On a sunny and windy afternoon at the seaside, the Ambers put 3rd placed Folkestone to the sword inflicting a 4-0 defeat on a team looking to secure a second or third place finish for home advantage in the Play Off matches. This was Folkestone’s first home defeat in the League since 29th September 2020. The Ambers made two changes from the side that beat Wingate & Finchley 3-0 last Saturday as Chevron McClean replaced Daniel Ojo and Zack Newton came in for Taylor Miles.
Invicta kicked off playing with the wind at their backs, and within two minutes they created a chance with advantage played by the Referee, McCann slipped the ball back to Andy Drury who shot across goal and wide of the far post. Alfie Paxman’s low free kick was then deflected away as the home side sought to take early control. After twenty minutes the Ambers found their feet & mastered the wind, goalkeeper Preston Edward’s long kick found Zack Newton and he pulled the ball down out of the air on the right before playing in Reece Beckles-Richards, his shot just wide when well placed, but a warning to the Folkestone defence. Skipper Joe Re then collected the ball wide on the left and sent in a good cross to Rowan Liburd, who got his shot away, but it was deflected for a corner, one of several the Ambers striker forced as the home defence back-pedalled.
Folkestone’s Luke Wanadio had a good chance as McCann and Drury combined again, slipping the ball to Wanadio who was in space on the left-hand side of the penalty area, but Edwards got down well to save at the near post. For Cheshunt chief spoiler, Amadou ‘Action Man’ Kassarate found Zack Newton who set up Liburd, his skill & control allowed him to get in a shot, but not a full connection & home keeper Roberts had time to collect. The pace of Beckles Richards & Newton rang alarm bells in the home defence on regular occasions as Cheshunt’s defence stood firm, breaking down Folkestone attacks, for the midfield to feed the front line. Cheshunt broke the deadlock on the half hour mark, A ball played into the penalty area and moved quickly across it by Liburd and Beckles-Richards set up Newton and he shot past the advancing Roberts into the far corner.
Man of the Match Newton showed off good technique on the right to bring a high ball down and cross in one movement, which was a fraction too high for Liburd, but Joe Re following up, hit a powerful goal-bound shot needing to be charged down.
The second half started with the wind slightly in the Ambers favour & Folkestone clearly struggling to clear their lines, or breach the meanest defence in the Premier League. Joe Re as busy as ever, made an excellent job of chasing a lost cause, did well to retrieve the ball on the bye line and get in a cross which was nodded over by Liburd.
The Cheshunt striker then forced keeper Roberts into a very good save to deny him a goal, From the resultant corner from the left, Roberts made a good punch from under his own crossbar, but only as far as Beckles-Richards on the edge of the area, alas his shot was deflected for another corner….. again cleared. The Ambers were in the ascendancy and starting to play fast football, Folkestone’s midfield chasing shadows, and their frontline increasingly isolated to the extent keeper Preston Edwards was not really called upon in the second half except to fold up his newspaper , rise from his deckchair & deliver the occasional goal kick before returning to his crossword. ( 4 Down, Battered 10,7) At the other end the swirling wind was forcing keeper Roberts into regularly punching clear, and seeing the Ambers win the second ball or the corner.
Folkestone made changes to inject some urgency, but this was largely ineffective. A free kick conceded on the edge of the Folkestone area whistled just past the right-hand post courtesy of Joe Re, and the Ambers were getting closer to a second, while Folkestone continued to labour in the middle not getting into the final third with any conviction.
Into the last quarter & Kayne Diedrick Roberts replaced Beckles-Richards, within three minutes he doubled the Cheshunt lead when he broke through the heart of the home defence to place the ball past Roberts.
The Invicta defence reorganised to chase the game was now in trouble, Cheshunt looking dangerous every time they entered the final third. Sure enough they extended their lead further, sub Diedrick Roberts sending Newton on a slalom run into the Folkestone box, a desperate tackle stopping him just as he pulled the trigger, but as ever Cheshunt had a man ready for the second ball & Jamie Reynolds passed the ball into the net for three nil. Diedrick Roberts sealed the win with his second and Cheshunt’s fourth when he robbed Josh Vincent on the left-hand side and then cut in before surprising Roberts by sending an early low shot into the corner of the goal.
Fantastic away support again made a huge difference despite being outnumbered made sure that Folkestone knew where Cheshunt was, who was playing, and what the score was, One of the best results of the season after being held 0-0 at home despite getting the ball over the line at the Theobalds Lane end (same keeper btw). Cheshunt are now unbeaten in seven league games, and having despatched one of the top five in the run in, will turn their attention to other contenders Worthing, Stortford, Hornchurch & Lewes all at Theobalds Lane, as well as six away matches versus East Thurrock, Bowers, Brightlingsea, Bognor, Haringey & Corinthian Casuals. Don’t write the Ambers off for a play off place just yet, but if they don’t make it, they will certainly be an influence as to who does!