The Blues are back on the road for their first away match of 2024, taking the trip to Folkestone on Saturday after Wingate secured a 3-2 win in an excellent tie at home against Cheshunt on New Year's Day.
Folkestone Invicta, based on the Kent coast, are currently occupying 17th place in the Isthmian Premier League. Invicta have been in the Isthmian Premier League since 2016 after securing promotion as champions of the Isthmian South division in 2015/16. Since being in this league, Folkestone have generally finished in the top half and have occupied a playoff place on a couple of occasions, narrowly missing out on a couple of occasions too. As such, they will be disappointed with their current standing and looking to force their way up the league as we progress into the second half of the league season. Their overall results from 21 games in the league so far are 6 wins, 4 draws and 11 defeats. Andy Drury was appointed as player-manager at Invicta in November as they look to improve their fortunes this season.
Head To Head
We played against Folkestone in our opening fixture back in August, Invicta securing a convincing 4-0 victory at the Maurice Rebak Stadium, courtesy of an Ibrahim Olutade hat-trick. Thankfully for Blues fans, Olutade has since left the club, so won't be facing us again on Saturday. Last season, Folkestone secured the double over the Blues, so Wingate will be looking to gain revenge and a first victory over this opponent since February 2020.
Last Time Out
Folkestone had a torrid end to 2023, with 5 defeats on the bounce against Dulwich Hamlet, Bognor Regis, Horsham, Hastings and Hashtag. They did, however, start 2024 with a 2-0 victory over Kent rivals Margate, David Smith scoring both goals in the first half, and will be looking to use this momentum to move up the table.
The Blues come into the game off the back of two good wins, the aforementioned 3-2 win over Cheshunt on New Year's Day following a 2-1 win away at Kingstonian which has seen us remain in 4th position.
Players To Watch
David Smith scored twice against Margate and is a prolific striker on his day, previously being picked up by Bromley in 2022 after he bagged 35 goals for Folkestone in his first spell at the club that season. In defence, experienced full back Chris Sessegnon, brother of Spurs youngster Ryan, has been brought in to help shore up the Invicta defence in recent weeks.
For the Blues, Ruben Carvalho looked lively on his return to the starting XI on Monday and will be looking to add to his goal tally if involved this weekend. Meanwhile, our defence was excellent on Monday and will be vitally important to help us try to keep a clean sheet and avenge the opening day defeat.
Photos courtesy of Martin Addison