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Draycott Hits A Hat-Trick As Invicta Draw

A picture containing text, clipartDescription automatically generatedFolkestone Inv. 3 Eastbourne Bor. 3

Folkestone Invicta and Vanarama National League (South) Eastbourne Borough both maintained their unbeaten records in pre-season games following an entertaining 3-3 draw at the BuildKent Stadium this afternoon.

Invicta had the first chance virtually straight from the kick-off when David Smith had a shooting opportunity on the edge of the area, but he shot wide, although we didn’t have to wait long for the game’s first goal as within four minutes, Chris Whelpdale played the ball through to Joel Rollinson and he finished calmly, placing the ball across Tim Roberts and into the far corner. This gave our opponents the early momentum as firstly, Trialist ‘C’ made a chance but as he went to shoot, Callum Davies got back brilliantly to make a block tackle and then Whelpdale hit a stunning strike from thirty yards which cannoned off Roberts’ left-hand post and fortunately bounced to safety.

Invicta then had a half-chance as Josh Vincent headed a clearance from the Eastbourne goalkeeper, Curtis Anderson, back into the box, but Ade Yusuff didn’t connect properly with his shot, and it was easily saved. Smith, who was receiving some rough treatment, was fouled from behind for the second time, and from Ronnie Dolan’s free kick, Vincent headed wide. Invicta were getting into the game and Yusuff found Alfie Paxman who did well to ride a tackle before shooting just wide of Anderson’s right hand post.

However, our opponents were still looking dangerous, especially on the break, and it was from one such attack they thought they had doubled their lead. Trialist ‘C’ showed excellent skill getting the ball under control before slipping it through to Whelpdale, his shot was blocked by Davies, but when the ball came back in the box from James Hammond, Whelpdale was on hand to nod home, but fortunately for Invicta the Assistant Referee had his flag up. That was a short-lived reprieve however, as on twenty minutes our opponents added a second as Whelpdale, who seemed to be involved in everything, combined with Trialist ‘C’ to get the ball across to Leone Gravata who turned and shot home from the edge of the six-yard box.

At this stage, our normal cohesion seemed to be missing, but within five minutes we had a lifeline as Ian Draycott pulled a goal back. Following clever work from Yusuff who got his cross in, Paxman saw his shot saved by Anderson, only for Draycott to follow-up for our first goal of the afternoon. Moments later Draycott nearly added his and Invicta’s second, but he shot wide. ‘The Borough’ were the next to go close as James Ferry played the ball to Whelpdale and his cross was met with a powerful header from the onrushing Gravata, which fortunately went straight into the arms of Roberts. In what was becoming and end-to-end game, Vincent then made a great tackle which saw Draycott receive the ball and he in turn slipped the ball to Yusuff and although he appeared to be fouled, the Referee played a good advantage, allowing him to continue his run, but he shot into the side netting.

Just before half-time, in the 43rd minute, we suffered a setback as following good interplay between Whelpdale and Rollinson, Gravata received the ball on the edge of the area, and he hammered the ball into the far corner giving Roberts no chance. As you’ll see below, this was sponsor El Tel’s choice for ‘Goal of the Game’ and few would argue. So, we went into the break 3-1 down in what had been an entertaining first half against a strong Eastbourne Borough side, although Neil would have been looking for an improvement in the second half.

At the start of the second half, there were the usual plethora of substitutes. For Invicta, Vincent was replaced by Jordan Wright, Davies came off for Matt Newman and Tyler Sterling joined the fray in place of Paxman, and Eastbourne made four changes including the removal of Whelpdale which no doubt the Invicta defence was pleased to see!

As with the first half, we almost made an early impression on the scoreline in the first minute as Draycott challenged Anderson which saw the goalkeeper fall back into his goal, but unsurprisingly it was adjudged to have been a foul and our opponents were awarded a free kick. However, in the 50th minute we did pull a goal back with what was probably the other contender for the ‘Goal of the Game’. Sterling played an excellent ball to Wright, who did superbly well to retain the ball and then round the defender before pulling the ball back to Smith, who cleverly stepped over it knowing that Draycott was behind him, and he finished from the edge of the area.

On sixty-one minutes, our opponents made six further substitutions whilst Connor Collins replaced Roberts four minutes later and then we made two further substitutions as in the 71st minute, Micheal Everitt came off for Harison Avery and then five minutes later, Luca Borello came on for Aaron Simpson, which gave Wright a chance to show his versatility as having come on as right back replacing Vincent, he switched to left back allowing Borello to play on the right.

Although these substitutions led to the game having a bit of a disjointed look, both sides continued to make chances as Trialist ‘E’ shot over having been put through by Louis Ventai, whilst at the other end Sterling saw his powerful cross shot go wide of the far post after Yusuff had played the ball to him. With ten minutes to go, Draycott completed his hat-trick, the ball was played into the area and Trialist ‘D’ nodded the ball clear but straight to Draycott, and with the Eastbourne replacement goalkeeper, Luke Glover, expecting the defender to let it go, he was out of position which allowed the Invicta striker to turn the ball into an empty net, although he made it look a lot easier than it was. That was his last involvement in the game as he was replaced by Clark Woodcock, leaving the field to a warm ovation.

Our opponents almost took the lead again a couple of minutes later when Trialist ‘D’ burst through the Invicta defence, but he shot into the side netting. At the other end, Invicta then had two good chances to clinch the game. Firstly, Woodcock showed good skill to beat his marker and cross from the by-line, but unfortunately the ball was cleared as Yusuff closed in, and then Smith blasted over when well placed as he received the ball following good work from Yusuff and Wright.          

So, the game ended 3-3 which was probably about right as our opponents had the better of the first half, whilst we came back well in the second to pull back the two-goal deficit. Thanks to Eastbourne Borough for coming to play the game and best wishes to them for the forthcoming season, they look as if they may put in another challenge at the top of the Vanarama National League (South).

Speaking to Roland Edge after the game, he said; ‘That was a good test today, especially in the first half when they had a stronger team with all their accomplished players like Whelpdale playing and it is what we want in the pre-season games. ‘At half-time we had a good chat about our communication which at times wasn’t very good and I would like to have seen us play their first half team after the break after we’d put one or two things right as I thought we dominated the second half. ‘Ian Draycott looked very sharp today, but he also does good things defensively which sometimes goes unnoticed, and this showed in the third goal as he had anticipated that there may be a chance on offer. ‘We’ve got a lot of good attacking options this season and our front three of Ade Yusuff, David Smith and Alfie Paxman or Kieron McCann are probably as good a front three in the League. ‘We’ve got three forwards who are all hard to play against and will give their opponents good one-to-one battles. ‘Overall, we are pleased how things are going so far, we’ve got a good blend and players competing for every position within the team which is a healthy position to be in and if we can get the balance right, we should be in for a good season.’  

After the game Match Sponsor, ‘El Tel’ (Terry Bailey) presented the ‘Man of Match’ Award to hat-trick hero Ian Draycott, whilst Eastbourne Borough’s Leone Gravata was presented with the ‘Goal of the Game’ Award for his second and his side’s third goal, an excellent strike from just inside the penalty area. Thanks to Terry for sponsoring the game and for his continued support.

 

 

Folkestone Invicta; Tim Roberts (Connor Collins, 65 mins), Josh Vincent (Jordan Wright, 46 mins), Aaron Simpson (Luca Borello, 76 mins), Finn O’Mara, Callum Davies (Capt) (Matt Newman, 46 mins), Micheal Everitt (Harrison Avery, 71 mins), Ian Draycott (Clark Woodcock, 81 mins), Ronnie Dolan, David Smith, Ade Yusuff & Alfie Paxman (Tyler Sterling, 46 mins).

Goalscorer: Ian Draycott (25, 50 & 80 mins).

Eastbourne Borough: Curtis Anderson (Luke Glover, 61 mins), Trialist ‘A’ (Matt Pickering, 61 mins), Trialist ‘B’ (Trialist ‘D’, 46 mins), James Ferry (Capt) (Tom Howard, 61 mins), Mitchell Dickenson (David Blackmore, 61 mins), Jake Elliott (Charlie Towning, 46 mins), Joel Rollinson (Hayden Beaconsfield, 61 mins), James Hammond (Louis Ventai, 61 mins), Trialist ‘C’ (Charlie Lambert, 46 mins), Leone Gravata & Chris Whelpdale (Trialist ‘E’, 46 mins).

Goalscorers: Joel Rollinson (4 mins) and Leone Gravata (20 & 43 mins).

Referee: Nick Dunn

Assistant Referees: Jak Hill & Mike Donnelly.

Attendance: 314, many thanks to everyone who game today to support their respective team, hopefully you enjoyed the game.

Next Fixture: We are at home again on Tuesday, 13th July, when Chatham Town, of the Southern Counties East Football League (SCEFL) Premier Division, visit for another pre-season fixture, kick-off is 7:45pm.