Folkestone Invicta 3 Walton & Hersham 1

Monday 03rd April 2006
Folkestone Invicta made it three consecutive wins when goals from Kevin Watson (penalty), Mark Saunders and Matt Carruthers gave Neil Cugley’s side a 3-1 victory to complete a league double over Walton & Hersham after the visitors had opened the scoring in an entertaining game, writes Richard Murrill.



The visitors came to the Buzzlines Stadium on Saturday looking for a win to maintain their push for a play-off place in the Ryman Premier League and the Swans went ahead in the 13th minute with a well-taken goal from Rob George who drilled in a low shot from 25 yards.

But Invicta were level on the stroke of half time when Watson converted a penalty awarded by one of the referee’s assistants when James Everitt’s cross from the right struck defender Will Jenkins on the arm.

It was the third successive match in which Invicta had scored during first half stoppage time after Mark Saunders’ previous goals against Harrow Borough and East Thurrock.

And player-coach Saunders put Invicta ahead in the 58th minute when he hooked the ball in after visiting goalkeeper Nick Gindre had clawed Carruthers’ dangerous in-swinging corner from the left away from the goal line.

Carruthers himself made it 3-1 in the 70th minute with his first goal since re-joining the club when he showed quality to race onto a Paul Lamb throw and lob the goalkeeper who got a hand onto the shot but could not prevent the ball from hitting the roof of the net.

Invicta gave a full debut to championship-winning reserve team top goalscorer Rob Knott after his midweek hat-trick against Hythe Town reserves in place of the injured Walid Matata (hamstring) and Lamb started a game for the first time in two months in place of Lee Shearer (ankle), although the left back will not have worn the number five shirt many times in his distinguished non-league career.

Knott gave a good account of himself from the start as he pulled the ball back for the in-coming James Everitt from the left hand side as Invicta went close within the opening minute.

Walton had the deceptively strong wind in their favour during the first half and Bobby Traynor hit a 30-yard free kick against an Invicta post after five minutes.

Debutant Knott was heavily involved in a lively start to the game and his good strike on the turn was touched round the post by goalkeeper Gindre for the game’s first corner after seven minutes.

Knott couldn’t get enough power on his header on the quarter of an hour mark when he was there again as Carruthers played the ball in and James Everitt headed just wide across goal at the far post two minutes later when Knott turned provider on the left hand side.

But Walton went close to increasing their lead when Wes Goggin slid his low shot just wide of the far post from the left hand side of the box after 18 minutes.

At the other end, a fierce Saunders shot was blocked on the line by Adam Cottrell a minute later.

Knott shot just wide for Invicta after 27 minutes when Lamb played the ball in and another Knott shot from the right hand side of the box was saved by Gindre just before the break.

Either side of those Invicta chances, James Everitt blocked Gavin Cartwright’s shot after a corner from the right in the 40th minute.

Invicta goalkeeper Tony Kessell had to touch a Steve McNamara free kick over the crossbar for a corner at the start of the second half.

Knott shot into the side netting on the hour as Invicta enjoyed the ascendancy after Saunders had put them ahead.

Traynor cut in from the left hand side and Kessell had to get down to keep out his fierce shot after 80 minutes.

Walton’s Cottrell was booked for kicking the ball away after 43 minutes and team mate Jenkins was cautioned a minute later to add to his woes in the penalty decision.

There was a new name on Invicta’s team sheet list as Ashley Burton, a youngster at Gillingham, was an unused substitute.

FOLKESTONE INVICTA: Kessell, Watson, J. Everitt (Fraser 86), Flanagan, Lamb , Saunders, Chandler (M. Everitt 57), Myall, Knott (Neilson 84), Carruthers, Norman.  Subs: Burton, Hurley.

WALTON & HERSHAM: Gindre, Jenkins, McNamara, Cartwright, Thurgood, Goggin, Dunne, Cottrell, George, Healy (Thorne 63), Traynor. Subs: Edgar, Goode, Perks, Frontin.