Horsham 0-1 Folkestone Invicta - It was a real dogged hard-fought performance against a good side, says Folkestone Invicta assistant manager Roland Edge

Saturday 31st August 2019
Horsham 0 – 1 Folkestone Invicta
Location Hop Oast Community Stadium, Worthing Road, Horsham, West Sussex RH13 0AD
Kickoff 31/08/2019 15:00

Isthmian League Premier Division
Saturday 31 August 2019
Stephen McCartney reports from Hop Oast Community Stadium

FOLKESTONE INVICTA assistant manager Roland Edge says his side won ugly at Horsham, a result that keeps his side unbeaten at the top of the Isthmian League Premier Division table.

Newly-promoted Horsham, who claimed promotion by beating Ashford United 2-1 after extra-time in last season’s Isthmian League South East Division Play-Off Final in Lancing, were unbeaten in five games as they played only their second league home game at their new Hop Oast Community Stadium, which like Lancing has a 3G pitch.

Folkestone Invicta grabbed the winner through super-sub Johan Ter Horst with just 11 minutes remaining but Dominic Di Paola’s side missed a penalty with the last kick of the game through their four-goal striker Chris Smith.

“I thought Horsham, to be fair to them, played really, really well,” said Edge, as Folkestone Invicta sit one point clear at the top of the tree with 16 points from six games.

“I thought they started the stronger, they more or less dictated play for the first half and only really down to strong defending and good goalkeeping.  I must add the lad (Henry Newcombe) that came in did well and we went in at 0-0.

“We didn’t really get our foot on the ball, we didn’t move it around that well and you want to go in at half-time and then try to put things right and explain to them what they didn’t do which today was quite a lot so it was quite good at half-time.

“In the second half we went at them a little bit better, created a few chances but I think all-in-all the day could’ve ended up as a draw and that maybe have been a fairer result and we’re lucky enough we’ve got four forwards at this club that can all come on and change a game and Johan did that today.”

Folkestone Invicta manager Neil Cugley handed 21-year-old second-choice goalkeeper Henry Newcombe his debut and he put nothing wrong as Folkestone Invicta kept their second clean sheet in six outings.

Edge said: “I don’t know where Tim Roberts is today but it’s all about strength-in-depth.  We’ve got Henry and he’s come along, it’s quite daunting being a second-choice goalkeeper.  You travel up and down the country, you don’t get any minutes, you congratulate your mate and today I think he knew he was going to play and he came in and he looked assured and his handling was decent.”

Horsham created their first opening, on the counter-attack, after four minutes and 47 seconds on the clock.

Winger Zack Newton brought the ball down and under control inside his own half and drove a diagonal pass over to left-winger George Hayward.  He played left-back Harvey Sparks on an overlapping run and his low cross was flicked towards goal by Smith at his near post, which was comfortably held by Newcombe at his near post.

Folkestone Invicta winger Kieron McCann was chopped down by Horsham’s holding midfielder Charlie Harris and set-piece specialist Sam Hasler drove in the resulting free-kick from the left which was met by Josh Vincent’s trademark untracked run at the far post, but he stretched to hit a volley over the crossbar from the edge of the six-yard box inside the opening 10 minutes.

Horsham keeper George Bentley had his fingers stung catching at head height Hasler’s drilled left-footed free-kick from 35-yards with 11 minutes and 49 seconds on the clock.

“Well Sam Hasler has got a great left-foot so we tend to get him to shoot from 30-yards. He strikes it from areas you tell everybody not to and that’s why a lot of time it does go over but today he stung the keeper’s hands and he’s asked a lot of questions, so it was a good strike,” said Edge.

Horsham were a threat down their right as they saw Folkestone Invicta’s left-back Alfie Paxman as a way of getting in and the Hornets got in behind Paxman on several occasions during the game.

Horsham right-back Jerry O’Sullivan stroked a ball in behind Folkestone centre-half Callum Davies to put Smith in behind and he cut the ball back from the by-line for Lea Dawson, who swept his first time shot past the right-hand post from 20-yards.

Horsham were edging the first half stalemate as Folkestone’s tactic of hitting central striker Jerson Dos Santos wasn’t working much as he was regularly falling over and failing to control the ball as it was played up to him.

Folkestone Invicta goalkeeper Newcombe pulled off a great save to prevent Davies from scoring an own goal in the 25th minute.

Horsham striker Kieran Lavery, who often dropped deep to collect passes and spraying them all over the pitch, swept a crossfield ball over to O’Sullivan, in acres of space down the right and he had time and space to whip in a great cross towards the middle.

Davies stuck out his left leg and prodded the ball towards his own goal from just outside his six-yard box and was thankful to Newcombe, who got down swiftly to his left to prevent embarrassing his team-mate and captain.

“They’ve been well aware that we’ve got a new goalkeeper in there and it’s like any manager will say ‘put them under,” said Edge.

“They got around the back a few times, put decent balls in, I think Henry got touches here and there.

“The most impressive one is when they did get around the back, put it across and I think it was Callum who got his foot to it.  I mean that’s got OWN GOAL written all over it and he’s made a fantastic save and I just thought he got stronger as the game went on.”

Newcombe made a far more comfortable save from the resulting corner.

Harris delivered a deep delivery from the right and fell to an unmarked Will Miles, the centre-half bringing a comfortable save from Newcombe, on his knees to gather.

Folkestone Invicta created an opening in the 28th minute when holding midfielder Micheal Everitt advanced over the halfway line and reached the final third before playing the ball inside to Scott Heard, who scuffed a weak shot past the foot of the right-hand post in a central position just 22-yards from goal.

“He’s gone through, you know Heardy, he’s going to be in their box about a million times over 90 minutes – and your own box.  He’s run through, maybe a little bit more composure but it wasn’t an easy one and I think it was on his wrong foot and he’s just dragged it wide,” said Edge.

Horsham finished the first half on the front foot, creating a couple of late chances.

Folkestone’s centre-half Matthew Newman bundled over Smith and the away side reluctantly built a two-man wall with McCann and Paxman lining up as Harris drilled his right-footed free-kick towards goal, the ball bouncing right in front of Newcombe, who dived to his left to parry the ball towards safety.

Horsham struck the crossbar with 43 minutes and 16 seconds on the clock, as Folkestone Invicta got away with one as Horsham deserved to go into the break with a slender lead.

Newton played the ball into Lavery, who linked up well down the right and Lavery played the ball inside to an unmarked Harris, who cut the ball onto the right-foot and hit a shot towards the top right-hand corner from 25-yards, the ball kissing the top of the crossbar and dropping behind for a goal-kick.

“That was hell of a strike, I mean, a couple of inches lower and that’s a goal,” admitted Edge.

“Even though we didn’t necessarily play that well, we frustrated them and made them shoot from distance and the one that Henry parried, the ball was moving all over the place and he’s pushed it wide, which is what you want and the other one is a tremendous strike and you’re in trouble but luckily for us it hit the bar!”

Folkestone Invicta missed a glorious chance to grab the lead just before the interval.

Central midfielder Heard played in left-winger McCann in behind Horsham’s right-back O’Sullivan and swept his left-footed drive across the keeper, forcing Bentley to make a smart save diving to his left to parry the ball towards safety.

Edge said: “I thought the Horsham keeper made some good stops as well. Sometimes you focus a lot on yourself but Kieron’s gone through and forced a save off the keeper, which is all what he can do really. I don’t think anything’s clear-cut in it.  Their keeper made the save and you go from there.”

Cugley and Edge certainly had words at the interval as Folkestone Invicta came out for the second half with much more attacking purpose.

“Listen, we’re fortunate here to have a decent side. We’ve got a good team and when they don’t quite do it, I don’t think we had options all over the pitch,” admitted Edge.

“We’re at our very best when someone’s on the ball and there’s two or three options. I would say today in the first half when someone’s on the ball, they had one option and that was make space.

“We said everyone’s got to want the ball, we’ve got to get on it and increase the tempo and play with a little bit more belief and the players’ are honest and they know that I think if you’re unfortunate enough to watch both halves again, you’ll see there was a difference in the second half.”

Paxman threw the ball to Heard, who released winger Ira Jackson in behind O’Sullivan and Harry Mills, powerfully smashing a left-footed angled drive from just outside the corner of the box, forcing Bentley to dive low to his left to tip the ball behind for a corner, with only three minutes and 35 seconds on the clock.

Edge said: “Ira’s come in and he’s done really well, whether he’s been coming off the bench or starting, the good thing about Ira is he normally makes the goalkeeper work.  I thought he moved it quite well and I thought their goalkeeper made a really good save there.”

Folkestone Invicta’s right-back Vincent played the ball up to Dos Santos, who dropped deep, skipped past Dawson before he was tackled.  Paxman latched onto the loose ball to unleash a first time left-footed angled drive screaming past the top of the near post from outside the Horsham box.

With both sides winning four corners each, Folkestone Invicta created a moment with their third flag-kick in the ninth minute.

Heard floated the ball in from the right and Vincent found a pocket of space at the near post to power his header just past the near post.

“It was unfortunate really because the ball was good. It was a good height but it didn’t really carry a lot of pace,” explained Edge.

“JV’s attacked it brilliantly, he tried to put a little bit of pace onto the ball to test the goalkeeper but he’s put it a little bit wide but a good ball, good attacking, just a little bit unlucky.”

Di Paola made a tactical change by bringing on Rob O’Toole into midfield, sitting in behind a front three of Lavery (central), Smith (left) and Newton (right), although O’Toole quickly found himself out wide, with Dawson and Harris sitting back still to protect their back four.

Harris’ crossfield free-kick from the halfway line gave Horsham’s left-back Sparks an opportunity to roam forward to drill a swerving drive from 25-yards, which Newcombe did well to get his body behind the ball to comfortably catch the ball in his midriff on the hour-mark.

Edge said: “That’s the nice thing. When they’re hitting it and he’s got nice safe hands and then for their side they’re thinking ‘we have to do a little bit slightly different here because we’re not going to beat this lad from 25-yards.’

“Henry’s quite comfortable and did really well to boost us today, our confidence really.”

Just 80 seconds later, Hasler drilled a left-footed free-kick through the wall from 30-yards and Bentley dropped to his knees to make a comfortable save.

The introduction of Ter Horst in the 62nd minute gave Folkestone Invicta fresh impetus up front as he joined Dos Santos (left) and Jackson (right) to make it a three-man Invicta attack.

McCann played the ball into Heard, who swept the ball out to Vincent on the right and he slipped Jackson in behind Sparks. He cut the ball back from the by-line and Dawson slide ensured McCann was distracted as the right-footed drive from 12-yards was smashed past the right-hand post.

Horsham won three corners in quick succession and went close halfway through the half when Harris’ delivery from the left had Newcombe flapping for the ball from within a crowded goal-mouth. The ball sailed over to O’Toole who steered his header over the crossbar at the far post.

Folkestone Invicta grabbed their winning goal with 33 minutes and 24 seconds on the clock, courtesy of the Ter Horst showing bundles of desire to score his second goal of the season.

Newman fed Dos Santos, who played the ball out to Heard on the right and he whipped in a great deep cross which found Ter Horst at the far post. He swept his shot towards the bottom far corner, only for Bentley to smother the ball low to his left to parry and Ter Horst sprinted across the penalty area towards the far post to slot the rebound into the back of the net from a couple of yards out.

“I’m happy for Johan,” said Edge.

“It says a lot about our team, no one wants to be on the bench but this year so far people have come off the bench and changed games.  Ira being one of them and today Johan’s on the bench, Ira’s done well, Johan’s come on, he hasn’t sulked and he’s got on with it, looked sharp and that’s the one thing he is, he’s instinctive. He’s pulled the shot, the keeper saves, fast to get on with it and calm enough to finish it, so well done to Johan, he’s done us a favour today.”

Horsham dominated the final 10 minutes as they threw the kitchen sink at Cugley’s men but their back four of Paxman, Newman, Davies and Vincent were outstanding.

O’Toole hit the ball down the left channel for Smith, who linked up well with Lavery, who teed up an unmarked Harris, whose low drive from 30-yards was comfortably held by Newcombe, low to his left.

Horsham should have scored from their next two chances.

Harris’ launched a free-kick forward from the halfway line, the ball was flicked on by a towering O’Toole and the ball came out to centre-half Miles, who flashed his first time right-footed drive across the diving keeper and past the far post from inside the D.

You expected the net to bulge with 44:45 minutes on the clock when Horsham threw bodies forward into the Folkestone Invicta box but they missed their big chance.

Substitute winger Alex Kelly played the ball out to Sparks, who took a touch and whipped in a high quality cross from the left, which was put on a plate for O’Toole at the far post but he hooked his volley past the right-hand post from within the six-yard box.

“I thought we defended well. I’ve got to say I think we defended brilliantly on the bombardment of crosses and everything like that,” said Edge.

“They stuck their head in, everyone willing to give it for the three points and I thought they did put us under pressure.

“They actually went different because their winger (George Hayward) did well. I thought Alfie matched them in the second half so they took him off and put a big lad (O’Toole) on it and that’s one thing Alfie doesn’t quite have (height).

“We knew he was coming, there’s going to be percentages, it’s going to fall to people but I thought all-in-all we limited them to half decent chances. We did some very good defending at times so I thought we saw it out quite well.”

Referee Andy Bennett gave Horsham a lifeline when he blew for a penalty with two minutes and 16 seconds of injury time played – the decision to award the penalty came from his lino - when Paxman was adjudged to have tripped Smith inside the box after O’Toole flicked the ball on.

Goalkeeper Newcome bounced up and down on his line and Smith swept his left-footed penalty past the foot of the right-hand post, which WAS the last kick of the game.

Edge felt a foul earlier on in the move on Vincent should have been given.

“The whole thing didn’t sit too well with me if I’m honest,” said Edge.

“You’ve got JV on the floor and they’re playing out from the back. I asked the ref what his views on it were. He doesn’t know if that balls rolling or anything and he's asking JV as the plays going on and the balls going past him and I don’t think it was right!

“The ref tells me I’m wrong but I don’t think it was right. They go down the other end and I sometimes feel at times people can be a bit quick to make a decision. For me I thought Alfie got his toe to it. I’m the assistant manager, what am I going to think? The ref thought it wasn’t, gave it and then I think unfortunate for the lad, he drags it wide.

“You’ve got a large goalkeeper in there, he’s had a good game, he’s quite confident. He went the wrong way, got burger and chips (from the tea-bar situated within the clubhouse behind the goal) and the bloke’s dragged it and it would’ve been horrible to have lost those two points but at the end of the day I honestly think we only deserved one so I’m enjoying those three points.”

They say a sign of a good team is to come away from games by picking up wins by not playing well – and this was the case for Folkestone Invicta here today.

“Winning ugly, isn’t it? They call it. Yes, I will agree with that,” admitted Edge.

“Although we’re ugly we’ve still got to defend right and that’s the one thing we did today. We may not have been fluent with the ball, we may not have moved them around or been at our best to watch but it was a real dogged, hard-fought performance against a good side.  Like every manager says, if they don’t score, they don’t win. They didn’t score, we did and that’s got us the three points.”

Six games in, Folkestone Invicta sit proudly at the top with 16 points from six games and the next four club’s consist of Haringey Borough (15 points); Hornchurch (12 points); Carshalton Athletic (12) and Enfield Town (11).

Horsham slip down three places to eighth-place with eight points on the board following their first defeat of the season.

“Obviously with the points you’re delighted, you’re delighted for the lads because they put a lot of hard work in but now it’s about consistency and kicking on. We’ve got to maintain that. We’re kind of notorious for finishing strong, not necessarily starting fast but at the minute I’m happy with the boys. They’ve brought into it. I think there’s a lot of belief, I think we’ve got a good side but we just have to keep our heads on the game and take each game as it comes.”

Folkestone Invicta travel to Isthmian League South East Division side Whitstable Town in The FA Cup First Qualifying Round next Saturday 7 September (15:00).

Lloyd Blackman’s side are thirteenth-place in the table with four points from as many games and were thrashed 4-0 by Sevenoaks Town at Greatness Park today.

Edge warned against complacency creeping into his side ahead of their trip to Belmont Road.

He said:  “It will be a tough game. They’ll look to us as a massive scalp to take.  Blacky’s there, he’s a nice lad. He’ll have them well drilled and make them well aware of what they’ll need to do to beat us.

“We just have to make sure we don’t underestimate them.  It’s the worst thing you can do in football is underestimate a team. We’ve got to go there and show them the respect that they deserve and then put our game together and work hard as we can and really we should get a result.”

Horsham: George Bentley, Jerry O’Sullivan, Harvey Sparks, Charlie Harris, Harry Mills, Will Miles, George Hayward (Rob O’Toole 56), Lea Dawson (Alex Kelly 83), Kieran Lavery, Chris Smith, Zack Newton (Lee Harding 80.
Subs: Jack Brivio, Jared Rance

Folkestone Invicta: Henry Newcombe, Josh Vincent, Alfie Paxman, Micheal Everitt, Callum Davies, Matthew Newman, Ira Jackson, Scott Heard, Jerson Dos Santos, Sam Hasler (Johan Ter Horst 62), Kieron McCann.
Subs: Ronnie Dolan, Nathaniel Blanks

Goal: Johan Ter Horst 79

Booked: Sam Hasler 37, Micheal Everitt 66, Alfie Paxman 90

Attendance: 622
Referee: Mr Andy Bennett (Woking, Surrey)
Assistants: Mr Daniel D’Urso (Burgess Hill, West Sussex) & Mr Nick Blogg (Horsham, West Sussex)