Thursday 01st September 2005

Late leveller denies Folkestone
            Folkestone Invicta 2-2 Salisbury City
            Saturday 3 January 2004
            Dr Martens League Eastern Division
            by Richard Murrill

A last minute equaliser from Salisbury substitute Matt Tubbs denied Folkestone Invicta all three points in a game that could have gone either way at the Westbourne Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

John Ayling had twice given Invicta the lead, but Tubbs brought Salisbury level on both occasions, with all the goals coming during the second half.

Ayling was given his chance in the starting line up as top goalscorer Allan Tait failed a pre-match fitness test after a recurrence of his hamstring injury at Erith & Belvedere on New Year’s Day.

And AYLING opened the scoring after 53 minutes when he picked his spot and slotted the ball into the net when Paul Lamb found himself in space on the left flank and played a low ball into the penalty area.

Tubbs entered the fray two minutes later when he replaced Salisbury’s top goalcorer Steve Strong and the visitors pressed for an equaliser as Scott Bartlett cut in from the right and shot at goalkeeper Tony Kessell after 72 minutes.

And 19-year-old TUBBS after 73 minutes made it 1-1 when he converted Craig Davis’ cross from the left.

Invicta then had goalkeeper Kessell to thank for the latest in an increasing line of outstanding saves from the south London custodian. Kessell made an excellent point blank save to deny striker Adam Wallace when Wayne Turk played the ball in from the right after combining with Tubbs.

But AYLING appeared to have won it for Invicta when he headed the ball in from close range after 86 minutes after goalkeeper Kevin Sawyer had touched the ball back towards the 21-year-old striker after he had scooped the ball across.

This was the first time this season that Ayling had completed 90 minutes for Invicta and he looked like being the match winner.

But in a final twist, TUBBS took the ball on from the right hand side and curled a low shot into the corner of the net from the edge of the penalty area for a fine solo goal in the 90th minute.

There was still time for Adam Flanagan to be put through during injury time, but Sawyer was able to prevent the Invicta centre half from being an unlikely hero.

In an evenly contested first half, Kessell had got down to save from Wallace in the 13th minute after Strong put him through after capitalising on an error from Flanagan.

Strong chipped at Kessell from the edge of the area after 29 minutes, while Ayling threatened at the other end after 36 minutes but scuffed his shot across goal after beating his man when striking partner James Dryden touched on a Scott Lindsey clearance.

The closest to a goal during the first half came after 38 minutes when Kessell saved from point blank range from Strong after making an initial save from Wallace as Salisbury forced their first corner of the game.

Invicta were close during first half stoppage time when Ayling deflected a Flanagan shot towards goal, but the effort was cleared off the line.

All the goals came after the interval as Invicta drew 2-2 at home for the second time this season, with Salisbury repeating Stamford’s trick of grabbing a last minute equaliser.

Salisbury’s Wallace was the game’s only booking after 56 minutes.

FOLKESTONE INVICTA: Kessell, Watkins (Everitt 80 mins), Lamb (Millar 83 mins), Flanagan, Guest, Hogg, Hambley, Munday, Dryden, Ayling, Lindsey.  Unused subs: Winfield, Dyson, Holdway.

SALISBURY CITY: Sawyer, Bartlett, Cook, James, Thomas, Davies, Turk, Davis, Wallace, Purches, Strong (Tubbs 55 mins).  Unused subs: Crook, Phillips, Holmes, Howes.

Attendance: 401.

To advertise here, telephone Stephen McCartney 07979 418 360