Leatherhead 1-2 Folkestone Invicta - Where we are now, for a little club like Folkestone, really is unbelievable, says Roland Edge

Wednesday 08th November 2017
Leatherhead 1 – 2 Folkestone Invicta
Location Fetcham Grove, Guildford Road, Leatherhead, Surrey KT22 9AS
Kickoff 08/11/2017 19:45

Bostik Premier
Wednesday 8th November 2017
Stephen McCartney reports from Fetcham Grove

FOLKESTONE INVICTA assistant manager Roland Edge says hard work is paying off after his club climbed into fourth-place in the Bostik Premier table.

Sammy Moore’s side held Billericay Town to a 1-1 draw in The Emirates FA Cup First Round in front of 1,797 fans at Fetcham Grove on Sunday, but only 294 fans braved a biting cold night against surprise package Folkestone Invicta.

Leatherhead gave two strikers their debuts. Liam Nash, 21, who made 10 appearances for League One side Gillingham, and Orlando Smith, 29, who has signed from Margate.

Nash, who scored 36 goals in 46 games for Isthmian North Maldon & Tipree last season, took only eight minutes and 19 seconds to score on his Leatherhead debut, a cheeky dinked penalty straight down the middle of the goal.

Folkestone Invicta levelled just before the interval through Josh Vinent’s header, before Sam Hasler sent Folkestone Invicta into the play-off zone with a long-range strike.

“I thought it was an entertaining game, a very fast game,” said Edge, following his side’s ninth league win of the season.

“I think they started really bright, got a deserved goal, a deserved lead. It took us a little while to switch on tonight, got a good goal, JV (Josh Vincent) attacked the corner well to get us back into the game.

“At half-time we had a little bit of a chat, a little bit of a change around and I thought in the end we deserved the win.”

Folkestone Invicta created the first opening following their first corner.

Scott Heard put in a corner from the right, which wasn’t headed clear and former Letherhead striker Ian Draycott smashed his over-head kick over the crossbar from the corner of the six-yard box.

“I think he regrets that because he was just a lump on the floor for about five  minutes,” said Edge.

“That’s a half chance but Dracs is an instinctive forward, he’ll try everything to get it in the net.”

Leatherhead opened the scoring after Daniel Gallagher swept a diagonal pass out to right-winger Sean Clohessy, who played the ball into Nash, who was brought down by a rash sliding tackle by Matthew Newman.

Nash dinked his left-footed penalty straight down the middle as goalkeeper Tim Roberts dived out of the way to his left.

Edge said: “He looks like a confident lad.  He’s come here to get some minutes which fair play to him, there’s no point sitting on the bench or not even getting on the bench (at Gillingham).

“Go out there and have a loan spell, you never know what happens. I thought he looked sharp today, jinky. He created the penalty himself.  Matt knows he should’ve stayed on his feet, he dived in a bit and then (Nash) finished it with style with a good penalty and fair play to him.”

Both teams were playing three at the back with wing-backs in defence and this produced a stalemate on a sticky pitch.

Leatherhead wide-man Niall McManus played a one-two with Lee Minshull, cutting inside Folkestone’s Callum Davies (the man in the middle of their three-man defence) and floated over a cross from the by-line, which skimmed off the head of an unmarked Jerry Nnamani, Leatherhead’s central defender, who went up for Clohessy’s free-kick.

Folkestone Invicta had to wait until the 34th minute to create a chance that failed to test goalkeeper Zaki Oualah.

Scott Heard broke through the middle of the pitch before he played the ball on the outside to striker Ade Yusuff, who drilled his right-footed shot harmlessly wide of the top of the near post from 12-yards.

“I don’t really know what Ade’s doing there,” admitted Edge.

“I thought he was going to try to square it. It was only really our first break because Heardy is very good at that, he’s got a very good engine and he goes from box-to-box. It finally fell to Ade a little bit wide, I would say but I don’t know if Ade shot or tried to square it?

“People lost their footing out there today, it was a bit wet for the first time. It wasn’t really a good chance to score, as in the strike. If he had squared it, we might’ve got some joy.”

Hasler then swung in a free-kick towards the edge of the Leatherhead box, which was sliced towards his own goal by Nnamani, which flew straight into his keeper’s gloves for a routine catch.

But Folkestone Invicta grabbed the equaliser, which was timed at 43 minutes and 37 seconds, courtesy of Vincent’s third goal of the season.

It came from Folkestone’s second corner of the night, swung in from the left by Heard and Vincent found space at the near post to bury his header from eight-yards.

Edge admitted the right wing-back’s goal changed the mood within the away dressing room during the break.

“From the touchline it was quite obvious there was a big gap at the front and JV kind of saw it and went early, lost his man,” said Edge.

“Since last year when we lost Frankie Chappell, who was very good in the air, JV has stepped up and I think he’s now got three goals from set-pieces and when you look and see its him, you’ve got quite a bit of confidence and I thought he finished it well.”

Reflecting on the timing of the goal, Edge added: “As a team you never want to concede there. If you go through to half-time 1-0 you can then talk about things, sort things out. As long as the first 10 minutes are tight, you’re normally in a good position.

“To get a hammer blow then it kind of gives us a little bit more of a gee-up at half-time.

“Without giving too much away, we knew we had to change a couple of things.  Their right-winger (Clohessy) was stretching the game.  They were playing it out to him. He’s got a good delivery and we wasn’t really dealing with it with two players.

“Kieron (McCann) is a very good player so we just said to him go like-for-like. If you beat your man and the majority beat our men we win the game and in the end upon reflection that happened.”

Leatherhead were a threat down both flanks when they got in behind Folkestone’s back three and Roberts was called into action after only 170 seconds.

Left wing-back Tom Richards ran towards the by-line and pulled the ball back for Nash to hit a shot on the turn towards the near corner and Roberts dived to his right to claw the shot behind for a corner.

“That’s it see, Tim’s kind of the unsung hero at times,” said Edge.

“He didn’t really have a lot to do. His winging at half-time that he’s let a goal in from one shot and that’s it.  The good thing about Tim, I don’t want to jinx him at all. He can be quiet and then he just pops up with a great save that keeps us in the game and then the players go on and win and they all forget about it.”

Winning league games on freezing cold nights in November build the foundations for a successful campaign.

Folkestone Invicta won the game with a moment of pure class from Hasler, the goal timed at 12 minutes and 50 seconds on the clock.

Hasler collected the ball and played the ball out to Yusuff, who worked the right channel, cut inside before playing the ball inside to Hasler, who cut inside and drilled a sweet low left-footed drive nestling into the bottom left-hand corner from 30-yards, giving the keeper no chance, to score his fourth goal of the season.

“It’s good play. Sam played it out wide, Ade runs tirelessly and works really hard.  Even though he doesn’t get the goals, he’s a handful and they know they’ve played against him.  Ade ran wide to create space, got the ball and played it in. 

“A bloke came out to Has, he’s cut inside and knowing Has as assistant manager or coach, he’s got a hell of a left foot, he’s got a League level left-foot and the minute he cuts inside all you think is hit the target and it’s in and he’s starting to do that at the minute and that’s why he’s starting to get goals.

“It’s an excellent strike. He’s got the type of strike when he hits it keepers don’t move, it’s that rare a strike. He can do it with both feet as well because the keeper spills his right-foot one about five minutes later. He hits the target more often, he’s going to score more.”

Folkestone Invicta felt they had wrapped up the game within six minutes but Joshua Godfrey’s offside flag was raised.

Hasler got the ball out from under his feet and drove a right-footed drive from similar distance to his winning goal, forcing Oualah to dive low to his right to make a fine block but Yusuff’s celebrations were halted after the flag went up after tucking home the rebound.

“I thought the officials did well today,” said Edge. “I thought they let the game flow, some tough decisions. I thought they made the majority of them, right.

“You can’t ask for any more when he hits the strike, you want your forward to follow it in and that’s what he did.  Unfortunately for him, it was offside.  Three times, in crucial moments he was caught offside. He needs to bide his time a little bit more and then that way he’ll get a few more goals.  There’s nothing worse than making a good run or trying hard and then you put it in the net and you look at that flag’s up, so he’s got to be a little bit smarter.

“I don’t think they (Leatherhead) started the game with their eye on it but it’s quite hard when you go 2-1 and 3-1 kind of kills the game all off a sudden you might drift off to other things (like Leatherhead’s televised FA Cup First Round Replay at Billericay next Thursday).  You’d rather dig deep and fight until the end.”

Newman’s clearance out of defence sent Kieron McCann on the charge and his right-footed dipping drive from 30-yards brought a good save from Oualah, getting down low to his right and holding onto the ball as it bounced just in front of him.

“We asked Kieron in the second half to go like-for-like against their guy (Clohessy), running into the ground. He’s a very fit lad, he’s jinky, skilful and I thought he had a brilliant second half, he really worked him hard,” said Edge.

“The harder you work him defending, the less he’s likely to go up the other end and cause you trouble and I thought he did really well.

“The strike was good, it kind of bounced in front of the keeper and I thought the keeper did well to hold it really.”

Edge was full of praise for the winger, who was playing for Sevenoaks Town a couple of levels lower down the football pyramid last season.

“I think he’s been a player that has been on everyone’s lips around the Bostik South and Bostik Prem for a while now. I think due to work commitments and the location of where he was playing pretty much suited him. The funny thing is sometimes you get players that are intent to be better at a certain level. He’s more than keen to test himself and I think he’s been one of the shining lights this year.”

Yusuff, who was caught offside on three occasions tonight, was played in by McCann, but Lee Minshull, Leatherhead’s central defender, who was thrown up top as an emergency forward as time was going by, made a vital block as the ball went behind for a corner.

Leatherhead squandered a good chance to draw level inside the final 10 minutes, as they pushed men forward.

Substitute D’Sean Theobalds played the ball out wide to Richards, who sped towards the by-line, before he wrapped his foot around the ball to float over a cross towards the far post, which was met by Tom Beere’s free-header from eight-yards, which was directed straight into Roberts’ hands.

“I think their three (Richards) and two (Clohessy), I thought their delivery was good and he was a danger every time they got in behind us.  You know it was going to be a good ball. Fortunately, for us it was a good ball but you’ve got to have a very strong neck, very similar to Mike Tyson, I think, to head it in from there. Tim was positioned excellently and just caught it in the middle.”

McCann fed the ball into Draycott’s feet and he played in Heard, who dragged his shot across the face of goal from a tight angle, whilst being put under pressure inside the final three minutes.

Leatherhead, who slip down a place into nineteenth-place with 16 points from 13 games, were caught offside on 11 occasions tonight, with Nash the main culprit (five).

Dulwich Hamlet are top of the Bostik Premier with 36 points from 16 games, while the four play-off places are currently occupied by Metropolitan Police (31 points from 18 games); Hendon (30 points from 16); Folkestone Invicta (29 points from 14) and Billericay Town (28 points from 11).

“We’re not getting carried away, like I said to you previously, we’re not,” insisted Edge.

“We’re just trying to maintain a winning mentality and try to keep a belief at the minute.  I wouldn’t say we’re necessarily playing brilliantly but a cohesion of the team is pretty much pulling us through and as long as you’re willing to fight and dig deep for each other, you’ve always got a chance of winning and that’s what we’re trying to maintain.”

Cugley has done a wonderful job to get Folkestone Invicta above big-spending Billericay Town in the league table.

“That will be very interesting if it was at the end of the season but I can’t see it staying that way,” admitted Edge, who’s side host Tooting & Mitcham at Cheriton Road on Saturday.

“Both teams have got different aspirations. Where we are now for a little club like Folkestone really is unbelievable and all we’ve got to do is focus on ourselves. I think that’s all you can do. The likes of Billericay, with the financial side of things nothing but success is failure. They’ve got to go up, otherwise what a bad season!

Leatherhead: Zaki Oualah, Yannis Ambroisine, Tom Richards, Daniel Gallagher (Tom Beere 77), Lee Minshull, Jerry Nnamani, Sean Clohessy, Sam Blackman, Orlando Smith (Nathan Wood 61), Liam Nash, Niall McManus (D’Sean Theobalds 72).
Subs: Jack Midson, Reece Williams-Bowers

Goal: Liam Nash 9 (penalty)

Folkestone Invicta: Tim Roberts, Josh Vincent, Kieron McCann, Callum Davies, Ryan Cooper, Matthew Newman, Sam Hasler, Micheal Everitt, Ian Draycott, Ade Yusuff, Scott Heard.
Subs: Joe Taylor, Nathaniel Blanks, Euan Sahadow, Nick Shaw

Goals: Josh Vincent 44, Sam Hasler 58

Booked: Micheal Everitt 45

Attendance: 294
Referee: Mr Jamaal Horne (Thornton Heath, Surrey)
Assistants: Mr Joshua Godfrey (Warlingham, Surrey) & Mr Valentine Anekwe (Bromley)

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