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Not What We Deserved!

Lewes 3 Folkestone Invicta 0     

Sometimes, football has a habit of kicking you in the soft dangly bits and this was one such case on a dull day (weatherwise!) at the Dripping Pan as Lewes registered a 3-0 win. Having been a goal down at the break, we dominated the second half, but couldn’t find a breakthrough and then to compound matters got caught twice in time added on at the end of the game.     


Unsurprisingly, we fielded the same starting line-up that had won 4-1 at Wingate & Finchley, with Jordan Wright, making a welcome return to the bench, and Luca Borello named as substitutes as replacements for Finn O’Mara, who is on a month’s loan at South East Division Hastings United, and Ollie Freeman who was playing at SCEFL Hollands and Blair in Manager Scott Porter’s new-look squad. Our opponents made two changes from the starting line-up that won 4-2 at home against Haringey Borough last Saturday with Killian Colombie and Michael Klass coming in for Kenneth Yao and Ayo Olukoga, who was on the bench.   


As usual the pitch was in excellent condition, as Lewes kicked off and almost made an immediate impression in the opening minute, Taylor Maloney and Bradley Pritchard combined to set-up Joe Taylor unmarked on the edge of the box, but in what is a bit of a collector’s item,  the striker dragged his shot wide of Tim Roberts’ left-hand post. Ade Yusuff then lost the ball in midfield and then gave away a dangerous free kick on the edge of the area as he chased back, but as the ball was swung in from the right, it was cleared and Kieron McCann played the ball to Scott Heard who in turn played Alfie Paxman through, but his cross from outside the penalty area was just too long for McCann coming in at the far post.


Despite there being two fouls, the Referee played an excellent advantage and McCann made his way towards the penalty area but eventually the ball was cleared, and Lewes went straight up the other end, Ollie Tanner and Pritchard combined to play the ball through to Taylor just inside the area, but again he dragged his shot wide of the post to give Invicta another let off. Josh Vincent almost caught the Lewes defence out as his long ball to Heard caused hesitancy in ‘The Rooks’ defence and goalkeeper, Lewis Carey, was forced into a hasty clearance as the midfielder closed in. We got our first corner in the twentieth minute and Ronnie Dolan sent in a dangerous cross which was just two high for Yusuff and a fraction behind the incoming Vincent at the far post.


In what was becoming an increasingly end-to-end game, our opponents then made the next chance as Iffy Allen was fouled by Paxman on the right touchline, it was swung in by Tanner and Will Salmon, on loan from Leatherhead, headed over when well placed. Invicta were then on the wrong side of a Referee’s decision as Yusuff nodded on Roberts’ goal kick and two defenders appear to get in a tangle, but as McCann ran clear he was penalised for a foul.


It had been an entertaining first twenty-five minutes with both sides looking for an opening, with Taylor having two decent chances for Lewes, whilst we also looked threatening but without making any clear-cut chances. The home side then took the lead in the twenty-eighth minute as Carlse made a powerful run forward before passing to Taylor, who slipped a clever ball into Tanner, and he cut inside before shooting hard and low past Roberts despite the goalkeeper getting a hand to it. Again, Invicta could feel slightly aggrieved, as the Referee had again played advantage, but this time there wasn’t really one to play and we were caught offside which started the move for the goal.


A minute later, McCann did well to win a corner off Colombie, it was spectacularly punched cleared by Carey and suddenly Lewes had a three-on-three break, but the pass was delayed and although the covering players got back, the ball got through to Maloney on the edge of the area, but he shot wide. Then we almost equalised as after Yusuff’s shot had been blocked by a defender, he managed to play the ball out to McCann whose dangerous cross bounced off the inside of the past and then out, defining the laws of physics, before being cleared. Lewes then nearly doubled their lead as from a corner, Salmon swivelled before unleashing a shot from about eight yards out and Roberts made a magnificent save. We had the final chance of the half as Yusuff did well to wriggle free of his markers, but his shot went high and wide.


So, teams went into the interval with ‘The Rooks’ a goal to the good, but there was a feeling there would be further additions to the score line in the second half, as both teams looked to be in an attacking frame of mind.


Invicta started the half in a much more determined mood and David Smith had the first chance, but he shot wide, although almost immediately Tanner sent in a dangerous cross at the other end which Roberts did well to clear at full stretch as Taylor was poised behind him to head home. Heard then saw a shot blocked as did Paxman, which was just in front of the goal line, before McCann shot wide as we upped the pressure. Taylor then won the ball off Callum Davies and played it to Allen whose low cross-shot  was cleared in a fashion to the edge of the area where Tom Carlse was waiting but his shot was deflected over as he slipped when taking the shot. The corner was taken short, and Invicta gained possession, a long ball forward was cleared by Carey straight to Dolan and seeing the goalkeeper of his line, he let fly from just inside his own half, but the Lewes goalkeeper had got back to make a simple catch.


McCann then sent another shot wide, before Lewes showed they too still had attacking intentions as Klass played a superb defence splitting ball which put Tanner through on goal, he chipped his shot over the body of the diving Roberts, but Davies was covering behind his goalkeeper and made an excellent goal line clearance to keep the score at 1-0. McCann and Yusuff then combined to win a corner which was cleared for another on the opposite side of the pitch and this time it was fed to Ryan Johnson on the edge of the area, but he volleyed high and wide. Yusuff then picked up the first booking of the game for a foul on Pritchard, although he had been walking a tightrope for a while as the Referee had spoken to him twice previously. Then Matt Newman picked up a yellow card for dissent as the Invicta players were getting increasingly frustrated with some of the Referee’s decisions. Heard and Tanner then had a minor set to as the game got a bit more feisty as we entered the closing stages.


Our opponents then made two substitutions, Razz Coleman De-Graft replaced Allen after seventy-one minutes and Ayo Olukoga replaced Pritchard four minutes later, but it was Invicta who had the next chance, although Vincent was unable to make a clean connection on a cross and the ball went wide. Lewes were then awarded a free kick in a dangerous position, central on the edge of the area, Taylor and Moloney both lined up to take it, and it was the latter who did so, but it bounced harmlessly off the Invicta wall. In the seventy-ninth minute, Wright replaced McCann and almost immediately he was involved as he swung in a speculative cross from the left which Vincent slid in on, but it didn’t have the power and Carey saved. Then in the eighty-fourth minute, both sides made a further substitution as Ian Draycott replaced Johson, whilst for ‘The Rooks’, Dinesh Gillela replaced ‘Man of the Match’ Tanner, and he made his mark immediately as he was booked for deliberate handball within a minute of being on the pitch. Our opponents then picked up a second booking as skipper Mitchell Nelson was booked for a late tackle.


Wright then closed in on Newman’s cross but a combination of Colombie and Carey blocked the danger, and that looked to be the last chance and we would have to settle for a 1-0 defeat but then came time added on! The ball was played to De-Graft who appeared to be trapped near to the corner flag, but he skilfully turned two defenders and pulled the ball back to Maloney on the edge of the area, his first shot was blocked but as it rebounded back to him, he unleashed an unstoppable shot past Roberts to double the home side’s lead. It then got even worse as Carlse won the ball in his own half and stormed forward before playing the ball to Maloney who in turn found Taylor unmarked some twelve yards out and he calmly chipped it over the advancing Roberts and that was the end of the action as there was just time for Invicta to kick-off again before the Referee blew his final whistle.


This was always going to be a difficult game, but we stuck to our task and were perhaps a little unfortunate to lose let alone by a three-goal margin, as we played better than we had in our last two games which we had won! However, things need to be put into perspective, the game was a celebration of the life of one of their most loyal supporters ‘Cynical’ Dave Mackay who had tragically died the Saturday before at the age of just forty-nine. You could tell by the way the minute’s applause echoed around the ground from all four sides and the tribute read before the game that he was a much-loved part of the club and every time they scored the Lewes players held up a shirt with his name on. Talking to one of their officials after the game, he said he would have enjoyed today, and that he would have seen the irony of his last game being the club’s worst performance of the season at East Thurrock United.               


Talking to Neil after the game, although obviously disappointed, he also saw some encouragement in the performance, saying: “Although it was disappointing to lose, we were decent in the first half, and I was encouraged by our second half performance as we pushed a very good side back on the defensive. “At times we had JV [Josh Vincent] playing on the right wing and Alfie [Paxman] bombing forward on the left! “The only real disappointment was that we didn’t really make many clear-cut chances and I think their goalkeeper only had one save to make, this is something we need to improve on as the goals appear to have dried up in recent games, although I appreciate, we scored four last Tuesday at Wingate & Finchley. “This is something I’m looking to improve on and I’m still looking at other players to freshen things up.”


Finally, many thanks to Lewes for their hospitality and we wish them well for the rest of the season. 




Lewes: Lewis Carey, Killian Colombie, Tom Carlse, Will Salmon, Mitchell Nelson (Capt), Michael Klass, Taylor Maloney, Bradley Pritchard (Ayo Olukoga, 75 mins), Iffy Allen (Razz Coleman De-Graft, 71 mins), Ollie Tanner (Dinesh Gillela, 84 mins) & Joe Taylor, (Unused substitutes: Matt Weaire & Freddie Parker).


Goalscorers: Ollie Tanner (28 mins), Taylor Maloney (90 mins) & Joe Taylor (90 mins).


Folkestone Invicta: Tim Roberts, Josh Vincent, Kieron McCann (Jordan Wright, 78 mins), Matt Newman, Callum Davies (Capt), Ryan Johnson (Ian Draycott, 84 mins), Scott Heard, Ronnie Dolan,  David Smith, Ade Yusuff & Alfie Paxman, (Unused substitutes: Luca Borrello, Micheal Everitt & Connor Collins).


Referee: Conall Bartlett

Assistant Referees: Jamie Wells & John Pike.


Attendance: 801, many thanks to all the Invicta fans who went to the game this afternoon to support the team, it is much appreciated.


Next Fixture: We are away again on Wednesday (24th November) when we visit Cray Wanderers for a Pitching In Isthmian League Premier Division game, kick-off 7:45pm.