|Whitstable Town||0 :||1||
Folkestone Invicta began 2012 with another victory as an 88th minute goal from Josh Burchell secured all three points away to injury hit Whitstable Town at The D&J Tyres Belmont Ground on Bank Holiday Monday afternoon.
Burchell’s late strike made it seven successive Ryman League Division One South wins for Neil Cugley’s side and this latest win was reminiscent of their promotion-winning season on 2009-10 when Invicta won several of their games 1-0 thanks to late goals.
The all-important goal came as BURCHELL hit a great strike into the corner of the net after a Stuart King ball from the right hand side of the penalty area.
Up until then it had been a frustrating afternoon for Invicta as they chased a breakthrough but perhaps felt the effects of playing a second game in three days either side of the New Year.
The visitors made one change to their starting line up as captain Micheal Everitt came back in for Roland Edge on a sunny but cold afternoon.
Whitstable themselves had ten players missing from their squad.
And it was Invicta who made the early running as central defender Frankie Chappell shot wide in the middle of the penalty area in the fifth minute after a Liam Dickson ball in from the left.
A tenth minute Darren Smith shot was then saved by home goalkeeper Jack Smelt after Burchell had put the ball through the middle.
Former Whitstable hero King then tried an audacious chip five minutes later after showing some good footwork inside the penalty area when Smith provided him with the ball.
King then curled an 18th minute shot over the crossbar after striking partner James Everitt headed the ball on.
At the other end, Whitstable’s top goalscorer and captain Stuart Vahid could not quite force the ball in when centre half George Benner met Gary Sayer’s 20th minute free kick from the right after a foul by Dickson.
Chris Axford then did not make the most of his chance for The Oystermen two minutes later when he hit a low shot at Invicta goalkeeper Jack Delo after Scott Heard had broke down the right.
Invicta then had further chances of their own as Smith blasted over when the ball fell to him inside the penalty area in the 33rd minute and Josh Vincent fired wide four minutes later when a home defender headed a Dickson cross from the left into his path.
It was right back Vincent’s 150th starting appearance for Invicta.
James Morrish shot wide for Whitstable with the last touch of the first half when Heard played the ball to Vahid on the right hand side and the latter crossed.
A 49th minute Vahid shot briefly threatened to beat Delo after a Joe Hitchings ball.
Burchell shot over for Invicta and captain Micheal Everitt was wide with a 54th minute back-heel after a Smith corner on the left.
Chappell headed at Smelt after a 64th minute Smith corner on the left and Smith fired a shot at Smelt from the edge of the box three minutes later as Invicta continued to go forward.
Whitstable substitute Josh James was just unable to get on the end of Morrish’s 69th minute cross from the right in a move also involving Hitchings.
Chappell then had to slide across to beat James to the ball in the 74th minute when Heard broke after an Invicta attack at the other end.
Vahid then headed over a Morrish cross from the right four minutes later.
But it was then Invicta who went in search of a late winner.
Smith headed wide a 79th minute Vincent cross after a King run down the right and King shot over a minute later as the stalemate continued.
An 82nd minute King free kick was deflected for a corner after a foul by Hitchings on James Everitt and Chappell shot over a minute later when her himself had initially met a Vincent ball in.
Chappell had to block from Morrish at the other end in the 87th minute when the latter had initially turned inside him as the home side threatened a late smash-and-grab victory having not won a corner throughout.
But Burchell’s second goal in three days gave Invicta the result that they wanted to move up into third place.
There were bookings for Whitstable’s Heard and for Invicta captain Everitt.
WHITSTABLE TOWN: Smelt, G. Sayer, Brown (L. Heard 65 mins), Hamshare, Benner, Thompson, S. Heard, Hitchings, Vahid (Keybe 88 mins), Axford (James 56 mins), Morrish. Unused subs: N. Sayer, Hadlow.
FOLKESTONE INVICTA: Delo, Vincent, Burchell, Friend, Chappell, Dickson, Smith, King, J. Everitt (Austin 83 mins), Marsden (Atkins 69 mins), M. Everitt. Unused subs: Edge, Mortimer, Hayward.