Hartley Wintney 4 Folland Sports 0
Ultimately the 3 level difference between the two teams showed as greater fitness and cutting edge took its toll on a valiant Folland side, though for much of the first half they remained in contention giving the home side a scare right on the half-time whistle.
Folland had the first shot on goal but Jamie Craven's shot was comfortably collected by Hartley's keeper Luke Williams. This was simply the prelude for Hartley to go up the other end and take the lead from a corner in the 4th minute. Josh Webb was on set piece duty and his far post corner was headed back across goal falling at the feet of Kingsley Eshun, who was allowed to turn and squeeze the ball home through a forest of legs.
Both teams exchanged chances as the game settled with Hartley's Toby Raggett shooting wide and for Folland, Ethan Anders heading narrowly wide from a Fabio Manual cross.
There then followed a prolonged period of midfield play but just after the half hour, Raggett and Eshun swapped wings which quickly paid dividends. Firstly Raggett had a shot well saved by Henry Newman, Folland 'keeper, but then on 37 minutes Eshun cut in from the left and scored with a powerful shot from a near impossible angle with ball going through the keeper's legs.
The referee played 3 minutes of stoppage time at the end of the first half and the final action was a Folland corner which resulted in an Anders header cannoning down off the underside of the bar and somehow failing to cross the line before the home defence scrambled the ball away. H.T. 2-0
Folland again had the first chance of the second half when Arshia Shabartadia failed to make decent contact with a diving header from a Manual cross. Shortly after Ben Wright for Hartley was released by Sam Argent for a run on goal but his low shot was well saved by Newman.
Just before the hour Hartley put the game out of reach with a 3rd goal. Raggett jinked his way to the by line and crossed for WRIGHT to score low past Newman. And shortly after Newman was called into action again as Webb spotted the goalkeeper off his line at a free kick from just inside the Folland half. His kick was inch perfect but Newman just got back in time to tip the ball over the bar.
Newman made another good save on 73 minutes when Dom Griffiths broke through though he was unable to beat the keeper who was fast becoming Folland's man of the match. However he was powerless to stop Eshun completing his hat trick on 78 minutes with yet another powerful finish.
The final chance of the game fell to Folland when we ended how we began with Williams saving from Craven's free kick.
So Hartley were worthy winners of the Invitational Cup - Covid willing - the one and only time the competition will be played. FT 4-0