Dr Martens League Eastern Division leaders Tonbridge Angles were beaten for the second successive Saturday as Folkestone Invicta took all three points from Saturday’s big Kent derby at the Longmead Stadium.
Tonbridge’s 17-match unbeaten start to the season had come to an end with a 4-1 defeat away to King’s Lynn the previous Saturday. And their unbeaten home league run went as second half goals from Anthony Hogg and Mark Munday gave the visitors victory after Nick Barnes had opened the scoring within 35 seconds of the second half.
In what always had the feel of a big game, BARNES opened the scoring with a well-struck lob over goalkeeper Tony Kessell from the right hand side of the box following a one-two with substitute Lyndon Rowland, who had only come on at half time.
But Invicta were level in the 66th minute when Paul Lamb’s corner from the right was only partially cleared by Tony Dolby and planted into the net by HOGG from the left hand side of the area.
Hogg had been a major doubt after sustaining a knee injury during Invicta’s midweek Dr Martens Cup win over Chelmsford City, but showed great energy throughout as he played in an advanced role as support to lone striker James Dryden.
Dryden himself gave a typically tireless display as Invicta compensated for the considerable loss of injured top goalscorer Allan Tait (hamstring).
And the visitors took all three points as MUNDAY volleyed home when a free kick from the right was headed out and then played back in to the experienced midfielder.
The goal came as Tonbridge re-adjusted when defender Ryan Royston went off injured to be replaced by striker Brendon Cass, with Ray Powell switching back from attack and substitute John Beales moving across to centre half.
This was an open, end-to-end game from the start.
Tonbridge went into the match without the suspended Sam Tydeman, but had an early chance when Powell shot into the side netting when put through as early as the second minute.
Invicta goalkeeper Kessell recovered to save with his feet from Hamid Barr in the fifth minute after clearing the ball straight to the Tonbridge man after coming out to thwart Powell when a good ball from Barnes put the striker through again.
It was a lively start to the encounter as Tonbridge defender Royston went unpunished despite bringing down Dryden when Hogg put him through after eight minutes and Drew Watkins hit the subsequent free-kick just wide.
Kessell had to get down to save after ten minutes when Barr found Steve Searl down the right hand side and his cross deflected off Invicta defender Adam Flanagan.
Hogg didn’t get enough power on his shot after breaking into the box in the 18th minute and Tonbridge goalkeeper Jamie Turner did well to touch Dryden’s shot away after 32 minutes when the striker cut in from the left after a Hogg ball and Watkins blasted the rebound over.
At the other end, Craig Roser’s left wing cross deflected dangerously out for a corner following a Peter Overton ball after 36 minutes.
Barnes’ goal right at the start of the second half put Tonbridge in the driving seat.
Invicta responded as Martin Chandler shot low at goalkeeper Turner from outside the penalty area when the visitors won their first corner of the game after 51 minutes.
Royston’s header was cleared from close to the Invicta line when Barr whipped in a free-kick from the left after 53 minutes and Powell tested Kessell from the edge of the penalty area a minute later.
Tonbridge goalkeeper Turner saved with his feet from Dryden when Hogg’s ball came across goal from left to right to the striker at the far post after 56 minutes.
Dryden then headed wide when Lamb sent the ball over from the right a minute later.
Hogg’s equaliser led to a good spell for Invicta as they began to look increasingly dangerous going forward.
Turner saved well from Chandler when the midfielder cut in from the left and let fly following a great ball from James Millar after 69 minutes and Hogg couldn’t quite convert Dryden’s right wing cross at the far post after 72 minutes following a mistake by Royston from a Kessell clearance.
Invicta dug in for victory after Munday put them ahead. There were a couple of scares along the way as the ball looped up off an Invicta defender and over the crossbar after 86 minutes and former Invicta defender Andy Larkin shot over when Overton’s ball fell to him on the right hand side of the penalty area in the 88th minute.
There were bookings for Tonbridge’s Barnes, Powell, Royston and Rowland and for Invicta’s Flanagan, Chandler and Hogg.
TONBRIDGE ANGELS: Turner, Barnes (Beales 66 mins), Roser, Dolby, Larkin, Royston (Cass 77 mins), Searl, Overton, Powell, Barr, Piscina (Rowland 45 mins). Unused subs: Hume, Hodge.
FOLKESTONE INVICTA: Kessell, Watkins, Lamb, Flanagan, Guest, Hogg, Chandler (Everitt 76 mins), Munday, Dryden, Lindsey, Millar. Unused subs: Blackman, Winfield, Knott, Holdway.