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 FOLKESTONE INVICTA                2

                                    REDHILL                                          0

Folkestone Invicta secured a home Ryman League Division One South play off on Tuesday April 28th as second half goals from strikers Ian Draycott and Richard Atkins gave Neil Cugley’s side a 2-0 victory over relegation threatened Redhill at a sunny Fullicks Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

It was Invicta’s seventh consecutive home win since losing 3-2 against Whitstable Town back in January.

DRAYCOTT opened the scoring in the 50th minute when he headed in a Ronnie Dolan cross from the right hand side.

It was a 30th league goal of the season for Draycott and his 38th in 53 appearances for Invicta in all competitions so far this season. But a hat-trick for Chris Smith in South Park’s 3-2 home win over Hastings United on Saturday takes him three goals above Draycott in the race for the Golden Boot.

ATKINS then made it 2-0 in the 62nd minute when he tapped the ball in from close range after substitute Jon Pilbeam had received the ball from Jordan Wright and used his pace to get clear down the right and send over a low ball across goal.

Invicta had kept the same starting eleven that had won both of its Easter weekend games and went on to complete a third successive clean sheet.

Redhill went into the game knowing that they needed a result to realistically have a chance of avoiding finishing in the dreaded bottom three.

The visitors started positively as an eighth minute ball from Sean Kelly found Frankie Sawyer in space and the striker shot wide across goal from the right hand side of the penalty area.

Invicta, though, missed a good chance on the quarter of an hour mark when Wright shot wide of the target after a Dolan ball in from the right hand side had been dummied by Draycott in the middle.

Casey Johnson showed a good piece of skill to set Sawyer up at the other end in the 24th minute but central defender Frankie Chappell slid across to block.

Invicta themselves threatened a minute later when a good Dolan ball put Draycott through but the striker over ran the ball.

Redhill went straight up the other end as Johnson took the ball on but Chappell blocked the subsequent shot.

Dolan played another good ball through on the half an hour mark, this time to Atkins but Kelly did well to get back and avert the danger.

Draycott then shot wide after a 36th minute Josh Vincent ball forward.

Another Vincent ball in from the right during first half stoppage time was headed on by Atkins but Redhill right back Leonardo Mazzone got across to clear before Wright at the far post at the expense of a corner.

Wright curled a 47th minute shot over the crossbar when Nat Blanks played the ball up to him, while Ross Morley shot at Invicta goalkeeper Tim Roberts when Sawyer touched the ball to him inside the penalty area at the other end.

But it was Invicta who took control with their two second half goals.

In between the two goals Tyrone Pink shot wide from the left hand side for Redhill after a Daniel Thomson ball.

Redhill used all three of their substitutes as they looked for a lifeline, while there was a return for Invicta of Simon Austin in place of Micheal Everitt. Whilst a player should not really be praised for not getting a booking, Everitt has been walking a tightrope in recent weeks and here avoided the yellow card that would have resulted in him missing the play off semi final.

A late second goal for Faversham in a 2-0 home win over Horsham keeps Ray Turner’s side ahead of Invicta in second place on goals scored as the two clubs’ goal difference remains the same with two matches to play. Merstham and Whyteleafe are confirmed as the other two (away) clubs in the play offs.

It was an emotional day at Invicta as the club marked the tenth anniversary of Paul Sykes’ tragic death (April 12, 2005) with a minute’s applause before the match with Carly, Thomas and other members of the Sykes family present.

Invicta President, Bill Hewosn, also celebrated his 94th birthday and presented goalscorer Atkins with a man of the match award here before being photographed on the pitch with the team with his own number eleven shirt emblazoned with the name Hewson.

FOLKESTONE INVICTA: Roberts, Vincent, Blanks, Friend, Chappell, Newman, Wright, Dolan (Pilbeam 51 mins), Draycott, Atkins, M. Everitt (Austin 88 mins).  Unused subs: Miller, Palmer, Fender.  

REDHILL: Hughes, Mazzone, Hill, Kelly, Difford (Farmer 65 mins), Olarewaju, Johnson (Regan 61 mins), Morley, Thomson, Sawyer, Pink (Fagg 61 mins).   Unused sub: Beatson. 

Attendance: 285.

Corners: Invicta 5 Redhill 1