|Burgess Hill Town||2 :||2||
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Folkestone Invicta threw away two points as they were pegged back by nine-men Burgess Hill Town after leading 2-0 at Leylands Park.
The visitors seemed to be in total control as goals from Darren Marsden and Stuart King put them ahead when it was still eleven against eleven.
Substitute Max Miller pulled a goal back in the 61st minute but the home side’s chances of saving the day seemed to have gone when they had both Marc Munday and Miller sent off.
But Fred Foreman equalised for the Hillians and Invicta were unable to force a late winner.
Other results went Invicta’s way but this was still a frustrating afternoon for the Folkestone side as their run of seven successive Ryman League Division One South games came to an end.
MARSDEN had opened the scoring in the 43rd minute with his first goal for the club when he hit a great 25-yard strike after a Josh Burchell corner from the right had eventually come back out to him.
Fellow former Herne Bay player KING made it 2-0 in the 52nd minute when he shot across goal into the far corner of the net from the left hand side of the penalty area after good work from Burchell.
It was King’s 17th goal in just 15 starts for Invicta since joining the club during the summer.
MILLER pulled a goal back just a minute after coming on as a substitute when he hit the ball across goal from the right hand side of the box after a pass from captain Lloyd Cotton.
The home side then had debutant Munday sent off in the 67th minute for a second yellow card following a foul on James Everitt.
Munday had earlier been booked in the 52nd minute when referee Daniel Robathan went back to book him in a break of play for another foul on Everitt.
Miller was then given a straight red card in the 71st minute for a challenge on Josh Vincent as the substitute and goalscorer had an eventual 12-minute appearance.
But the nine-men made it 2-2 in the 79th minute when FOREMAN headed in Tyrone Berry’s cross from the right hand side at the far post.
And Invicta were unable to find another breakthrough as they went in urgent search of a late winner.
Invicta had earlier gone in search of an early breakthrough as King shot wide across goal from the right hand side of the penalty area as early as the third minute when the home side made a mess of getting the ball clear.
Darren Smith then fired wide across goal from the right hand side in an 18th minute move also involving King, James Everitt and Burchell.
And Burchell shot wide from the edge of the penalty area two minutes later when Vincent played the ball up to King.
Frankie Chappell shot at home goalkeeper Joel Harding in the 23rd minute after a James Everitt shot had been blocked by a defender when Vincent put the ball in from the right.
Everitt then failed to head the ball in from close range six minutes later after a Smith ball over to Burchell on the left.
It had been all Invicta up until then but the home side rallied as captain Cotton hit a low shot at Invicta goalkeeper Jack Delo following a throw in on the right.
Cotton then shot wide from just outside the penalty area in the 32nd minute after receiving the ball from Foreman.
Delo had to get up to catch Berry’s shot towards the far post from the right two minutes later after another Foreman ball.
A 35th minute Berry shot went out for a throw in after striker Pat Harding broke against a stretched Invicta defence.
Delo got up to save a Foreman header a minute later after a Cotton ball in from the left.
But Marsden’s sweet strike put Invicta ahead.
Goalkeeper Delo then had to touch a Cotton shot from outside the penalty area over the crossbar for a corner in the 44th minute.
When King made it 2-0 early in the second half Invicta were well on their way to an eighth successive victory.
Burgess Hill goalkeeper Harding saved when King made room for himself in the 54th minute and also kept out Marsden’s follow up.
Substitute Miller then made an instant impact to bring the home side back into the game.
But when both Munden and Miller were both sent off within a five-minute period there appeared to be no way back for Burgess Hill as they had to play the final 20 minutes with only nine men.
Foreman’s equaliser, however, rocked Invicta and brought the sides level again.
Invicta responded by bringing on striker Simon Austin for defender Liam Dickson, with Liam Friend moving across to left back in what was now a three-man defence.
An 83rd minute Vincent shot was blocked for a corner after an Austin ball in from the right and a Burchell shot flashed past the post a minute later after another Austin ball.
The visitors’ last chance to win the game came and went deep into stoppage time when Chappell could not force the ball in from close range when Marsden played the ball to King on the left hand side of the penalty area.
As well as the two sendings off, there were second half bookings for Burgess Hill’s Foreman, Berry and Neil Watts and for Invicta defenders Friend and Vincent.
It had been Invicta who had finished with nine men when they lost 2-1 at Burgess Hill in January 2009 after both Chappell and Kieran Byrne had been sent off for two yellow card offences.
BURGESS HILL TOWN: J Harding, White, Eduesi, Munday, Poole, Watts, Foreman, Cotton, P Harding, Berry (Melia 79 mins), Hayward (Miller 59 mins). Unused subs: Awuah, Bankole, Lockyer.
FOLKESTONE INVICTA: Delo, Vincent, Burchell, Friend, Chappell, Dickson (Austin 81 mins), Smith, King, J. Everitt, Marsden, M. Everitt. Unused subs: Edge, Atkins.