King's hat-trick ensures play-off spot
A second-half hat-trick by Stuart King saw Folkestone crush a useful Chipstead side 4-1 on a bright but showery afternoon in the Surrey countryside on Saturday – a result that ensures both fourth place in Ryman One South and involvement in the end of season play-offs for Invicta.
After a somewhat scrappy opening half hour, Frankie Chappell cleverly steered home the opener on 39 minutes after a fine free-flowing move from the visitors.
King made it 2-0 not long after the break but Chipstead pulled back to 2-1 and for a while looked mildly threatening.
But terrific work from Ratty Everitt ended with a short cross from the left and King crashed the ball past keeper Martin Grant to ease any nerves among visiting players or supporters.
And a stoppage time fourth goal from the Ryman One South’s leading goalscorer completed his second league hat-trick of the season to go with his four goals in the Boxing Day romp against Hythe.
In two previous visits to Chipstead, Invicta had not scored a goal – drawing 0-0 and losing 1-0 to the modest Surrey side.
The afternoon was slightly marred by a serious injury to former Invicta youth-team striker Luke Coleman who was taken off with a suspected broken leg after an innocuous incident early in the game.
Coleman made FA Cup history when he scored twice as a 16-year-old substitute for Folkestone in early rounds cup-tie at Raynes Park Vale several seasons ago. At the time he became the youngest player ever to score in the world’s oldest club cup competition.
Naturally everyone at Invicta wishes him well.
In the fixtures involving the other top six sides, Maidstone’s shock 3-2 defeat at Walton Casuals leaves them with a great deal to do if they want to overtake Godalming for the final play-off spot – leaving the Stones three points behind Godalming and with an inferior goal difference.
Long-time leaders Bognor Regis may also have blown their title chances after they were held to a 1-1 draw by unpredictable Walton & Hersham at Nyewood Lane.
The Rocks must now visit Maidstone on the notorious Bourne Park pitch next Saturday.
At this moment they lie in third place and would be at home to Folkestone in the play-off semi-finals on Tuesday, May 1.
Whitehawk now look like possible champions after their 3-0 away win over Corinthian Casuals while current second-place side, Dulwich Hamlet overcame Faversham 3-1 at Champion Hill.
And Godalming strengthened their hopes of finishing fifth with a 3-1 win at Sittingbourne.
Ryman One South (up to April 21) -
1, Whitehawk, P39, 87pts, GD +52
2, Dulwich Hamlet, P39, 86pts, GD +48
3, Bognor Regis Town, P39, 85pts, +65
4, Folkestone Invicta, P40, 76pts, GD +29
5, Godalming Town, P39, 70pts, GD +22
6, Maidstone United, P39, 67pts, GD +20
Remaining fixtures involving top six sides –
Saturday, April 28: Burgess Hill Town v Dulwich Hamlet; Godalming Town v Eastbourne Town; Maidstone United v Bognor Regis Town; Whitehawk v Chipstead
· Travel manager John Law is already ‘taking names’ for coaches to the play-off semis – though of course, we do not know where to at this moment in time!!
For further information please contact The Lawman on 07957 688435. It is anticipated that there will be an early coach for the team, officials and those supporters able to make the earlier time, and a later one purely for supporters - John will clarify the position and possible departure times, cost etc.