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It's not how you start, it's how you finish - late goals turn Tooting trip into glory day for Folkestone



Three goals in the final dozen minutes clinched what had looked an unlikely  3-1 Folkestone victory at Tooting & Mitcham United on Saturday afternoon thanks to strikes by Richard Atkins (left), Frankie Chappell and Paul Booth.

Invicta had fallen behind in the 45th minute at the KNK Stadium when Tooting’s leading goalscorer Dan Summers scored following a corner.

And Neil Cugley’s men could easily have gone 2-0 down just after half-time but Summers blasted over the bar with the goal at his mercy after the ball rebounded back to him off the woodwork.

ATKINS had come on as a substitute for Roland Edge and enjoyed a goalscoring return to the Kent club as he headed in a 79th minute Booth cross from the right in a move involving Jordan Wright and Jon Pilbeam.

Once Atkins had equalised then Invicta looked the more likely winners.

Central defender CHAPPELL (left, below) put them ahead in the 88th minute when Booth touched on a Ronnie Dolan free kick from the left.

And BOOTH himself sealed Invicta’s victory deep into stoppage time with a deft touch over goalkeeper Luke Badiali following strike partner Draycott’s cross from the right.

Invicta had gone into the game with three changes to the side that had drawn 0-0 at home to Whyteleafe the previous Saturday.

Nat Blanks returned from illness to replace Callum Wraight at left back, with Dolan and Edge coming in for Josh Vincent (injured) and Matt Newman (family bereavement), with Jordan Wright at right back.

Micheal Everitt was passed fit to start but soon had to go off which gave Invicta their first real chance to look at recent Romanian signing Flavius Fedor.

In the early exchanges, a Draycott shot deflected up at goalkeeper Badiali when Edge’s pass forward was nodded on by Booth and Wright blocked from Nathan Gordon at the other end after a ball in from home captain David Graves.

The home were making the pace as a 23rd minute Billy Marshall shot was blocked after a move involving Bashiru Alimi and left back Gordon.

Then Alimi played the ball out to Howard Newton on the left five minutes later but the latter’s cross was slightly too high for Summers in the middle and the striker could only make minimal contact with his header.

Newton shot wastefully over the crossbar in the 29th minute when Summers and Saidu Khan worked the ball out to the left.

Invicta won the first corner of the game in the 36th minute when Dolan’s free kick from the right was put out after a foul on Pilbeam.

Tooting keeper Badiali then got across to make an excellent save a minute later to keep out a Pilbeam shot on the turn after a Fedor shot had been charged down.

The home side went straight down the other end and striker Sol Pinnock’s shot warmed goalkeeper Tim Roberts’ hands, with referee Chris Felton going back to book Wright for handball.

Invicta captain Liam Friend blocked in the 40th minute when Gordon shrugged off Chappell after receiving the ball from Lewis Gonsalves.

Tooting’s Marshall was also booked seconds later in the 41st for bundling Friend over as the central defender broke forward.

Sub Fedor took the ball on when Tooting lost possession two minutes later and his dipping 25-yard shot flew just over the crossbar.

Roberts made make an important 44th minute save when the ball fell to Newton.

But Tooting were to open the scoring from the resulting Newton corner from the right as SUMMERS found space and put the ball in the net with a cute finish.

Newton hit a low shot wide within seconds of the restart after the interval and Summers then missed his big chance in the 48th minute when Marshall hit a deft chip against the crossbar.

That proved a big turning point in the game.

Invicta changed things around as Atkins replaced Edge and Pilbeam switched from right to left flank.

Tooting right back Tom Jelley was booked for a late 76th minute challenge on Friend. And within seconds Atkins brought Invicta level.

The 25-year-old has recently returned to the country after travelling the world.

His last appearance for the Folkestone club had been in the 1-0 2012-23 play-off semi final defeat away to Maidstone United when current team-mate Booth had himself come on as a substitute to score the only goal of the night.

Atkins, who had scored on his home debut for Invicta against Whitstable Town was here to score on his ‘second debut’ for the club.

His previous goal for the club had been at Three Bridges in April 2013 when he was deservedly voted Players’ Player of the Year by his team-mates.

Tooting responded to Atkins’ equaliser and Gordon sent a dangerous 84th minute ball across the Invicta box after Pinnock had played the ball out wide.

Draycott hooked over at the other end in the 87th minute after goalkeeper Badiali had punched away a Dolan corner from the left.

Tooting captain Graves was then booked for a foul on Blanks and the free kick led to Invicta’s second goal.

Invicta’s Fedor was also booked in the 90th minute.

Tooting made a double stoppage-time substitution as ex-Hastings striker Frankie Sawyer and Tinashe Nkoma replaced Khan and Jelley in an attempt to salvage the situation.

But it was Invicta who threatened again as Wright cleared and home centre half Gonsalves made a mess of things to leave Booth clean through, but goalkeeper Badiali came out to save.

Graves made a good block when Dolan found Pilbeam on the left and the late, late goal from both, (left) soon completed Invicta’s remarkable turnaround.

Invicta’s unused substitutes George Fender (goalkeeper) and Reece Palmer have fond memories of the KNK Stadium as Palmer scored four goals here in a 6-1 FA Youth Cup win earlier this season.

TOOTING & MITCHAM UNITED: Badiali, Jelley (Nkoma 90), Gordon, Graves, Gonsalves, Alimi, Khan (Sawyer 90), Marshall (Knock 77), Summers, Pinnock, Newton.  Unused subs: Sebuliba, Cheadle

FOLKESTONE INVICTA: Roberts, Dolan, Blanks, Friend, Chappell, Edge (Atkins 67), Wright, Pilbeam, Draycott, Booth, M Everitt (Fedor 19). Unused subs: Palmer, Fender. 

Attendance: 201.

Corners: Tooting 2 Invicta 7