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Ratts needs just six minutes to prove he’s still a legend but there’s very little other cheer for Invicta as their enforced defensive gamble goes seriously wrong



Confidence-dented Invicta suffered only their second home league defeat of the season so far when they slumped to a 3-2 loss against Whitstable Town at The Fullicks Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The reverse comes hot on the heels of a 3-1 midweek defeat away to  successive games and been unbeaten in eight matches since their first home defeat against Three Bridges on November 22.

Invicta had conceded just one goal in five matches but have now leaked eight in their last three matches and the return from injury of captain Liam Friend cannot come soon enough for Neil Cugley’s side.

The manager opted for three at the back, a system that had been employed during the second half at 10-man Burgess Hill after Callum Wraight had been taken off at half time.

Micheal Everitt returned from injury here to replace the absent 17-year-old Wraight who was unavailabl - and Everitt’s younger brother James (pictured) was to make a goalscoring return to the club as a second half substitute after Invicta somehow found themselves short on numbers and James’ current club Ashford United did not have a game.


It is the three-at-the back formation, though, for which this game will be best – or should that read ‘worst’ - remembered.

The return of central defender Friend and the imminent arrival of new striker Ashley Miller from Hythe Town should boost numbers at Invicta and lift spirits at the club as it looks to secure a place in the Ryman League Division One South play offs for a fifth time.

A fifth minute Jon Pilbeam shot from the right was blocked for the game’s first corner on a heavy pitch and Pilbeam was denied by an offside flag after Ronnie Dolan’s pass found the wide man free two minutes later.

Jordan Wright then took the ball on after receiving it from Matt Newman but fired wide of the target in the ninth minute.

At the other end, the talented Scott Heard’s cross-cum-shot from the right of the penalty box hit the top of the crossbar and went out for a goal kick three minutes later.

There was a scare for Invicta in the 13th minute when the ball came back towards Town’s Tom Loynes and home keeper Tim Roberts had to come out and head clear before Luke Girt could plant it into the net.

Loynes cut in from the right hand side after receiving the ball from Heard on the quarter hour but his shot deflected off Invicta captain Frankie Chappell for the visitors’ first corner of the game.

The ball then came back off the outside of the Invicta post for a goalkick after Peter Wedgeworth’s corner from the right.


Roberts produced a good reflex save to deny Kane Rowland a minute later when MacKenzie crossed to the far post from the right hand side.

Invicta went straight back up the other end and Ian Draycott fired over when a Newman effort rebounded back out to him following Wright’s ball in from the left.

And it was the visitors who opened the scoring on the half hour when Aaron James intercepted pass forward by Newman ball and found the dangerous Heard whose low throughball sent one-time Folkestone player Ian PULMAN away and the Whitstable captain and top goalscorer took the ball past Roberts before putting it into the empty net.

Invicta responded as Draycott played the ball through and Plibeam used his pace to get clear but defender Luke Doherty got back to make a saving tackle.

Newman showed good skill when Dolan played him in down the left and the former’s 37thminute ball across goal only needed a touch but the chance went astray.

Loynes broke and played the ball across towards Pulman in the middle but Invicta’s left back – of left-sided defender in this formation - Nat Blanks – who celebrated his 27th birthday on Friday, got across smartly to avert the danger.

Josh Vincent’s attempted clearance let Loynes in two minutes later but the fit-again Micheal Everitt got back to save the situation - if not the day - against his former club.

Heard combined with Rowland just after half time and the ball across goal went past Invicta’s far post, while home striker Richard Atkins shot wide when the ball came out to him at the other end.

Top scorer Draycott then fired over from the edge of the penalty area after an Atkins touch in the 51st minute.

And Invicta were level on the hour when the eager WRIGHT (left) was alert to put the ball into the net at the second attempt after when initial shot came back off the post after he’d been found by fellow midfielder Newman.

Everitt’s shot then came back out to Newman whose own well-struck effort was blocked by centre-back Luke Doherty.

But Whitstable restored their lead in the 66th minute when Heard played the ball through to MacKENZIE on the right and the full back drilled it across goal and into the net.

And the buoyant Oystermen increased their lead 13 minutes from the end of normal time when Heard’s[ corner from the left was nodded on and headed in by ex-Sittingbourne and Ramsgate journeyman Nick TREADWELL at the far post.

Recently married substitute James ‘Ratty’ EVERITT, who had replaced the unusually ineffective Pilbeam six minutes from  time, marked his cameo return to Invicta colours by making it 3-2 deep into stoppage time when he lifted the ball into the net with a neat finish to reduce the deficit as the game moved into added time.

"Young" Everitt – an Invicta ‘legend’ in his own right – thus became the 16th different Invicta player to score for the club so far this season after an incredible 19 different players had scored last season.

It was ‘Ratty’ Everitt’s 70th goals for the club on the 50th occasion on which he had come on as a substitute for Invicta.

(After a stat like that, we all need a serious;y long lie down - thanks Richard! - Web Editor)

Such a shame it did nothing to alter the destination of the points, but that was hardly the goalscorer’s fault!!

Like his elder brother Micheal, James is also a former Whitstable player.

Referee Michael Lowe was not called upon to use any of his cards in what was never a seriously ‘dirty’ game.

Striker Connor Coyne watched from the sidelines as he was unable to take part in the action as part of his loan move from Whitstable Town to Invicta that lasts for the rest of the season.

This was Whitstable’s first league victory at Invicta since the late 1990s, and – if we’re brutally honest – a win that Jimmy Ward’s more than useful side thoroughly deserved on the day.

FOLKESTONE INVICTA: Roberts, Vincent, Blanks, M. Everitt (Fedor 76 mins), Chappell, Newman, Wright, Pilbeam (J Everitt 84 mins), Draycott, Atkins, Dolan.  Unused subs: Edge, Fender. 

WHITSTABLE TOWN: Watkins, MacKenzie, Wedgeworth, James, Doherty, Treadwell, Heard, Girt, Pulman (Donnelly 72 mins), Rowland, Loynes (Gray7 50 mins). Unused subs: Crimmen, Lee, Brooks. 

Attendance: 301.

Corners: Invicta 9 Whitstable 3