Folkestone Invicta vs. Cray Wanderers – Isthmian League Premier – 13/2/22


Folkestone Invicta                            1

Cray Wanderers                                0


Cray Wanderers run of Tuesday night away games came to an end at a soggy Folkestone Invicta as a goal two minutes before half time by Adam Youseff edged a tight game for the home side who moved into the playoff places.

Cray battled hard and created the best chances in the first half and a couple early in the second half but had little luck in front of goal as Jamie Yila, Cameron Brodie, Chris Dickson and Kyel Reid all came close during the game.  In the end, Folkestone who are unbeaten in the Isthmian Premier at home this season scored the only goal when Yusuff scored his 22nd goal of the season from Jordan Wright’s cross.

The Wands had shown character to draw at Wingate & Finchley on Saturday with keeper Bailey Vose injured and after a search for a goalkeeper for this important game, with many thanks to Beckenham Town legendary former Wands keeper Nick Blue was drafted in for one game only. From the side which started on Saturday, Tom Hanfrey came in for Nazir Bakrin who was recalled by parent club Charlton Athletic for their U18s cup tie on Monday night.

Folkestone had been beaten 1-4 at Hornchurch on Saturday and there were a couple of changes to Neil Cugley’s side with Jordan Wright and Michael Everitt coming in for Ian Draycott and Ryan Johnson.

It is great credit to the Cheriton Road pitch and groundstaff for getting the game on after a very wet day around Kent and both teams came out of the traps quickly looking to get an advantage.  Cray thought they had a claim for a penalty when Kasim Aidoo went down in the box under a challenge from keeper Tim Roberts down the left but was instead booked.  Yusuff fired across goal and wide for Folkestone.

For Cray, a free kick out on the right from Kyel Reid was played towards the near post but Roberts was able to push the ball away.  Meanwhile at the other end, Luke Wanadio went down in the area but was also booked for a perceived dive.

The best early chance came in the 24th minute for Cray when patient play down the right saw Freddy Barton who had an excellent first half put over a cross towards the far post where Yila stole in to head wide of the right post,

Folkestone had a chance from a free kick down the left and Alfie Paxman’s shot was pushed away well by Blue and the follow up shot was cleared off the line by Ethan Kaiser.

The match was beginning to open up and the as Cameron Brodie broke into the box down the right and his shot was met by a good save from Roberts who kept the ball out at the near post.  At the other end David Smith set up Yusuff for a cross-shot held by Blue.

With two minutes to go until half time Folkestone went ahead when down the right Jordan Wright sent a cross into the box and Smith left the ball for Yusuff to turn the ball into the net with an accomplished finish from 10 yards.

Cray almost got back into it straight away as a ball in from the right into the area was met by a diving header from Jamie Yila but Roberts did superbly to keep the ball out with an excellent save.

HT:  1-0

Folkestone started the second half on the front foot and a shot from Smith was held by Blue and then again from a shot from Wanadio down the right.

Cray though were not out of the game and another fine cross from Barton down the right towards the near post was fired into the side net by Chris Dickson.

Then Cray had a great chance with Dickson the provider who found Yila down the left of the area and saw his shot go over the top much to the home side’s relief.

This was followed by another chance when Cook found Barton and his ball from the right to the far post was steered over by Dickson but the linesman’s flag would have disallowed it for offside.  Still Cray threatened and Kyel Reid turned and shot from the right edge of the area but was held by Roberts.

Folkestone though were managing to stem the tide and began to exert some authority defensively and chances for the Wands in the last 20 minutes were few and far between.

For Folkestone former Wand Andy Drury fired well over and from a corner down the right, Paxman’s cross to the far post found the head of Josh Vincent and was claimed by Blue.  Then from another corner this time Callum Davies headed over the top.

As the half entered the final stages the pitch was starting to sap the players it seemed but Folkestone were unlucky not to score a second when a snap shot from Yussuf came back off the crossbar.

Still Cray wouldn’t go away from the game and threw one last effort to grab a point and Dickson from the left put in a cross which fell to Anthony Cook but his shot was half hit and Roberts was able to scramble down to save.

In the end Folkestone saw out the victory which moved them back into 5th place in what is looking a tight race with the likes of Bishops Stortford, Enfield, Lewe, Kingstonian and Hornchurch all jockeying for a playoff place and are a hard side to beat especially at home.  Cray though played well especially the likes of Barton, Brodie, Danquah and Reid and just couldn’t convert their chances and Yila could have had a hat trick.

Cray with eleven games to go remain 19th in the table on 27 points and next meet Haringey Borough at Hayes Lane on Saturday looking to climb away from the bottom four and if they show the same attitude, desire and commitment over the remaining game then they will be able to finish the season strongly.

Folkestone Invicta:   Tim Roberts, Joshua Vincent, Luke Wanadio (Kieran McCann, 90), Andy Drury (Ian Draycott, 77), Callum Davies, Jordan Wright, Michael Everitt, Ronnie Dolan, David Smith, Adam Yusuff, Alfie Paxman:  Subs: Lenny Atherton, Connor Collins

Scorer:           Yusuff 43

 Booked:         Wanadio, Davies, Everitt, Yusuff

 Cray Wanderers:  Nick Blue, Freddy Barton, Richie Danquah, Ethan Kaiser, Kasim Aidoo (Luca Albon, 78), Tom Hanfrey, Cameron Brodie (Jacob Munting, 84, Anthony Cook, Jamie Yila, Chris Dickson, Kyel Reid: Subs:  Emanuel Oduguwa, Eniola Hassan, James Town

 Booked:         Aidoo, Danquah

 Referee:         Peter Conn

 Assistants:    Zack Moules, Richard Joss

Att:       473