Thursday 01st September 2005

There's no stopping Invicta
Folkestone Invicta 4-1 Hemel Hempstead Town
FA Trophy First Round
Saturday 1 November 2003
by Richard Murrill

Folkestone Invicta made it 19 goals from their last four matches as they overcame Ryman League Division One North side Hemel Hempstead Town in Saturday’s F. A. Trophy First Round tie at the Westbourne Stadium.

The match was decided during the final 20 minutes as Neil Cugley’s side scored three times after the visitors had levelled at 1-1.

Adam Flanagan, James Dryden, John Ayling and Allan Tait scored the goals as Invicta were made to work for their victory in a match that was for a long period closer than the final scoreline would suggest.

Invicta were not at their best during the first half, but took the lead in the 41st minute when centre half FLANAGAN headed in Drew Watkins’ corner from the left.

But Hemel Hempstead levelled in the 67th minute when substitute Brian JONES got the final touch in a goalmouth scramble after Tony Kessell had touched a Nick Jackson shot onto the crossbar.

Invicta responded by replacing Martin Chandler and Anthony Hogg with Michael Everitt and John Ayling and soon regained their lead.

It was in-form striker DRYDEN who restored the home side’s lead when he thumped the ball home in the 70th minute after centre half John Guest had met another Watkins corner from the left.

Substitute AYLING made it 3-1 in the 77th minute when he squeezed the ball in off goalkeeper Wayne Hughes’ foot at the near post from the left hand side. It had been Ayling who had started the move before receiving Dryden’s deep cross from the right.

Dryden was again the provider for the final and best goal of the game when his left wing cross was met by a sweet volley from TAIT in the 86th minute.

Tait has been out-of-sorts by his own very high standards in the past couple of matches but will have been lifted by one of his best goals in Invicta colours.

The pre-game attention had centred on local MP and Conservative Party leader elect Michael Howard, whose attendance attracted hordes of cameras from the nation’s media.

When the match got under way, it was the visitors who looked more composed during the opening exchanges.

Jackson volleyed wide from the edge of the box after 18 minutes when Glen Parry’s corner from the right fell to him and Bryan Hammatt tried his luck from 40 yards when he spotted Kessell off his line after 21 minutes.

A screamer from Bobby Highton then flew wide for Hemel Hempstead after 24 minutes.

Dryden had been wide with a couple of shots for Invicta and then got under the ball and shot over after 26 minutes as things were not going as well as Invicta would have hoped.

Dryden put James Millar through after 27 minutes, but Hughes saved for a corner from which Jackson cleared off the line at the far post following a deflection.

At the other end, James Bent bizarrely chose to try and chip Kessell when put clean through on the right hand side after 28 minutes and Kessell touched over Gary Fitzgerald’s shot after 36 minutes when Mark Munday gave the ball away inside his own penalty box.

Flanagan’s goal was to put Invicta’s noses in front as half time approached and goalkeeper Hughes touched over Watkins’ goalbound free kick during first half stoppage time.

It didn’t look as though it was going to be Tait’s day as he couldn’t force Dryden’s ball in from the left home in the 47th minute. And then Tait was unable to convert from the edge of the box after 56 minutes when goalkeeper Hughes came out to block from Dryden following a through ball from Hogg.

A Dryden shot was deflected for a corner after 61 minutes and Munday headed just over from Watkins’ subsequent ball in.

Substitute Jones’ equaliser raised the prospect of a reply before Invicta’s late flurry settled the issue.

Hemel Hempstead captain Fergus Moore headed over from close range after 79 minutes, but Ayling had made a difference for Invicta and shot against the post in the 82nd minute.

Ayling was close again in the last minute when Hughes saved with his feet.

There were bookings for Invicta’s Chandler (foul on Bent after 51 minutes) and Millar (foul after 88 minutes) and for Hemel Hempstead’s Moore (bringing down Tait after 45 minutes) and Parry (foul on Hogg after 62 minutes).

FOLKESTONE INVICTA: Kessell, Watkins (Winfield 77 mins), Lindsey, Flanagan, Guest, Hogg (Ayling 67 mins), Chandler (Everitt 67 mins), Munday, Dryden, Tait, Millar.  Unused subs: Larkin, Egan.

HEMEL HEMPSTEAD TOWN: Hughes, Bruce, Moore, Leach, West, Fitzgerald, Highton, Parry (Jones 63 mins), Bent, Hammatt, Jackson (Kodra 79 mins).  Unused subs: Grieves, McDonagh, Perrin. 

Attendance: 363.