Norman nets in home county again

Wednesday 23rd August 2006

A peach of a free kick from Steve Norman rescued a point for Folkestone Invicta in a 1-1 draw away to Billericay Town at New Lodge on Tuesday night.

This was something akin to a home game for Essex resident Norman and the 27-year-old left-sided defender added to his unique goalscoring record against clubs from his home county. All of Norman’s six goals for Invicta have come versus teams from Essex, with five of those half dozen goals coming in the county itself.

Norman's 78th minute equaliser came when substitute Joe Neilson was tripped by Billericay captain Jamie Dormer in a central position right on the edge of the Billericay penalty area.

Invicta’s first goal of the season helped to lift the gloom which had threatened to descend on the club as they trailed again after a disappointing 1-0 home defeat at home to Harrow Borough on Saturday’s opening day.

Leon Hunter had opened the scoring for the home side when he fired home with a well-taken finish from the right hand side of the box in the 53rd minute.

But Norman’s equaliser – the first goal scored by an away team in five Ryman Premier League meetings between the two clubs – preserved manager Neil Cugley’s unbeaten run of eight wins and now two draws in the club’s second match of the season in ten campaign’s under his leadership.

Invicta went into the game with attacking players Matt Carruthers and Walid Matata back in the starting line up after missing out on Saturday for differing reasons.

The visitors signalled their intent within the opening minute as Matata headed over when centre half Lee Shearer got forward to flick on the game’s first corner from the left.

And Carruthers headed over when Micheal Everitt played the ball over from the right after four minutes.

At the other end, Invicta captain Adam Flanagan made a vital interception to concede a corner after six minutes of his 150th starting appearance for the club following a move involving Billericay’s Lee Hodges and centre forward Nathan Elder.

Elder headed over Hodges’ corner from the left four minutes later and the Billericay danger man couldn’t get direction on his header when another Hodges ball came to him at the far post after 22 minutes.

A 25th minute Carruthers free kick from a central position on the edge of the Billericay box was deflected for a corner by defender Dave McSweeney.

But Billericay struck the upright after 36 minutes when striker Joe Flack dinked the ball over from the left hand side and it came back off Invicta’s far post.

For Invicta, Shearer got up to head a Norman free kick from the left wide towards the end of a typically low-scoring encounter between the two clubs.

It was the home side’s turn to threaten within a minute of the second half as Flack got in down the right hand side of the penalty area, but Kessell made a one-handed save and also managed to divert the ball away from the in-coming Elder.

Elder headed over a deep cross from Hodges at the far post after 49 minutes. And Ewas then guilty of a glaring miss two minutes later when he blasted over after being put clean through by Flack when James Everitt missed a header in midfield to leave the visitors’ defence exposed.

But Billericay were soon celebrating as Hunter struck to break the deadlock.

Matt Game shot across goal for Billericay after 68 minutes when Flack played him through down the right hand side and goalscorer Hunter headed against the Invicta crossbar a minute later when Elder played the ball over from the left hand side.

Invicta went 4-3-3 for the closing minutes as Stuart Myall and Neilson replaced James Everitt and Carruthers, with Kevin Watson moving across to right back.

And they will be hoping that Norman’s equaliser will acting as some kind of turning point in their fortunes.

There were bookings for both numbers nines – Invicta’s Paul Jones (late challenge after 35 minutes) and Billericay’s Elder (challenge on Micheal Everitt after 53 minutes).

Billericay Town: McMahon, McSweeney, Kerrigan, Blewitt (Swaine 25s), Heffer, Dormer, Game, Hunter, Elder, Flack, Hodges (Collins 60). Ssubs: Ryan, Lee, Capleton.

Folkestone Invicta: Kessell, J. Everitt (Myall 70), Norman, Flanagan, Shearer, Watson, M. Everitt, Matata, Jones, Saunders, Carruthers (Neilson 70). Subs: Chandler, Friend, Sly.

Attendance: 385.

Chatham Town got off to a dream start at Corinthian Casuals on Tuesday night when Ian Pulman latched onto a weak back header to lob the keeper for a 1-0 lead in the 2nd minute.

Darren Smith nearly made it two with a free kick which struck the post.

In what proved to be a very open flowing half, Casuals equalised after 11 minutes, Andre McCollin picking up a through ball behid the defence and lobbing John Whitehouse before tapping home from two yards.

Luke Harvey then scored twice just after the half hour mark to put Chats in control. The first came courtesy of a ball into the box from Smith which gave Harvey time to pick his spot and drill a low shot past the keeper from a tight angle.

The second followed a good build up on the right involving Tom Binks, Smith and Mark Brooks, the latters cross being met with a good finish at the near post.

Four minutes after the break Rob Denness made it 4-1 with a flick header from Smith's free kick.

Both sides created other chances, the closest of which came in the last minute when Whitehouse had to come out quickly to block at the feet of McCollin.

A good entertaining game and three well deserved points for Chatham away from home.

Chatham Town: Whitehouse, Binks, Davey, Larkin, Goodger, Best (Douglas 64), Smith (Lyons 85), Brooks, Harvey, Denness (King 76), Pulman. Subs: Boyle, Smith.

Greenwich Borough Boss Peter Garland made one change against VCD Athletic last Saturday to the side that beat Tunbridge Wells when Laurie Mansfield came in at centre-back replacing the unavailable Dave Waters.

And it wasn't a great start for Mansfield when on 3 minutes he allowed the visitors Mark Greatorex through on goal. However, Holder saved Greatorex's initial shot but was unable to prevent the striker from retrieving the ball and blasting it home past John Samuel on the goal-line.

Eight minutes later Borough nearly drew level but Shane Sutherland's cross into the box was missed by Meshach Nugent by the narrowest of margins and cleared as far as Dave Hassett who could only manage to force a corner.

Borough then came in for a couple of scares. First, Mansfield had to react quickest to clear the ball off the line and then Richard Radbourne was called into action to thump the ball away for a corner.

Borough looked stagnant against their well organised visitors whose one-touch football often had the midfield and defence mesmerised.

Then on 21 minutes keeper Michael Holder tipped Stuart Abbott's corner kick over the bar. But just a minute later VCD doubled their lead when John Samuel failed to make his tackle on Greatorex and the former Margate player made no mistake as he rounded Holder and smashed the ball home.

Four minutes later David Hunt's cross to the far post was headed into the 6 yard box by Danny Penny but Holder was able to make a comfortable save.

Borough then went close on 28 minutes when following a corner Laurie Mansfield's header crept just wide of visiting keeper Grant Wallis' goal.

Danny Penny's header then flashed wide of Holders left hand post on 39 minutes.

Borough made a substitution at half-time when Abdel El-Ferdi made his debut coming on for Shane Sutherland.

And it was the debutant on 47 minutes that finally helped give Borough a life-line. Ben Yiadom's perfectly weighted ball into the box found El-Ferdi who planted a pin-point cross across the face of goal which was met be the onrushing Dave Hassett who completed a wonderful Borough move as he crashed the ball home past Wallis from 6 yards.

Borough were starting to look more lively with Yiadom and Budak putting the visitors under pressure and on the back-foot more vast period's of the second-half.

However, Danny Penny went close for VCD on 55 minutes but his 18 yard effort went inches wide of Holder's left-hand post.

On 59 minutes Ben Yiadom's claims for a penalty were turned down by referee Andy Mead after the midfielder felt that he had been pushed over in the box. Yiadom's furious protest did no good as Mead produced a yellow card for an apparent dive.

Borough then began to take control and two chances fell to Hassett within the space of a minute. On 69 minutes he beat three VCD players before running into the brick wall of visiting captain Paul Foley and then could only watch as his overhead kick buzzed narrowly over Wallis' goal.

Hassett then had another chance on 72 minutes but his tame shot was easily collected by Grant Wallis. Three minutes later Penny hit his shot high and wide but this was to be the last effort by a VCD player.

Mansfield and Smith were in commanding form in defence as they easily dealt with the minimal attacks from the visitors.

Peter Garland replaced the impressive Budak on 78 minutes and seven minutes later striker Lee Anderson came on for defender Laurie Mansfield as Borough changed their formation and went looking for the equaliser.

On 87 minutes Lee Anderson was fouled on the edge of the area but Peter Garland's bullet of a free-kick ricocheted off VCD's solid defensive wall and was cleared to safety.

This was to be the last attack from either side even though referee Andy Mead added 5 minutes of injury time.

Greenwich Borough: Holder, Smith, Tipple, Radbourne, Mansfield (Anderson), Samuel, Sutherland (El-Ferdi), Budak (Garland), Hassett, Nugent, Yiadom. Subs: Walker, Jones