Please credit article to Stephen McCartney - www.kentishfootball.co.uk

 
Easter Monday, 
28th March 2005
Ryman League
Premier Division
Stephen McCartney reports from Hoverspeed Stadium
Dover Athletic 0  
Folkestone Invicta 1 Jimmy Dryden 84


Dryden breaks Invicta record and Dover's hearts

JIMMY DRYDEN was Folkestone Invicta's hero in this drab local showdown at the Hoverspeed Stadium today.

The 25-year-old striker scored the only goal of the game with only six minutes left, which made him the all-time Folkestone Invicta goalscorer with 89 career goals, beating Paul Chambers' tally of 88.

This was Invicta's second double of the season, both coming over the Easter period, after Dryden's brace secured a 2-1 win over Leyton at the Westbourne Stadium on Good Friday.  Today's success was also the club's second away win of the season - their only win on the road before today was their 4-0 win at Leyton on the 24th August.  

It was also the highest crowd in the Ryman Premier League this season as 2,390 fans flooded through the turnstiles.  The second highest was the Boxing Day clash between these two East Kent sides, which Folkestone won 1-0 in front of 2,278.

With both teams tense, sadly the game didn't live up to expectations but full credit to both sets of fans for giving passionate support to their heroes.

Both sides created half chances in the opening 20 minutes with Daniel Braithwaite's weak shot never going to trouble Tony Kessell in the Invicta goal.

At the other end, Adam Flanagan's header from Kevin Watson's free kick was plucked out of the air by Dover's 41-year-old goalkeeper Paul Hyde and Watson wasted a good opportunity from a free kick 25-yards from goal.  Taking it quickly, he tried to curl the ball into the far corner, but his effort went wide of the post.

Dover almost gifted Folkestone a goal in the 22nd minute but had an alert Hyde to thank.  Tom Hickman's clearance from the right by-line ricochet of young Invicta striker Joe Neilson, looping over Hyde, but the experienced stopper did well to tip the ball over the bar.

As in their win over Leyton on Good Friday, Folkestone played three men up front and were always looking the better side in a dull midfield scrap.

Kessell made a fine save from Braithwaite's header, following a flick on inside the box by Walid Matata, but the Tring based player found the goalkeeper in top form.

At the other end, former Eastbourne Borough midfielder Stuart Myall - who had a good game - had a rush of blood outside the penalty area.  He belted the ball high and wide when he should have done better.  As the poor first half came to a close, Michael Everitt's 25-yard volley was also embarrassingly wide of the target.

We hoped for a better second half!

Folkestone created a couple of good chances within a minute of each other inside the opening eight minutes of the second half.  Myall and the hard working Simon Glover exchanged passes and Myall clipped the top of the crossbar on its into the terracing from 16-yards before Dryden headed Scott Lindsey's cross wide.

On the hour-mark, Matata went to head Braithwaite's corner, but the ball came off his shoulder, and the ball  was plucked out of the air by Kessell.

The Dover fans thought they had scored that decisive winner with 17 minutes left.  Braithwaite chested down a clearance out of the visitors penalty area, striking a goal-bound 30-yard left footed drive, but a diving Kessll pulled off a breathtaking save to palm the shot over.

Three minutes later former Invicta midfielder Anthony Hogg glanced another Braithwaite corner wide.

However, Dryden's 23rd goal of the campaign made sure Invicta kept up their fight for survival.  Former Margate player Lamb delivered a superb cross from the left and Dryden powered a header into the top right hand corner from six yards to send the travelling fans into heaven.

In the post-match press conference, Folkestone Invicta boss Neil Cugley was delighted with their victory over their local rivals.

"Obviously delighted, more so as I'm a Folkestone lad.  To do the double over Dover means a lot to Folkestone Football Club," he said.

However, the long serving manager admitted beating Leyton on Good Friday allowed his side to relax a little bit, knowing the pressure was all on Dover to collect the three points.

With his side now ten points clear of Dover, Cugley added: "I think the big thing was, was the win we had on Friday against Leyton.  That relaxed us a lot more.  We looked quite a good side today.

"Even in the first half against Leyton we still looked very apprehensive but I thought today we defended ever so well -  all round we looked a good side."

Invicta will be looking to win their next two games, at home to Harrow Borough next Saturday and a trip to Cheshunt seven days later.  Both sides are in the relegation scrap.  But with Tonbridge Angels beating Worthing 1-0 at the Avavan Longmead Stadium today, Dover slump to 21st in the table with Tony Dolby's side climbing above Dover.

"I think it was massive, beating Leyton on Friday," said Cugley.  "If we had lost that one we would have got so close to Dover.  Everybody would have played up as I say with a lot more apprehension from my side, but I don't think we showed that at all today.

"We need to win games,  we've now got Harrow then Cheshunt and we want to win at least two of them.  The best way to do that is try and get at them and put the pressure on them.  There's a lot of pressure on them at the moment."

Cugley, however, is concerned with the lack of talent in the county with most Kent teams struggling at the wrong end of the table.

"I just don't think the quality players are in Kent like they used to be," he said.  "Without being too nasty, I think it's the worse I've known since I've been involved with local football down this way.  It's very difficult to get any quality players."

But they do have Dryden.  And the striker will be having a testimonial next season, having been at the Cheriton Road club since the age of fourteen.

"He's done well," said his manager.  "He gets 20 goals every year and hopefully he'll get 30 this year.  The club will give him a testimonial next year, which is thoroughly deserved. He's been with the club since he was 14-years-old.

"The important thing is with both Harrow and Cheshunt (coming up)  we don't lose to them."

Dover Athletic: Paul Hyde, Sam Vallance (Michael Smissen 89), Narada Bernard, Dean Readings, Nick Humphrey, Daniel Braithwaite, Tom Hickman (James Rogers 70), Shane Hamshare, Walid Matata, Anthony Hogg (Capt), Alistair Hesleton (Craig Wilkins 63). Subs: Chris Wright, Kevin Readings (GK)

Folkestone Invicta: Tony Kessell, Kevin Watson, Paul Lamb, Steve Norman, Adam Flanagan, Scott Lindsey (Capt), Michael Everitt, Stuart Myall (Mark Munday 86), Jimmy Dryden, Simon Glover (James Everitt 81), Joe Neilson (Paul Sykes 60).  Subs: Luke Coleman, John Walker

Attendance:  2,390
Referee: Grant Smith
Assistants: Mark Thompson & Rob Baker