King's call too late
INVICTA left it too late to spring a shock as they exited the play-offs at the hands of classy Dulwich Hamlet on Tuesday night.
Neil Cugley's side just weren't at the races for too long but Stuart King's late strike gave hope of a dramatic equaliser.
In the end, it wasn't to be.
Dulwich were by no means world-beaters and on another day Invicta could have won this game.
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But too many players didn't stamp their mark on the game and they didn't score when they had the ascendancy.
Another season in Ryman One is by no means a disaster but Invicta would have left Champion Hill knowing they didn't do themselves justice.
Hamlet didn't look at their best – they hit five past Invicta the last time they met in south London – and chances came for a Folkestone opener.
The best of them fell to Liam Dickson but his volley from Josh Burchell's cross went harmlessly wide.
Head in hands for Dickson and head in hands for the man directly behind him waiting to pounce – Stuart King.
Dickson didn't hear King's call, much to the visible horror of the deadly striker. Tricky Dulwich right-winger Nyren Clunis looked dangerous at every opportunity going forward but still the hosts didn't create any real clear-cut opportunities.
That was all about to change.
With 29 minutes on the clock ex-Gillingham midfielder Kevin James whipped in a free-kick to the near post that caught Jack Delo off-guard and he could only palm the ball back into the danger zone.
Dulwich number 9, Ray Powell, found himself in the right place at the right time to prod home the easiest of chances to leave Invicta facing an uphill battle.
Until then they'd enjoyed plenty of the ball but Hamlet, seizing the initiative, upped their game. They nearly struck a second on 40 minutes when Clunis struck a right-footed shot that soared over Delo's bar.
Invicta gave it a good go after the break and chances were coming.
Darren Smith's free-kick found its way to Dickson – who had plenty of chances himself – but his volley was deflected over.
From the resultant Smith corner Frankie Chappell made good contact with his header but the keeper blocked the effort then dived on it first before tensions boiled over and a mini bout of handbags ensued.
It was Dulwich, however, who were to score next.
Substitute Frankie Sawyer whipped a ball into the box and Powell snuck in round the bag to send the home faithful mad.
"Book the coach to Bognor" one shouted – he was soon made to chew his fingernails.
Cugley pushed Frankie Chappell up top and it paid.
He won a knockdown which found King who, despite being quiet all game, got the ball out from under his feet and smashed it off the left post and in.
It was game on for the final few minutes but it wasn't to be.
Folkestone had chances – Dickson, Roland Edge and sub Atkins all sent efforts wide – and Delo even came up to make himself a hero.
But there was to be no repeat of the play-off dreams of 2010 as Invicta bowed out.