Wingate & Finchley 1-4 Folkestone Invicta - It's nice to be where we are but we know as a team we can be better, says Folkestone Invicta assistant manager Roland Edge

Tuesday 16th November 2021
Wingate & Finchley 1 – 4 Folkestone Invicta
Location Summers Lane, Finchley, London N12 0PD
Kickoff 16/11/2021 19:45

Isthmian League Premier Division
Tuesday 16 November 2021
Stephen McCartney reports from Summers Lane

FOLKESTONE INVICTA assistant manager Roland Edge says we know as a team we can be better after thrashing Wingate & Finchley to move into third-place in the Isthmian League Premier Division.

Left-winger Kieron McCann scored a hat-trick as Neil Cugley’s side romped into a 3-0 lead, before Marc Weatherstone’s side pulled a goal back through the impressive Theophilius Ofori with 18 minutes remaining, before Scott Heard rifled in a late fourth goal at Summers Lane.

Wingate & Finchley were reduced to ten-men on the stroke of half-time when they lost holding midfielder Jesse Armoo to a second yellow card after bookable challenges on Ryan Johnson and David Smith.

“I thought we started quite brightly.  I think they’ve got some good players to be fair. The pitch is always nice and it’s perfect for football, to play a passing game,” said Edge following Folkestone Invicta’s eighth league win of the season.

“I thought both teams started bright, I thought we might’ve edged it a little bit. We got two goals up.

“I thought the lad (Armoo) had to be sent-off. I’m not one to promote 10-v-11, I think sometimes it kills the game but I think the ref had to do it and it was a second yellow card.

“Dave Smith spun him well, he (Armoo) pulled him back, had to go and I think when it’s 11-v-11 I was really happy and then we went 10-v-11, something happens. We get a little bit sloppy, someone often feels they don’t have to do something and it all goes a little bit dis-jointed and they got another goal to make it 3-1 and Scott Heard’s goal at 4-1 killed it. I thought we deserved it really.”

After suffering a 5-0 defeat at Carshalton Athletic eight days ago, Folkestone Invicta have beaten Faversham Town 2-1 in The FA Trophy First Round and secured an emphatic victory against a Wingate & Finchley side in sixteenth-place in the pecking order with 15 points from 14 league games and have now gone seven games without any win in all competitions.

However, Weaterstone’s men created the first opening inside the opening five minutes.

Centre-half Daniel Pappoe fed the ball into Ofori, who turned in midfield and strode forward before feeding Bilal Sayoud, who drilled his left-footed shot just over the Folkestone Invicta crossbar from 25-yards.

Kavan Cotter swung in a deep corner in from the right which found Ofori in a pocket of space at the far post but he scuffed his shot bouncing into the hands of visiting goalkeeper Tim Roberts from 15-yards.

The home side won the corner count by 6-2 and Sayoud swung in their fourth corner of the night in the 10th minute which was cleared out to Cotter, who hooked a first time shot tricking past a crowd of players and harmlessly wide of the goal from the edge of the box.

Wingate & Finchley’s left-wing-back Luke Ifil was a threat during the first half and he controlled a long ball with his chest before cutting the ball back to Sayoud, who whipped in a first time cross, which was cleared out to Ofori, who took three touches of the ball inside the Folkestone box before teeing up Ifil, who drilled his first time right-footed shot around the top of the far post from 25-yards.

“I thought the 10 (Sayoud) and the 11 (Ofori) for them were sharp all night, they needed the attention of two people quite a lot,” admitted Edge.

“It was an open game and you kind of think whoever scores first is going to get in control of the game and luckily for us, it was us.”

Folkestone Invicta took a while to create their first opening as left-wing-back Alfie Paxman and striker Ade Yusuff linked up well down the left before Heard cut the ball back to fellow midfielder Ronnie Dolan, who unleashed a first time drive across the keeper and sailing past the far post from 30-yards.

“Ronnie’s got great technique, I mean because it looked like he was in all sorts of trouble with the touch. It wasn’t his fault, it was kind of played into him. He struck it well. You can always tell by the goalkeeper, the goalkeeper was scrambling because he was obviously in a bit of trouble and luckily for him, it wasn’t on target,” said Edge.

However, Folkestone Invicta grabbed the lead, against the run of play at the time, in the 16th minute.

Yusuff was released down the left and he cut the ball back to McCann, who drilled his left-footed drive which screamed very quickly into the roof of the net from a tight angle, aided by a nick off a defender.

“I thought that was a really good move. Ade’s done what he’s done all year, breaking the line, running at pace and Kieron struck it well enough and I think he earned that luck for that goal. I think the shot was on target and it catches the guy’s foot and it goes into the roof of the net,” said Edge.

It should have been two-nil to the Kent coastal side after Yusuff played a one-two with his strike partner Smith but Yusuff’s dink was comfortably caught by goalkeeper Ben Goode.

Edge added: “It was a strange one because Ade’s been really good. He’s just not quite found the net. It was nice move. Dave and Ade caused them lots of problems in the first half, linked up well.

“Ade’s gone through and we’re screaming on the sideline to strike it ‘low and hard across goal’ and he tries to dink him on his line. I think if Ade had that chance another 100 times he wouldn’t have chosen that way to finish.”

Folkestone Invicta goalkeeper Roberts pulled off a great save in the 23rd minute after Josh Vincent and Matthew Newman were caught out by a long defensive splitting through ball on the deck.

The pass came from Ifil, who put towering striker Ibrahim Meite through on goal but Roberts came off his line to narrow the angle and got a vital touch low to his left to ensure the ball flashed past the foot of the far post and behind for a corner.

“It’s one of those things, the goalkeeper doesn’t often get a lot of plaudits and a pat on the back. I thought Tim was probably one of our best players today. It was a vital part of the game and he’s made a great save,” added Edge.

Wingate & Finchley were enjoying a dominant spell and the woodwork denied the home side a deserved equaliser in the 31st minute.

Sayoud laid the ball off to Ofori, who took a touch and whipped in a shot with his left-foot which beat the diving Roberts but kissed the outside of the far post from 22-yards.

“I would say that was a bit of luck,” admitted Edge.

“I thought that was a good move by them. The lad’s jinky, he cut inside, hit it lovey. Tim’s kind of looking at it and luckily for us it hit the post and went wide. I thought that was in to be honest.”

The home side gave the ball away after playing out from the back and McCann, Heard and Paxman linked up down the left in the final third before Paxman fed the ball into Smith’s feet and the striker took a touch before sweeping his shot across the keeper and past the far post.

Folkestone Invicta doubled their lead in the 40th minute, courtesy of finishing off a clinical counter-attack.

Dolan’s hooked pass on the halfway line down the right wing released Smith and he fed the ball into his mate Yusuff, who put it on a plate for McCann, who took a touch before sweeping his right-footed shot past Goode, just left of centre, from 10-yards out.

Edge said: “A brilliant finish! Yet again the goals we’re good moves.  We worked it out to Kieron well. We said to him we wanted him to get into good attacking positions. He had a slightly dodgy touch if I’m honest but the finish was brilliant. He gave the goalkeeper the eyes and whipped it into the near post. The keeper didn’t stand a chance!”

Vincent played a 10-yard pass and Yusuff easily cut inside two defenders to reach the by-line down the right before pulling the ball back for holding midfielder Ryan Johnson, who took a touch before trying to arrow his left-footed shot into the top left-hand corner from 25-yards, the ball only just clearing the bar.

Ifil exploded to life when he played the ball in behind Vincent and Newman again to put in Sayoud and his low cross was met first time at the near post by Meite (nipping in front of Davies) but the ball flashed just past the foot of the upright from close range.

However, referee Steven Scott pulled out a yellow card and then a red card with 44:19 on the clock and Armoo (who could have followed Pappoe on the treatment table earlier on in the game with a suspected hamstring pull) walked down the tunnel and slammed the dressing room door in anger after being sent-off to ensure the home side played the whole of the second half with 10 men.

“Dave’s such a strong forward and that’s the first time in a long time when people have tried to fight with him,” added Edge. 

“He rolled him, the guy had no choice really, he pulled him back. Some will say it wasn’t a great pull but a pull’s a pull at the end of the day and that in the book says that is a yellow card and unfortunately for him, he had to go off.”

Wingate & Finchley caught Folkestone Invicta cold and Roberts pulled off another brilliant save just 22 seconds into the second half.

Yet again, the impressive Ofori and Ifil were involved in the counter-attack and Meite was put through on goal but his left-footed shot was smothered by the keeper low to his left before Paxman cleared the danger.

Edge said: “We said at half-time, start bright. When they go down to 10 they’re still going to come out, their spirit was going to be high. Sometimes they feel like they’ve been hard done by so the first five minutes is really, really important.

“I thought we started really bad, they’ve gone straight through and yet again Tim’s made a brilliant save after 22 seconds and Alfie’s cleared it off the line.

“I thought that was a little bit of a wake-up call. When we played Eastleigh and somehow we went to 10 and it just upped us a couple of gears.  Everyone sees it as a forgone conclusion that you’re going to win but you’ve still got to do the right things.

“In a lot of our victories Tim has made a vital save at some point.  That could’ve made it a totally different game (if they scored from that chance).”

Sam Hatton, a 29th minute substitution for the injured Pappoe, dropped in at the heart of the Wingate & Finchley defence alongside Lewis Hobbs, while J’Ardell Stirling switched to left-back, while Ifil moved over to right-back.

Yusuff laid the ball off to McCann down the left and once cutting into the box he slipped as he connected with the ball which ensured Goode caught the ball at his near post.

Wingate & Finchley called Roberts into making a low catch into his midriff as Sayoud drilled his left-footed free-kick from 35-yards towards the bottom right-hand corner after Callum Davies was penalised for making a strong challenge on right-back turned holding midfielder Matt Achuba.

“Well, that wasn’t easy either. The lad has struck the ball really well, despite he was a fair distance away and it’s always nice when it goes into the keeper and it stuck in to his hands and it settles everyone down,” said Edge.

However, clinical Folkestone Invicta grabbed a third goal in the 59th minute, courtesy of McCann’s hat-trick.

Heard fed the ball into Smith down the right hand side of the penalty area and the striker drilled in a cross towards the far post which was turned in by McCann from close range to take his goalscoring tally to four goals for the season.

“I thought it was good play, excellent driven cross and all you want from your furthest forward or winger is to arrive at the far post and he did that and he did that three times today and that’s why he got a hat-trick so we’re really pleased with that,” said Edge.

“Kieron’s been out for a while with a bad knee and stuff like that and it’s nice to have him back. He gives us a nice balance.”

Achuba gave the ball away in the middle of the park and Heard played a through ball along the deck through the heart of the pitch to put Smith through on goal. He played in Yusuff who was denied by a great save from Goode, sticking out his leg to his left while diving to his right to prevent the ball nestling into the bottom far corner.

However, just 24 seconds later, Smith’s shot on the turn from 25-yards flashed past the right-hand post.

Edge said: “I thought that was a fantastic save and that’s what I’m saying about Ade.  He’s done everything right there, he’s broken the line, it was a good ball into him, he struck it lovely with his left-foot and sometimes you’ve got to give goalkeeper’s credit. It was a brilliant save.”

Folkestone Invicta were dominating the middle of the park as they were not being pressed, but some complacency also crept into Cugley’s men.

Edge said: “You’re bound to, you’re bound to and that’s the danger. When you get the dominance because you’ve got the numerical advantage you’ve still got to do the right things and I think we slowed it down too much, complicated it and we gave them chances and even made errors and when you do that your forwards stop making the right runs and I felt there was a 15 minute patch in that second half when we caused ourselves troubles that we shouldn’t have had.”

Wingate & Finchley kept plugging away and their efforts were awarded in the 72nd minute as Ofori capped off a good nights work with a deserved goal.

Cotter swung in the home side’s final corner of the night from the left and two headed clearances failed to get any distance for the away side.

Hobbs retrieved the ball down the channel and he fed the ball inside to Ofori, who cut inside before placing his left-footed shot across the scrambling Roberts into the bottom far corner from 15-yards.

“That’s the really disappointing thing because at half-time we said ‘look every man has got to do their job. If you do your job, we’ve got a man over and you can make them pay,’ added Edge.

“I want to see the video. I think the 11 (Ofori) gets it too easy. I think he’s got four people around him putting no pressure on him. He shuffles it inside and strikes it lovely and Tim had no chance and then all off a sudden it’s a game isn’t it? That’s what you’ve got to be careful about, you’ve got to try to take the fight out of them.”

Ofori’s well-taken goal lifted spirits in the Wingate & Finchley camp.

Both goalkeepers were called upon in the space of a minute as Ofori released Ifil and his drilled cross from the right was pushed away by the excellent Roberts at his near post before Folkestone Invicta swiftly raced up the other end of the pitch and substitute striker Ian Draycott was released and his cross was hit first time by Heard, which was beaten away by Goode.

However, Folkestone Invicta rattled in a fourth goal in the final five minutes of a good night’s work in north London.

Yusuff played the ball out to Vincent, who from the right corner of the penalty area, drove in a precise cross towards the far post where the unmarked Heard ghosted in to rifle his first-time left-footed shot into the top near corner from close range.

“I thought JV (Vincent) was excellent today defensively and going forward,” said Edge.

“He’s been left one-v-one with a good player, still got the energy to overlap, good timing, great delivery and Scott Heard, like he’s done year-after-year, arrives in the box at the right time and puts it away.

“It was a good goal. I think all four of our goals were good. It’s just sometimes when you play against 10 you’ve got to move the ball a bit better.”

The electronic subs board positioned beside the away dug-out showed Finn O’Mara was going to replace Davies for the final embers of the game as the centre-half waited patiently to enter the field. However, O’Mara was given an orange bib to pull over his red and white striped shirt and didn’t have a chance to come on as there was no stoppage in play.

Worthing – 3-1 winners at Hornchurch tonight – lead the Isthmian League Premier Division table with 37 points from 15 games.

Enfield Town (29 points from 14), Folkestone Invicta (29 points from 14), Lewes (27 points from 15) and Bishop’s Stortford (26 points from 15) are currently in the play-off zone.

Folkestone Invicta travel to play Tony Russell’s Lewes at The Dripping Pan on Saturday, a side that beat Haringey Borough 4-2 at home in the league last weekend before coming away from Littlehampton Town with a 4-1 win in the Sussex Senior Cup this evening.

Reflecting on his side’s current league position, Edge replied: “Honestly, it’s unbelievable for Folkestone really with the clubs that are in our league and budgets that are in our league, that’s brilliant but all we’ve got to do is stay focused, keep our feet on the floor and keep working.

“The nice thing is we are where we are but we know we can be better but we know as a team we can be better and that’s what we’re aiming for.

“Lewes are a really good side, they move the ball great. We know Joe Taylor up front is decent, Ollie Tanner is a good forward as well. They both score goals so we know we’ve got a tough task but it’s nice when you come to a place like Wingate & Finchley and you take three points.  You go down to Lewes with a little bit of confidence.

“I think Lewes are drilled right. We’ve had some really tough games with them home and away.  We know them, they know us, so it’s all about who turns up on the day.

“It’s nice to be where we are, it could be a lot worse. We just have to keep working at it.”

Wingate & Finchley: Ben Goode, Matt Achuba (Tyrique Clarke 64), Luke Ifil, Daniel Pappoe (Sam Hatton 29), J’Ardell Stirling, Lewis Hobbs, Bilal Sayoud, Jesse Armoo, Ibrahim Meite (Hani Berchiche 70), Kavan Cotter, Theophilius Ofori.
Subs: Liam Smyth, Alphanso Kennedy

Goal: Theophilius Ofori 72

Booked: Jesse Armoo 21

Sent Off: Jesse Armoo 45

Folkestone Invicta: Tim Roberts, Josh Vincent, Alfie Paxman, Ryan Johnson, Callum Davies, Matthew Newman, Kieron McCann, Ronnie Dolan (Micheal Everitt 86), David Smith (Ian Draycott 71), Ade Yusuff, Scott Heard.
Subs: Oliver Freeman, Finn O’Mara, Connor Collins

Goals: Kieron McCann 16, 40, 59, Scott Heard 85

Attendance: 152
Referee:  Mr Steven Scott
Assistants: Mr Andrew Thomson & Mr Tolga Inanc