Isthmian Premier Division Tue 25 January The Crucial Environmental Stadium
  • Kealy (29', 54')
  • Pearce (46')
Folkestone Invicta
  • Paxman (73')

Luca Cocoracchio came in for Cam Tutt, while Luke Robinson returned in place of the injured Reece Myles-Meekums, in the only changes to the side that suffered the agony of a stoppage time equaliser on Saturday.

There was plenty of endeavour but few chances to write home about as both sides made a tentative start.

Jasper Pattenden pounced but failed to capitalise on Tim Roberts spilling the ball on the byline, after less than ten minutes, as he stooped to conquer though narrowly míssed the target.

The Folkestone ‘keeper was soon back to his usual self, when he comfortably claimed a Colbran header with Joel rising highest at the far post to almost test the Invicta custodian.

In between, Adam Yusuff had the ball in the back of the net, only for the far-side assistant to frustrate him by way of an offside flag.

Ollie Pearce came close when he found God, although merely by way of skying his rather ambitious effort over the bar and landing it at the Pearly Gates.

Reds’ next attempt was rather more accurate, as Kealy turned on Colbran’s short pass from the right-hand side of the penalty area to beat Roberts with a low drive and put the hosts in front, just shy of the half-hour mark.

That lead almost proved to be short-lived, thanks to Scott Heard stretching Harrison Male with a powerful shot from around twenty-five yards, which missed the top of the goalframe by a matter of inches.

Worthing continued to ask questions of their own; Robinson, who helped set up Kealy’s strike by supplying Colbran, did well to win a corner, taken by Jesse Starkey and met by Danny Barker who got there before Roberts but couldn’t keep his header down.

One-nil is always a fairly precarious advantage to “enjoy”, as the home team took a narrow one into the half-time break.

However, less than sixty seconds after it, Pearce made it thirty goals in all competitions for the season.
Kealy cushioned a Barker nod down first time and held off three striped shirts, allowing Pearce to break free. From there he outpaced Matt Newman and burst into the eighteen yard box, where he flashed a shot across Roberts that sneaked into the far side of the net, despite the best efforts of a backtracking Alfie Paxman to keep it out.

The visitors were presented with a great opportunity to haul themselves back into the game, as Male gifted possession straight to Ronnie Dolan, who quickly released Yusuff . Sadly for the number ten he could only return the ball to it’s original source, as he chipped harmlessly into Harrison’s hands after he’d turned Cocoracchio and left him trailing in his wake.

That miss would rapidly return to haunt the guests, when Colbran’s through ball – in front of the away dugout – dissected the travelling rearguard, leaving Kealy to hold off the close attentions of Newman and lift the ball over a stranded Roberts from the edge of the ‘d’.

Invicta’s netminder was definitely in the right place at the right time, an hour into proceedings, by pulling off a fine save to prevent Colbran diverting another Starkey flag-kick home off his dome and making it three.

Recent signing, the hugely experienced Andy “Jukebox” Drury climbed off the bench early into the second period, although his audacious attempt at catching out Male from distance, moments later, remained just that.

Fans were left desperately trying to catch their collective breath when Roberts produced top-draw stop number two, less than a minute afterwards; this time Kealy being denied a well-deserved hat-trick by a player in equally fine form.

In spite of the Premier Division’s top-ranked club applying constant pressure to the Kent-based visitors, it would be they who clawed their way back into the contest, with little more than a quarter of it still to go.

Cocoracchio made his way into the referee’s soon-to-be bulging notebook by bringing down Josh Vincent, a fraction outside the penalty box. Drury’s classy backheel giving Paxman room to curl beyond a helpless Male and set up a grandstand finish.

Pearce went agonisingly close to making it four when he fizzed a low ball across the area but no one was there to apply the final touch.

Before Roberts did it yet again, by making Starkey the latest man in red to put his head in his hands, after Pearce had slipped him in with a delightful reverse pass.

Folkestone threatened to make it a very nervous final few minutes for their hosts, following a corner that caused panic at the disco; Barker only able to nod clear as far as a lurking Ian Draycott. However, on this occasion, the sub, who’d scored twice in that opening day win, volleyed a whisker the wrong side of the far upright, sixteen yards out.

Four more were to be added on and, just like at the weekend, drama ensued, although in this instance, Roberts managed to get his fingertips to replacement Dean Cox’s cross, following a typical driving run by Colbran.

The only sour note of the evening coming even later, when a series of niggly fouls led to a mass confrontation in front of the player’s tunnel, that resulted in yellow cards being shown to Drury and Newman for Invicta, along with one to two-goal hero Kealy accompanied by a red for Barker.