manager Marc Weatherstone had to make a first half change as Samuel Hatton replaced the injured Daniel Pappoe.    The home side came close to an equaliser in the 31st minute when the impressive Ofori’s shot from the edge of the box came back off the post after Sayoud had combined with Ofori and Meite.   Sayoud then created space in midfield after a ball out of defence two minutes later and found Ofori on the right who cut inside and saw his shot deflect off Paxman for a corner.   At the other end, Smith shot just wide of the far post across goal after Paxman had combined with Johnson following a throw in on the left and played the ball in to the striker inside the penalty area.   The ball then fell to Sayoud inside the Invicta box after he had combined with Meite but visiting captain Callum Davies dispossessed him after Paxman had given the ball away in a tight exchange of passes with Heard.   Invicta increased their lead in the 40th minute when Dolan found Smith down the right hand side and the ball was worked across via Yusuff to McCANN on the left who found the net again.   McCann and Yusuff have been team mates at Chatham Town, Cray Valley (PM) and in a previous spell at Invicta with McCann usually the supplier but tonight the roles were reversed.    Invicta had two chances in the 42nd minute as Smith combined with Heard when the striker didn’t get his shot in from inside the box and Johnson then shot over from distance after Yusuff had broke down the right hand side in a move started by Josh Vincent.   Ifil broke down the left hand side in the 44th minute when Sayoud’s ball in was met by Meite but it went out for a goal kick when the striker was under pressure from Davies.   The home side was then reduced to ten men in the 45th minute as Armoo received a second yellow card from referee Steven Scott for pulling back Smith.   It had earlier looked as though Armoo was going to have to limp off as Tyrique Clarke was being lined up to replace him.   But the ten men were to make a spirited start to the second half as Ofori and Ifil combined to put Meita through wqithin 30 seconds of the re-start but Roberts saved.   Hatton blocked a 55th minute Yusuff shot after a good ball forward from Vincent, while Roberts then got behind a Sayoud free kick from distance on the left three minutes later after a Davies foul on Achuba.   Smith tried to get a shot in when under pressure from Hatton inside the box but Invicta made it 3-0 seconds later in the 59th minute when Heard found Smith down the right hand side of the penalty area and the latter’s ball in was put in by McCANN from close range for his hat-trick.   It was Invicta’s second hat-trick of the season after Yusuff’s in the F A Cup at Ashford Town (Middlesex) back in September – which was also the striker’s first senior hat-trick, perhaps more surprisingly.   Heard played a good 63rd minute ball up to Smith to provide the striker with another chance and the latter squared the ball to Yusuff but Goode saved and Smith then let fly seconds later when his shot flashed just wide of the post.   The home side pulled a goal back in the 72nd minute when a Cotter corner from the left came off a couple of Invicta heads before Lewis Hobbs found OFORI who cut inside from the right hand side and rifled a low shot across goal and into the far corner of the net.   Wingate & Finchley briefly harboured hopes of an unlikely comeback – funnier things have happened between these two sides in the past - as the ball fell to Sayoud in the 77th minute when Clarke tried to thread the ball through to fellow substitute Hani Berchiche but it carried to Roberts.   There were chances at both ends in the 82nd minute as Ofori slipped the ball up to Ifil on the right whose ball in was pushed away by Roberts, while Invicta broke as substitute Ian Draycott squared the ball to Heard who got a shot in but Goode saved.   Invicta’s used substitutes were to be the club’s record senior goalscorer Draycott and appearance holder Micheal Everitt.   The visitors struck again to complete the scoring in the 85th minute when Berchiche played a stray pass back to Yusuff who played it out to Vincent on the right and the latter’s good ball in was converted by HEARD into the roof of the net.   An 87th minute Heard corner from the right was met by a strong but off target Vincent header across goal after a collision between home goalkeeper Goode and Yusuff led to the set piece.   Invicta’s Finn O’Mara was denied a late short run out – ahead of a loan spell at Hastings United – as he was about to replace Davies but the ball did not go out of play before the final whistle.    WINGATE & FINCHLEY: Goode, Achuba (Clarke 63 mins), Ifil, Pappoe (Hatton 28 mins), Stirling, Hobbs, Armoo, Cotter, Meite (Berchiche 69 mins), Sayoud, Ofori.  Unused subs: Smyth, Kennedy.     FOLKESTONE INVICTA: Roberts, Vincent, McCann, Newman, Davies, Johnson, Heard, Dolan (Everitt 84 mins), Smith (Draycott 70 mins), Yusuff, Paxman.   Unused subs: Freeman, O’Mara, Collins. 

Corners: Wingate & Finchley 6 Invicta 2 

  Attendance: 152.