Thursday 01st September 2005

The shape of things to come for Invicta?

Erith & Belvedere 0-4 Folkestone Invicta
            Thursday 1 January 2004
            Dr Martens League Eastern Division
            by Richard Murrill

Folkestone Invicta began the New Year in style with an emphatic 4-0 win away to Erith & Belvedere at Park View road in Welling.

Neil Cugley’s side turned on the style as they raced into an early 2-0 lead thanks to two goals from Allan Tait, but will be concerned that their leading goalscorer limped off during the second half with a recurrence of the hamstring injury which kept him out for three matches before Christmas.

Defenders Scott Lindsey and John Guest also limped off during the closing stages as Invicta finished the match with ten men and will be hoping that the injuries clear up as they face a hectic schedule over the coming weeks.

The Folkestone side welcomed back Drew Watkins at right back following his recent eye socket injury as he came in for the suspended Martin Chandler and the visitors dominated from the start.

Anthony Hogg wasted an early chance as he shot wide after five minutes when Watkins and Tait combined to put him through.

Tait then shot wide across goal a minute later when striking partner James Dryden nodded on a clearance from goalkeeper Tony Kessell.

And TAIT duly opened the scoring after eight minutes with a vintage goal. The striker demonstrated his undoubted class with an excellent first touch to take himself away from a defender and drilled a low shot into the corner of the net from a Watkins pass.

It was all Invicta as a Paul Lamb free kick was headed narrowly wide of his own post by an Erith defender after 14 minutes as the visitors forced the game’s first corner.

And TAIT made it 2-0 after 15 minutes when he diverted a Dryden cross-shot from the right into the net with a diving header after Dryden had combined well with Watkins.

Erith’s leading goalscorer Akpo Sodje headed wide from Steve Sodje’s left wing cross after 17 minutes.

But at the other end, home goalkeeper Jani Seitsonen did well to keep out a Hogg shot after 18 minutes and Seitsonen saved from Mark Munday when the midfiedler met Lamb’s free kick from the right after 25 minutes.

Steve Sodje took advantage of a slip from Watkins after 26 minutes, but Invicta captain Lindsey was there to intercept when the Erith man squared the ball across goal from the left.

Invicta goalkeeper Kessell made an excellent one-handed save to deny Darren Adams when a Ryan Briggs ball was allowed to reach the former Dover Athletic striker after 33 minutes.

A Lamb free kick from the right was touched over for a corner by Seitsonen following a foul on Tait after 38 minutes.

And the first half ended with Adams shooting just wide from outside of the penalty area.

Any hopes Erith had of staging a second half comeback evaporated with another good Invicta goal after 47 minutes.

Dryden sent Tait racing away down the left and the striker’s cross was converted in the middle by the in-coming HOGG.

One-time Invicta player Briggs shot at Kessell after 50 minutes and Akpo Sodje shot wide with a good chance from the edge of the penalty area after 59 minutes when a chip across from the left was headed back out to him.

When Tait pulled up injured after 68 minutes it took some of the gloss of what was an excellent all-round team performance from Invicta.

Lindsey became the game’s first booking for a foul on Steve Sodje after 70 minutes, but the captain was soon himself down receiving treatment and it takes a lot to keep him down.

Erith’s Adams was booked for a foul on Guest after 82 minutes as things began to get a bit silly towards the end.

But ten-men Invicta were not finished yet and they struck again after 86 minutes when substitute James MILLAR hit a powerful 25-yard free kick from the right flank which beat everybody and flew straight into the net at the far post.

Erith’s Keith Winchcombe shot against the post from the left hand side of the box during stoppage time, but the home side were well beaten.

ERITH & BELVEDERE: Seitsonen, Aboagye, Roberts, Penfold (Emerick 73 mins), Tarrant (Abbott 21 mins), Winchcombe, S. Sodje, Vercesi (Gibson 65 mins), Adams, A. Sodje, Briggs.  Unused subs: Payne, Whitehouse.

FOLKESTONE INVICTA: Kessell, Watkins (Everitt 65 mins), Lamb, Flanagan, Guest, Hogg, Hambley, Munday, Dryden, Tait (Millar 68 mins), Lindsey (Winfield 78 mins).  Unused subs: Dyson, Egan.

Attendance: 241.

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