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Super Frank's first minute strike proves so vital as Invicta's play-off place is secured for the fourth season in a row



Neil Cugley’s side had to settle for a point from Saturday’s visit to Worthing despite taking a first minute lead through Frankie Chappell - right - at Woodside Road.

The home side rallied and got their reward during the second half when Jack Cook headed in a 53rd minute Curtis Gayler corner.

A run of three wins in six days had taken Invicta into second place in the Ryman League Division One table, but Faversham Town reclaimed runners up spot as recent signing Stuart King was one of their scorers in a 4-1 win at Walton & Hersham.

Neil Cugley kept the same starting 11 that had picked up those nine points but his options were severely limited by unavailability on the bench.

Worthing had made admission ‘pay what you like’ and were rewarded with a crowd of 446.

It was Invicta that got off to a dream start on Saturday as CHAPPELL hooked in a Ronnie Dolan free kick from the right to find the target with just 57 seconds on the clock.

A seventh minute Ashley Miller shot was lifted wide after a good ball forward from Nat Blanks.

At the other end, Brannon O’Neill found Joe Gromett down the left hand side of the penalty area in the tenth minute but Invicta goalkeeper Tim Roberts claimed the ball well at his near post as the cross came in.

Invicta played themselves into trouble in the 25th minute when Roberts cleared straight to Gayler and Blanks then played Worthing striker Gromett in but the excellent Chappell got across to block and Blanks completed the clearance.

There was a heart in mouth moment for the visitors in the 28th minute when a ball forward released Harvey Sparks and keeper Roberts rushed out and clattered into the Worthing man.

Referee Joe Simpson brandished a yellow card and O’Neill fired over the bar from the free kick as Invicta fans breathed a again.

The home side went close on 32 minutes when O’Neill’s free kick was met by a glancing header wide from captain Matt Hurley after a handball decision against Jordan Wright.

Worthing’s Cook was then booked for a lunging challenge at Matt Newman.

Invicta’s top goalscorer Ian Draycott lifted the ball up and attempted another spectacular strike from outside the penalty area on the right hand side in the 34th minute but this time his shot flew narrowly wide.

The second half was to be end-to-end stuff as Worthing put in a good performance to save the day and Invicta missed several  good chances on the break.

A 48th minute O’Neill corner from the right found Corey Heath in space in a crowded penalty area but the defender couldn’t get enough power on his header.

A good touch from O’Neill found Gromett a minute later but Roberts got down to save at the expense of a corner.

And O’Neill then took the ball into the penalty area but shot wide of the target.

But Worthing continued to go forward as the ball fell to Gromett in the penalty area but man of the match Chappell slid across to avert the danger momentarily at the expense of a corner.

And Gayler’s ball in from the left was headed in by the gigantic COOK.

Josh Vincent (left) was making his 300th appearance for Invicta and the Folkestone right back’s 60th minute ball forward was headed on by captain Liam Friend to fellow defender Chappell on the right and his good ball in towards Draycott couldn’t quite be guided into the net.

Wright and Vincent combined to put Draycott away down the right a minute later and the striker beat Heath before fellow central defender Hurley got across to clear at the expense of a corner. Dolan’s subsequent ball in was met by a firm Chappell header that was cleared off the line.

Miller played the ball back to Dolan in the 67th minute but the midfielder could not get enough power on his shot to beat home goalkeeper Jack Fagan.

Vincent received the ball from Draycott a minute later and played a good ball in that just eluded Wright at the far post.

Invicta had a clear chance in the 71st minute when Newman, Draycott and Everitt were involved before the ball came off a defender to put Dolan through, only for Fagan to save at the expense of a corner.

Worthing nearly went ahead two minutes later when a defence-splitting pass from Cook released Will Hendon and Miceheal Everitt got back to head the ball out for a corner as Sparks waited to knock the ball home at the far post.

Gayler shot wastefully wide in the 78th minute when Cook played the ball in from the right after receiving it from Lawley.

Wright played the ball out to Draycott on the right in the 85th minute and Fagan saved with his feet after Heath blocked an initial shot.

Draycott’s ball in from the right was fired over by Miller seconds later after eluding a crowd of players across goal.

An 88th minute Chappell ball over the home defence was taken down well by Draycott but Fagan made a good instinctive save to deny the visitors a late winner.

There was still time for a final home 90th minute chance when another good Gayler corner from the left hand side was headed over by striker Gromett.

Invicta are now mathematically guaranteed a place in the Ryman League Division One South play offs for the fourth season in a row.

WORTHING: Fagan, Cook (Rance 85), Hendon, Isaacs (Lawley 69), Heath, Hurley, Gayler, Berry, Gromett, O’Neill, Sparks.   Unused subs: Piper, Hallett, Quirke 

FOLKESTONE INVICTA: Roberts, Vincent, Blanks, Friend, Chappell, Newman, Wright, Dolan, Draycott, Miller, M. Everitt.  Unused subs: Pilbeam, Edge, Fender.  

Attendance: 446.

Corners: Worthing 10 Invicta 3