Bromley 2-3 Folkestone Invicta - It's a chance to be in with the big boys, says proud Folkestone Invicta manager Paul Stanton

Thursday 06th October 2016
Bromley 2 – 3 Folkestone Invicta
Location Hayes Lane, Bromley, Kent BR2 9EF
Kickoff 06/10/2016 19:45

The FA Youth Cup Second Qualifying Round
Thursday 6th October 2016
Stephen McCartney reports from Hayes Lane

FOLKESTONE INVICTA manager Paul Stanton says it’s a great achievement to be improve on last season’s run in The FA Youth Cup.

Folkestone Invicta sealed a deserved 3-2 victory in front of 102 spectators at Hayes Lane to take their place in tomorrow’s final qualifying round draw.

They took the lead inside the opening six minutes through first teamer Euan Sahadow’s penalty, but watching first team manager Neil Cugley saw his young striker carried off on a stretcher with an Achilles injury at the end, which saw referee Christopher Myatt play 12 minutes and 28 seconds of injury time.

Bromley equalised on the stroke of half-time through winger Kenneth Roberts, before the Ravens took the lead through central midfielder Fidan Fejzi.

But the decision to take off Bromley’s best player, holding midfielder Sonny Prior, proved costly as two mistakes helped Folkestone Invicta win the game.

Jack Woodward came up from the back to punish poor goalkeeping to equalise for Folkestone Invicta, who won it courtesy of an own-goal from Bromley central defensive skipper Donnell Anderson.

Folkestone Invicta have now won at Thamesmead Town (4-3) and Welling United (3-1), while Bromley fell at their first hurdle in a disappointing manner after reaching the Third Qualifying Round last season when they lost 3-1 to Dulwich Hamlet at Champion Hill.

At first team level, Bromley are in eighteenth-place in the Vanarama National League, while Folkestone Invicta are nineteenth in the Ryman Premier League, two levels lower. Bromley’s Academy play and train during the day, while Folkestone Invicta play Sunday mornings and sit at the top of the Kent Youth League Premier Division Two.

“I’m just so proud of the players,” said Stanton after his side extended their 100% record to five games with this Cup upset.

“The battle, there was so much battle. I mean in terms of the talent that was on show from both sides I thought it was a good game of football but I’m just so pleased with the heart and the battle.

“We’re absolutely very good with set-pieces but we always like to start as strong as we can to put them under pressure so a lot of it is in the mind anyway.  If you start strong, the other team think you’re a good side, which we are.”

Bromley manager Mark Hammond painted a perfect picture of his side’s performance, although in truth it was disappointing and his players, in truth, gifted Folkestone Invicta all three goals.

“Really pleasing performance, really, really proud with the way they conducted themselves, they gave a good account of themselves,” said Hammond, who played at Hayes Lane for both Cray Wanderers and Bromley as a winger.

“Absolutely gutted to lose but we played some brilliant football and possession but they’re young players, they’re learning.

“The two mistakes, the decisions did lead to goals, but I know they’ll correct them and it’s a hard price but they’ll learn.”

When asked what it meant to his players to play in The FA Youth Cup, Hammond replied: “It’s a good opportunity to play at the ground, play in front of a crowd, play on the pitch.  They’re celebrating and recognised from the board and the first team manager (Neil Smith) and in a tense environment, which is good for developing and learning.

“We’ve got to place them in an environment where they can learn quick – and they will do. It is The FA Youth Cup and the attention and the focus, it heightens the pressure but the boys coped with it but one or two mistakes but they will learn and correct them.”

Poor defending from Bromley’s right-back Donnell Anderson gifted Folkestone Invicta an early chance but Sahadow’s first time shot from 18-yards was saved comfortably by Tom Hefford.

Stanton said: “We had early chances, which was really good for us, so really pleased we started on the front foot.”

But Folkestone Invicta opened the scoring inside the opening six minutes through Sahadow’s clinically despatched penalty.

Triston Belsey whipped in a free-kick from the left and referee Mr Myatt spotted Bromley striker Andy Kadulko-Somo had handled the ball and pointed to the spot.

Sahadow stepped up and clinically drove his left-footed penalty into the left-hand side of the goal, despite Hefford diving the same way.

“He’s a confident lad and he’s scored six in three games so that will be seven,” said Stanton.

“He’s a good player and that’s why Neil (Cugley, first team manager) thinks so highly of him.”

Hammond admitted: “Yes, it’s a penalty. Andy Somo handled the ball in the box. The Laws say that’s it, it’s a penalty. 

“We said at half-time we’re not going to critique the fact that he’s given the penalty because we asked him to actually man mark his player. He was doing that. He caught the deflection, ball to hand. It was in the area and the referee was right to give it.”

Folkestone Invicta were the better side as they kicked down the slope.

Josh Pittock’s threw the ball to Lewis Davis, who hit a curling drive on the turn from 25-yards, which stung the fingers of the Bromley goalkeeper.

“He’s probably not one that’s scored so many goals, although he’s had a couple this season from set-pieces. He battles hard, he does battle hard, he’s a good lad,” Stanton said of Davis.

Bromley took nearly 20 minutes to create their first opening, as Fejzi’s fine pass released Kadulko-Somo, who sped past a couple of players, only to have his drive blocked inside the box.

Fejzi was left in acres of space to crack a right-footed drive from 35-yards, which dipped over the Folkestone Invicta crossbar, before Kadulko-Somo brought the ball down well and swivelled to hit a left-footed shot from 25-yards, which was saved comfortably by Charlie Pressnell.

Hammond said: “He was working his positions and he was working the moments but he was struggling to actually, it was like he was looking for the perfect moment. The message was at half-time, if you get your moment, shoot!”

Bromley were enjoying a good spell and they went close on the half-hour mark.

Tahjae Anderson hit a high ball into the box, which bounced down to Kadulko-Somo, who flashed his left-footed drive across goal and past the far post.

Winger Tahjae Anderson and full-back Riphi Kalala linked up well down the left and the ball was played inside to Fejzi, who hit an angled drive into Pressnell’s hands from 25-yards.

Folkestone Invicta went close to double their lead when right-back Jack Negus hit a long ball towards the edge of the Bromley box where Davis flicked the ball up before hitting his volley just over the crossbar.

Sahadow looked up to see Hefford had strayed off his line and tried to chip the ball over his head from 30-yards down the left but the Bromley keeper did well to back-peddle to pluck the ball out of the air above his head.

“He did a couple of those, the keeper’s very tall, it’s good (vision),” added Stanton.

Hammond said: “Tony’s made some brilliant saves tonight, some key decisions and it was critical for us to stay in the game by that time.

But Bromley equalised in the 44th minute through a fine three-man move.

Andy Bidi clipped the ball down the right to put Kadulko-Somo in behind Folkestone left-back Josh Pittock. Kadulko-Somo’s ball in flashed across the face of goal and Roberts hit his first time shot into the bottom right-hand corner from eight-yards.

Both of Bromley’s goal tonight were similar to the ones that the first team scored to beat Woking 2-1 in the National League on Tuesday night.

Hammond said: “Kenneth, we’ve been working on that. When the balls on the other side of the pitch Kenny came in and played between the centre back and the full-back and he was in the perfect position so on those things it was good to see.”

Stanton added: “A good goal. There’s one part of that we felt our left-back probably should’ve cleared it into the stands, rather than putting it back into play with his right-foot but it was a good goal by them.”

The Ravens created the last chance of the half through a set-piece.

Prior floated in their first corner from the right for Kadulko-Somo to loop his towering header over the crossbar.

Both managers were asked their thoughts at the break.

Hammond, who is employed as Bromley’s head of academy and youth, said: “Keep battling, keep playing, keep moving it, move and receive, do it with pace, do it with aggression, work the ball from side-to-side, be patient. When we get corners be positive and we were doing it. We had the lion’s share of possession, it was just those two mistakes.”

Stanton added: “I think we sort of said we were happy with the shape, but I think we weren’t picking up. We were just disappointed with that last 20 minutes where we felt we weren’t really picking up and we said we really need to come at them with a little bit more passion but more about picking up and marking.”

Bromley were left cursing their luck when the post denied them the equaliser in the 53rd minute.

Prior powered his way into the penalty area and his left-footed shot flashed across the keeper and bounced off the foot of the far post.

Hammond said: “Sonny is another project. He’s come back from a long-term injury. He was released by Crystal Palace and we’re kind of put him on a training and diet regime. He was growing into the game. If that goes in, we’d probably would’ve comfortably won the game.”

Stanton added: “That could’ve hit the post and gone in but it didn’t! It hit the post and went out.”

But Bromley deservedly took the lead in the 56th minute, following their second corner of the night.

Prior floated in the ball from the right, the ball was knocked down by Donnell Anderson and Fejzi swept the ball into the bottom right-hand corner from six-yards.

“Brilliant Fidan. From his mistake, he’s got to learn quickly, but he’s a young boy. He's a young project. He’s a young talent. We’ve got to put your faith in the boys, they need to learn now rather than later,” came Hammond’s reply to the goal.

Stanton said: “Probably a bit disappointed with the marking on that one. The initial header was just a dual header between the two but then the second ball was won by them, a little bit quicker I felt.”

Prior was having an excellent game in his holding midfield role and the home fans were left aghast when Hammond substituted him in the 64th minute.

“Sonny was playing well but at the same time we saw he was flagging, we saw him tiring. It was just to do with his fatigue within the game, so we thought we’d swap him,” replied Hammond.

Folkestone Invicta took two minutes to seize the initiative, courtesy of a blunder from a goalkeeper that plays for West Wickham on a Sunday morning.

Harry Hodgson whipped in a free-kick into the Bromley penalty box, five-yards away from the half-way line.  Hefford came off his line, failed to gather and Woodward gleefully saw his touch bounce into the bottom left-hand corner.

It was a blunder that you don’t expect from a goalkeeper that is on the books at a National League club.

“It was a good set-piece. We’re very good, we’re very strong on set-pieces but the keeper didn’t know whether to come or go.  He missed and it looped over his head, which gave us some confidence,” said Stanton.

Hammond added: “Tom’s only just turned 16, so he’s a project for us. Again, it’s difficult for a young boy. He was told to come out and be brave and collect the ball. It might’ve been a misconception for a young man but he will learn, he’ll bounce back. We will all bounce back. It’s all a learning process.”

Folkestone Invicta missed a glorious chance when Sahadow rolled the ball beyond Bidi to put substitute Jay Critcher in on goal but he blazed his left-footed shot over the crossbar from 15-yards with only the keeper to beat.

But he played a massive part in Folkestone Invicta scoring the winner with 20 minutes left.

Critcher collected the ball down the left-hand side of the penalty area and his low cross ricochet off Donnell Anderson, flashed past the hapless keeper and kissed the base of the far post before rolling over the line for a costly own-goal.

Stanton said: “He’s a very skilful player, is our lad whose come on (Critcher). He's been a bit unlucky not to start to be honest. He knocked the ball across and I think Euan maybe come in and put it in if he hadn’t put it in, so really pleased with that goal, obviously.”

Hammond admitted: “That was a blow, awful, but we will all bounce back.

“Maybe it was a little bit naive because of where we were in the game, two-all, but then we were pushing for the win. Maybe we could’ve been a little bit patient where we were at that stage in the match, maybe pick our chances but we’ll watch the video, analyse it and look to improve.”

Two Bromley free-kicks, taken by Fejzi and then Tahjae Anderson (who regularly show-boated in front of his mates sitting in the stand without delivering any end product in the box) sailed over the Folkestone crossbar, before Folkestone Invicta goalkeeper Presnell pulled off a brilliant save to frustrate Bromley in the 84th minute.

Roberts put over a cross form the right straight onto the head of substitute striker Antonio Gordon, who planted a downward header, which was blocked by Presnell’s legs, before the keeper bravely went in where it hurts to pounce on the loose ball.

Stanton hailed the save, saying, “We just told him, he probably won’t make another save like that ever again, but he did.   Anyone watching that, it was a fantastic save, a game winner to be honest.”

Hammond added: “Brilliant work by Kenneth, who was outstanding tonight. He works his moments. He did everything right, the first touch, cut the defender out. He was on the by-line, he’s eliminated the keeper, Antoine’s in the right place but the goalkeeper’s blocked it on the line. There’s no more you can do.”

Folkestone’s bright young star Sahadow picked up his injury with three and a half minutes of the game left.  Kalala went in strong on him as the Folkestone striker hooked the ball over to Hodgson.  Play continued and Hodgson’s shot was comfortably caught by Hefford but play was held up as medical staff treated him and took him off on a stretcher.

Stanton said: “I think it’s his Achilles, he’s in absolute agony so the ambulance has come and he’ll be off to hospital but he’s in a lot of pain.  There’s a lot of concern. Whilst it’s a great result, it’s disappointing for Euan and also the club as a whole.”

Bromley almost grabbed a late equaliser when Gordon put Tahja Anderson through on goal but Pressnell used his strong right hand at his near post to turn the ball behind for a corner.

Stanton admitted he won’t mind playing another game away from home if it keeps their run going in The FA Youth Cup.

“It’s fantastic! Last year we got to this round and lost to Met Police and we’ve gone one round further this time. I’m ecstatic. It’s fantastic. It’s a chance to be in with the big boys in the draw, it’s great, so pleased.

“Every game has been in south London. Although it’s nice for a bit of bonding to get a coach and come up and play in different grounds.  I quite like away draws to be honest and if we’re going to keep on winning, we might as well have an away draw. I’m just really pleased and really proud of the boys. It’s a great achievement and it’s been fantastic.”

The further they go in the competition, the more attention players’ will get and League clubs will be interested in their progress – as well as Cugley, of course.

“Neil watches nearly all our matches. We speak to him every day. He knows all our players and that’s fantastic,” said Stanton.

“But maybe down in our neck of the woods we don’t get as many scouts, perhaps, but I think things are changing these days. I think people are well aware that there’s Academies and everything. It’s a fantastic opportunity, if we get a good draw so that’s really good. 

“At the moment we haven’t lost, there all wins so far, three cup wins and a couple of league wins so yes, very pleased.”

Hammond has been tasked to find the next Jordan Higgs, who is impressing in the National League after coming through the club’s Academy via a spell in the Ryman League with Carshalton Athletic – and pacy striker Daniel Ajakayie, who is now getting his chance to shine.

He said: “Tonight was a really good exercise. I think the boys gave a brilliant account of themselves. I think they’ll want more of it. It will only improve and also trigger a hunger to want more of it.

“Jordan Higgs can arrowhead that legacy really but the club want to become a selling club. The focus is on the Academy now. It’s good times, it’s a good place to be.

“It’s a dream job at the moment. I’ve got a blank canvas to get a project off the floor but not just on the football but the education to kind of streamline an elite section. We’ve got three pathways, player, elite, player development and play football for all but there’s flexibility within each strand.

“I’ve made a little link with Brighton University, we’ve got neighbouring schools that we’re working with, two community projects so there’s a scouting triangle that we’ve put in place.  I’ve recruited and headhunted staff.

“There’s a lot of work going on in the background so in two or three years this should be a thriving place for young players.

“The club want to recruit local talent, develop it, maybe within our Academy.  We’ve got six exit strategies, that being the Football League, first team National, semi-pro, US scholarship, Brighton University or a vocational work placement so it’s a good place to be at the moment.”

Bromley: Tom Hefford, Andy Bidi (Aiden Enver 78), Riphi Kalala, Guy Baskerville, Donnell Anderson, Ola Williams, Kenneth Roberts, Sonny Prior (Charles Etumnu 64), Andy Kadulko-Somo (Antonio Gordon 83), Fidan Fejzi, Tahjae Anderson.
Subs: Gideon Donkor, Trey Small

Goals: Kenneth Roberts 44, Fidan Fejzi 56

Booked: Riphi Kalala 89

Folkestone Invicta: Charlie Pressnell, Jack Negus, Josh Pittock, Ashis Tamang, Liam Johnson (Bebek Rana 64), Jack Woodward, Lewis Davis, Trinhallen Brisley, Euan Sahadow (Tommy Nagy 90), Harry Hodgson, Triston Belsey (Jay Critcher 55).
Subs: Joel Amaku, Tom Warmsley

Goals: Euan Sahadow 6 (penalty), Jack Woodward 66, Donnell Anderson 70 (own goal)

Booked: Harry Hodgson 79

Attendance: 102
Referee: Mr Christopher Myatt (Dartford)
Assistants: Mr Tony Woods (Bexleyheath) & Mr James Paternoster (Sidcup)

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