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Neil Cugley’s 600th league match as manager of Folkestone Invicta ended in frustration as the home side had a late penalty appeal turned down in a goalless draw against Faversham Town at the Buzzlines Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Cugley, who took over at Invicta during the summer of 1997, was clearly incensed as nothing was given when Josh Burchell appeared to have his standing foot taken away from him by right back Ashley Brown after Darren Smith had played an 85th minute ball over the Faversham defence.
Things could then have got worse for Invicta as the visitors missed their chance to take all three points when captain Tom Hickman shot against the crossbar and over for a goal kick from just a yard out during stoppage time when Aaron Quain played the ball across from the right hand side.
Both the game’s major incidents thus came in the closing minutes after both defences had been in control in contrast to Tuesday night when Invicta won 3-2 after extra time at Faversham in the Kent Senior Cup.
Invicta went into the game having scored 13 goals in their previous four matches in four different competitions but were unable to create many clear cut chances against a stubborn Faversham defence.
The Folkestone side had Roland Edge and Simon Austin back in the starting eleven in place of Liam Dickson and Ryan Moreby from the side that had won in midweek.
Faversham’s Adrian Stone was given on-side in the ninth minute and his shot warmed Invicta goalkeeper Jack Delo’s hands after a Damian Abel ball.
But chances were few and far between during the first half, though Invicta central defender Liam Friend had to make a saving tackle in the 24th minute when Abel squared the ball to Stone to give his striking partner a clear chance.
At the other end, smith shot just over the crossbar from the edge of the penalty area in the 34th minute.
Invicta had to replace injured captain Micheal Everitt early in the second half, with Dickson coming on at left back and Edge moving up into midfield as the home side persevered with a 4-3-3 formation.
Quain was sent clear in space down the left hand side by Dale Skelton in the 58th minute but his ball across goal came in behind the strikers in the middle and Dickson was able to clear from Justin Ascheri and gain a free kick in the process.
Stone then shot well wide across goal from the left hand side two minutes later when Skelton won the ball and played it forward.
Invicta had struggled to find a way round Matt Bourne and the centre half blocked a James Everitt shot following a 66th minute Smith corner on the left and a Burchell shot then deflected off Bourne and into the hands of Faversham goalkeeper Rob French.
Centre half Frankie Chappell had a chance to put the home side ahead in the 70th minute but headed over following another Smith corner on the left.
Invicta had not won a single corner in the 120 minutes at Faversham on Tuesday night, while Faversham had to wait until the 75th minute to win their only corner of the game on Saturday.
Smith then put a free kick just wide from the left hand edge of the penalty area as the stalemate continued.
Invicta reverted to 4-4-2 when Morebt replaced Austin for the closing stages.
Stone shot wide when Quain threaded the ball through after Invicta had lost possession in the 79th minute.
At the other end, left back Sam Gore cleared three minutes later when Richard Atkins threatened to capitalise on Burchell’s ball in from the left.
Burchell was then a central figure in the late ‘penalty’ incident that was to end up the main talking point.
Smith threatened to find an opening for Invicta down the right hand side of the penalty area in the 88th minute in a move also involving Moreby and Chappell but found the angle too tight after going round French and had to settle for a corner.
And Invicta then survived Hickman’s last gasp miss as the visitors came close to securing a smash-and-grab victory.
The result leaves Invicta unbeaten throughout the month of October, with five clean sheets in their seven matches.
FOLKESTONE INVICTA: Delo, Vincent, Burchell, Friend, Chappell, Edge, Smith, Atkins, J. Everitt, Austin (Moreby 76 mins), M. Everitt (Dickson 50 mins). Unused subs: Mortimer, Bondongwe, Hayward.
FAVERSHAM TOWN: French, Brown, Gore, Hickman, Peacock, Bourne, Ascheri, Skelton, Stone (Botterill 85 mins), Abel, Quain. Unused subs: Hamshare, Dawodu, Ellett, Ellis.