Friday, 3 April 2015

Folkestone Invicta 1 v 0 Chipstead

Friday 3rd April 2015
Isthmian League Division One South
Cheriton Road, Folkestone
Admission and Programme: Free
Attendance: 1052
Match Rating: 3

For my Good Friday action, I decided to take advantage of Folkestone Invicta offering not only free entry (normal addmission £9.00), but free programmes too. Although I had visited Cheriton Road a few times previously, my last visit was almost ten years ago, and I recall the ground being one of the more interesting that was worthy of a revisit.

The ground is less than a ten minute walk from Folkestone West train station, and is a ground that has changed a little in the last few years. What used to be an all-seater stand, straddling the half way line, is now an uncovered terrace, and the stand was damaged during a storm a couple of years ago. The seats were transferred to the smaller stand opposite, which use to cover terracing. The rest of the ground remains unchanged, with half a dozen steps covered behind one goal, and a larger open terrace behind the other. In one corner of the ground is a double decker building housing the tea bar, changing rooms and hospitality areas, whilst in the diagonally opposite corner, where the main entrance turnstiles are, is the front of the social club and a tea bar, with a nice open space to mingle. It's a nice ground that has a traditional and intimate feel about it, and the view looking from the all-seater stand is attractive, with the North Downs close in view - but not today, with fog blocking the hills from view.

Coming into this game, Folkestone Invicta were in third place, and already guaranteed a promotion play-off berth, being unable to catch runaway champions elect Burgess Hill, and are out of reach of the teams currently outside of the playoff positions, but they still have a home tie in the play-offs to play for, by finishing second or third. They came into this game in good form, unbeaten in nine games since early February, picking up 21 points. Chipstead were in 18th place, with 48 points from 41 games, and are on a terrible run of form, losing their last six games and failing to score in their last four. With 11 points separating them and the relegation places, they do not have any real fears of being sucked into the relegation zone.

On a rather murky day, with fog enveloping the ground, and occasional misty drizzle, this game did not really live up to the big occasion - whilst being entertaining enough, there was precious little goalmouth action, particularly during the first half, which was very even, Chipstead looking lively despite their recent poor form, although true to recent form, they never really looked like scoring.

Into the second half and Folkestone certainly took more of the initiative, creating more goalscoring chances, and they took the lead on 71 minutes with quite a simple goal, Matt Newman delivered a corner and Josh Vincent placed a powerful header past the keeper and into the net. Although Chipstead very occasionally looked capable of getting an equaliser on the break, it always looked more likely that another goal would come from Folkestone, and they held on quite comfortably for the three points to keep them on course for a home play-off game after the regular season.

Video highlights of this match can be found here

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