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A 66th minute own goal from Hassan Nyang gave Folkestone Invicta all three points from their first visit to Crawley Down on Saturday afternoon.
The unfortunate NYANG headed into his own net when Darren Smith played the ball in from the left hand side after a short corner.
It proved enough to settle what could hardly be described as a classic encounter at The Haven Centre as in football-speak Invicta ‘won ugly’ to maintain their good start to the season.
Nyang had scored both of Crawley Down’s goals in the Ryman League Division One South this season and had scored in the home club’s previous three matches before his own goal on Saturday.
The home club has found life tough in the Ryman League after winning the Sussex County League last season, having now lost their opening five matches.
But they have brought in former Crawley and Horsham manager John Maggs to help out at the club alongside manager Darren Guirey and brought in a handful of new players that led to a F. A. Cup win at home to Farnham Town.
As they had done at Whyteleafe in the F. A. Cup in midweek and in many of their matches during their promotion-winning season of 2009-10, Invicta found a way to win when not firing on all cylinders.
With Liam Dickson available, Invicta opted for a 3-5-2 formation with Josh Vincent and Josh Burchell pushed further forward out wide.
Chances were few and far between during the first half as Invicta goalkeeper Jack Delo got down to a save a 25-yard Brannon O’Neill free kick on the quarter of an hour mark.
For Invicta, striker Stuart King over-ran the ball in the 42nd minute when he went round goalkeeper Mark Zawadski after a James Everitt through ball and Smith shot over two minutes later when King touched the ball back after Burchell had played a good ball into the penalty area.
Invicta came out with a greater sense of purpose after the interval but on a bumpy pitch and long grass, former Horsham goalkeeper Zawadski did not have to make a noteworthy save from the visitors all afternoon.
The home side themselves never looked like scoring which meant that one goal was always likely to be decisive.
Invicta defender Dickson had to get across to dispossess Billy Dunn in the 52nd minute when the home striker combined with Nick Sullivan and benefited when the ball came off Roland Edge.
At the other end, Dickson then headed just wide from a 57th minute Smith corner on the left.
A Dunn shot deflected off Invicta central defender Liam Friend for a corner when the home side broke through Nyang in the 64th minute, but Nyang’s own goal soon broke the stalemate.
Invicta striker King then shot over in the 72nd minute when Dickson and James Everitt combined to put him through on his last appearance before an operation on his arm.
Crawley Down substitute Clovis Kizza shot over in the 75th minute after receiving the ball from Dunn on the right hand side, while an 83rd minute shot from Invicta substitute Andrew Miller deflected off Guy Harding for a corner.
The home side’s last chance came deep into stoppage time when Dunn shot tamely at Delo from the left hand side of the penalty area.
CRAWLEY DOWN: Zawadski, Dodd (Harding 68 mins), O’Neill, Jones, Saunders, Nyang, Graham (Kizza 59 mins), Swetman, Senola (Cane 84 mins), Dunn, Sullivan. Unused subs: Payne, Frankland.
FOLKESTONE INVICTA: Delo, Vincent, Burchell (Miller 75 mins), Friend, Chappell, Edge, Smith (Moreby 84 mins), M. Everitt, J. Everitt (Blewden 90 mins), Dickson, King,. Unused subs: Hollyoak, Guiver.