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Folkestone Invicta returned to action and winning ways with an emphatic 4-0 win away to Merstham in the Ryman League Division One South on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Surrey.
Fit again striker Richard Atkins opened the scoring during the first half and the visitors ran away with things during the second half as a Gareth Graham own goal, James Everitt and Simon Austin added to the tally at Weldon Way.
Atkins returned to first team action after dislocating his collarbone in a home F. A. Cup tie against Whyteleafe at the start of September and added more attacking options to Invicta in a 4-3-3 formation.
The 22-year-old striker was soon in the action as he could not direct a second minute Darren Smith free kick from the left towards goal and then could not quite take advantage two minutes later when Frankie Chappell met a Smith corner on the left.
And it was ATKINS who put Invicta ahead in the 16th minute when his header glanced into the corner of the net after James Everitt had nodded on a Josh Vincent cross from the right.
It was Atkins’ second goal in consecutive league matches, albeit six weeks apart!
At the other end, Invicta central defender Liam Friend got back to comfortably clear from the line when home striker Harry Ottaway put the ball over Jack Delo after his initial lob had been blocked.
Atkins threatened again in the 35th minute but lost control of the ball after racing past Nathan Simpson to latch onto a James Everitt through ball and Smith poked the ball wide seconds later after a great ball from Austin.
Atkins then lobbed the ball onto the roof of the net in the 37th minute after a through ball from captain Micheal Everitt.
Chappell cleared at the expense of a corner a minute later when he beat Ottaway to Merstham captain Adam Moriarty’s ball in from the right in a move also involving centre half Adam Broomhead and Sam Tucknott.
And Invicta left back Roland Edge blocked an Ottaway shot when Simpson’s cross from the left fell to him at the far post during first half stoppage time.
Ottaway headed over when Roscoe Dsane played the ball out to Simpson on the left and the ball came in within a minute of the second half.
Merstham’s best chance of the game came in the 49th minute when Invicta goalkeeper Delo did well to deny Tucknott with his feet at the expense of a corner at the far post after an Omar Folkes ball in when Broomhead played the ball out of defence.
A 54th minute Graham free kick from the left hand side just needed a touch in the middle as it came across the Invicta goal after a foul by Vincent on Folkes.
But the rest of the game belonged to Invicta as Josh Burchell hit a low shot wide of the far post in the 63rd minute after a James Everitt ball out to the left when Dean Hamlin failed to deal with a Smith ball out of defence.
Smith then shot at Michael Lidbury when the home goalkeeper cleared the ball straight to him three minutes later.
It was 2-0 in the 69th minute when GRAHAM turned the ball into his own goal after James Everitt had shown good footwork to get into the penalty area after a Vincent throw in from the right.
Invicta increased their lead further just a minute later when EVERITT was instrumental again as he cut in from the left and his shot deflected bin off Hamlin.
Graham hit a 75th minute free kick at Delo after a foul on Ottaway in a central position on the edge of the penalty area.
But Lidbury had to save at the expense of a corner t keep out an Atkins shot two minutes later when Austin played the ball through after Edge had played the ball forward from the left hand side.
An 80th minute Austin shot flashed past the far post from the left hand side of the penalty area as Invicta were completely in control.
And AUSTIN completed the scoring in the 86th minute when he rolled the ball into the net after James Everitt had squared the ball to him when Smith played it forward.
It was Austin’s first goal for Invicta since re-joining the club on a temporary basis from neighbours Hythe Town.
The visitors could afford the luxury of making a late triple substitution as Liam Dickson, Ryan Moreby and Cade Mortimer all got a run out.
There were second half bookings for Merstham’s Broomhead and for Invicta’s Smith.
MERSTHAM: Lidbury, Moriarty, Simpson, Graham, Broomhead, Hamlin, Folkes (Walters 73 mins), Clark (Thompson 54 mins), Ottaway, Dsane, Tucknott (Ankle 67 mins).
FOLKESTONE INVICTA: Delo, Vincent, Burchell, Friend, Chappell, Edge (Dickson 85 mins), Smith (Moreby 85 mins), Atkins (Mortimer (85 mins), J. Everitt, Austin, M. Everitt. Unused sub: Hayward.