Thursday 01st September 2005
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Supporting Kentish Football

Saturday 18th
December 2004
Ryman League
Premier Division
Richard Murrill reports from New Lodge
Chelmsford City 2 Aransibia 16
Cooper 87
Folkestone Invicta 1 Sykes 27

New Lodge misery continues for Folkestone

Folkestone Invicta’s six-match unbeaten run came to an end when they were beaten by an 86th minute free kick away to Chelmsford City at Billericay Town’s New Lodge on Saturday afternoon.

This is not a happy hunting ground for Invicta who drew 0-0 away to Billericay themselves back at the start of September but have now lost on all five visits to play groundsharers Chelsmford.

The ‘home’ side had opened the scoring on the quarter of an hour mark through new signing Andy Arabsibia, but Invicta were level in the 27th minute through former Dartford striker Paul Sykes.

Chelmsford’s winner came from substitute Sammy COOPER whose free kick from the left hand side went through a crowd of players in the penalty area and crept straight in at the far post.

Invicta had to adjust their defence going into the game as already without the suspended Adam Flanagan, they also lost right back Kevin Watson who failed a pre-match fitness test on a groin injury.

It is perhaps significant that Invicta have lost all three matches which Essex resident Flanagan has missed this season.

Games between these two clubs are usually open affairs and this encounter was typically end to end from the start.

Gary Ansell volleyed over for Chelmsford when the inventive Garry Cross played the ball in from the left hand side after seven minutes.

And the Essex side struck the first blow following a mix up between Invicta centre halves John Guest and Steve Norman which put ARABSIBIA through. The striker then went past stranded goalkeeper Tony Kessell and played the ball into the net despite the efforts of Micheal Everitt to clear off the line.

 Ansell then headed wide when the ball came in from the right after 24 minutes.

But Invicta were level two minutes later when Andy Burke unlocked the home defence with a great through ball which was followed by an equally good finish from SYKES who shot across goal and in from the right hand side of the box.

Kessell kept out a great long distance strike from Cross after 32 minutes and George Lay shot high an wide three minutes later with another chance when Cross set him up following a clearance from home goalkeeper Paul Nicholls.

For Invicta, goalscorer Sykes hit a snapshot at Nicholls after 36 minutes when Burke’s free kick from the right fell to him at the far post.

Arabsibia then hit a low shot at Kessell after running down the middle in the 43rd minute.

And Invicta found themselves under pressure at the start of the second half when Chelmsford went close three times in as many minutes.

Firstly Cross went desperately close to restoring his side’s lead within 30 seconds of the re-start, Steve Butterworth was then close when he let fly from the right hand side in the 47th minute and Lay then shot across the Invicta goal a minute later.

But Invicta responded and a James Dryden shot was cleared off the line by right back Liam Hopkins when Guest met an Everit corner from the right after 49 minutes.

There were chances at both ends after 51 minutes when Ansell didn’t get enough power on his shot for Chelmsford and Adam Holmes did well to block a Sykes shot when Simon Glover raced past Hopkins down the left.

Invicta had to adjust when John Walker replaced Sykes after 63 minutes with the substitute coming on at right back, Everitt moving up into midfield and Glover partnering Dryden in attack.

The visitors started to enjoy the bulk of possession and a Walker shot was touched round the post by Nicholls after 73 minutes in a move involving Paul Lamb and Mark Munday.

Invicta’s best chance of taking the lead followed after 75 minutes when Nicholls did very well to push a pount blank Dryden header over the crossbar for another Invicta corner.

Cooper had been a fitness doubt for Chelmsford before the game and did not come on until the 81st minute, but the substitute’s late winner was to give caretaker manager Aidan Boxall all three points.

The final corner count of 8-1 in Invicta’s favour suggests that the visitors might have been worth a third successive away league draw.

But with the Folkestone side’s track record at New Lodge the Folkestone side may not be too sorry when Chelmsford return home to a new ground at Melbourne for next season.

Missing an Invicta league match for the first time since the club’s move up to the Dr Martens League in the summer of 1998 was supporter of the year Derek Miller, who was laid up with a bad back and hoping to be fit for December 27’s eagerly anticipated home derby with Dover Athletic.

CHELMSFORD CITY: Nicholls, Hopkins, Holmes, Clarke, O’Connell, Parmenter, Cross, Arabsibia (Hawes 89), Ansell, Butterworth, Lay (Cooper 80).  Unused subs: Stewart, Basham, Crumpen.

FOLKESTONE INVICTA: Kessell, Glover, Lamb, Norman, Guest, Lindsey (Neilson 87) , M. Everitt, Munday, Dryden, Sykes (Walker 63), Burke. Unused subs: Coleman, J. Everitt, Dyson.

Attendance: 325.