East Thurrock United 0 Folkestone Invicta 2
Goals from Mark Saunders and Steve Norman gave Folkestone Invicta a comprehensive victory on their first visit to East Thurrock United’s Rookery Hill on Saturday afternoon, writes Richard Murrill.
Invicta were on top from the start of the match with one of their most complete performances of the season to consolidate their mid table position in the Ryman Premier League against a side now one place above them in the table.
Player-coach Saunders opened the scoring with a goal during first half stoppage time for the second successive game.
The former Gillingham star was there to touch the ball in from close range after captain Adam Flanagan had flicked on a Stuart Myall throw in from the left.
And Essex resident Norman – who lives about ten minutes away from the Corringham ground – made it 2-0 in the 54th minute with a quality header into the top right hand corner of the net when Matt Carruthers did very well to get in an inviting cross from deep on the right hand side.
The impressive Carruthers had caused the home defence plenty of problems and the former Ashford and Dover Athletic forward enjoyed his best game since re-joining Invicta as part of the deal which took John Guest to Welling in February.
Carruthers helped to give Invicta much-needed cutting edge up front to go with their always stubborn defence.
The 29-year-old tested home goalkeeper Jamie Riley with an early free kick which was touched over for a corner and a saving tackle denied Walid Matata when Carruthers played the ball in from the right hand side.
Another Carruthers shot was touched round the far post when Saunders played him through as Invicta dominated the early proceedings.
James Everitt then nearly got on the end of a Flanagan cross from the left and a Carruthers chip was touched over the crossbar by Riley for another corner.
A few seasons ago Invica had the bad habit of conceding goals just before half time, but the tide seems to have turned as Saunders struck again here just before the interval.
As the rain began to fall at the start of the second half, Invicta continued to create chances as Carruthers chipped the ball onto the roof of the net when Martin Chandler played him through after Flanagan had flicked on another Myall throw in the 48th minute.
For East Thurrock, Garry Wotton shot wide on the turn from the edge of the penalty area following a corner on the left after 52 minutes.
But Norman’s goal a minute later was to put Invicta firmly in the driving seat.
There were chances at both ends in the 58th minute as Julian Edwards headed over a cross from the left for East Thurrock and Matata rifled the ball into the side netting for Invicta when Chandler put him through down the right hand side of the box.
Invicta defender Kevin Watson had to make a saving tackle on Martin Tuohy three minutes later when the ball broke for the home substitute inside the penalty area.
At the other end, East Thurrock right back Stuart Williams cleared for a corner after 64 minutes to deny Matata when another good Carruthers pass set up the chance after Saunders had headed the ball forward.
Invicta goalkeeper Tony Kessell made a good save during over eight minutes of stoppage time to keep out Danny Grieves’ close range effort.
The win means that Invicta have now won 14 and lost 14 of their 36 league games so far this season.
East Thurrock United: Riley, Williams, Holding, Mully, Gresham (Harrison 71), Wotton, Faulkner (Tuohy 48), Hayzelden, Grieves, Edwards, Turnbull. Subs: Holmes, Patterson.
Folkestone Invicta: Kessell, Watson, J. Everitt, Flanagan, Shearer (Lamb 60), Saunders, Chandler (M. Everitt 86), Myall, Matata, Carruthers (Neilson 90), Norman. Subs: Fraser, Mann.