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Folkestone Invicta v Dartford

The Darts start their quest to retain the Kent Senior Cup with a trip to Folkestone’s Buzzline Stadium.

Dartford’s triumph in May this year was Tony Burman’s third piece of silverware in four seasons. With an F.A Trophy fixture on the weekend the county cup is likely to see some players rested. Burman spoke to PURE DFC, he said: “We’re going to take everyone down to Folkestone, but we have to give ninety minutes to the guys who haven’t played”.

Dartford are delighted with Bradbrook's stunning strike

Strikers Jacob Erskine and Tony Garrod did not feature in Saturday’s superb 3-1 victory over Kent rivals Dover Athletic so it maybe a good chance to see the pair in action. The squad of seventeen also includes last seasons player of the year Lee Noble and pacey forward Danny Harris who are keen to get more minutes under their belts after substitute appearances on the weekend.

Preparation for the cup tie couldn’t have gone any better. Dartford’s biggest home crowd of the season witnessed another win against Dover Athletic. Elliot Bradbrook was upended when he stormed into the penalty box and Adam Green converted the spot kick on seven minutes.

The Whites fought back and won a free kick on thirteen minutes. Dover’s Argentinian, Agustin Battipeidi brilliantly placed a free header beyond Louis Wells to level the scores. At half time the sides were level and after the game Burman commented: “We pressurised them, played a bit higher up the pitch and we managed to get the penalty, it was a good start”, he added: “I thought Dover controlled the game in the first half with their football and fair play to them”.

In the second half Dartford moved up a gear. With the game level Ryan Hayes won a free kick from what looked an impossible angle but nonetheless the winger went for goal. With help of a deflection Hayes gave Dartford the lead and with two minutes remaining captain Elliot Bradbrook scored a brilliantly placed curler into the top corner and made sure of the win.

The Darts boss recognised the excellent effort his side put in, he said: “We worked a good team very hard. As much as they had control of the game they had to put a lot of work in to do that. In the second half we were the fitter side, they probably couldn’t keep with us”.

Also on Saturday, Folkestone Invicta took part in an Isthmian Division One South fixture and they came away with a 2-1 triumph. Stuart King put Invicta in front after 51 minutes against struggling Croydon Athletic. With eight minutes remaining the game turned dramatic. Croydon’s George Landais equalised but with two minutes on the clock substitute Simon Austin won the game for Folkestone. The win for Invicta leaves them occupying sixth place in the Isthmian Division One South division and a point behind the playoffs.

In the first round of the Kent Senior Cup they needed extra time to defeat Faversham Town 3-2. In front of 107, Josh Vincent scored twice putting Folkestone ahead both times. James Everitt’s winner made sure of progression to round two.

Like Dartford, Folkestone spent a long period in the Southern League before their demise in the early nineties. Invicta joined the Kent League in 1991/92 and became Division Two champions. Another similarity between the two clubs is that a prolific goalscorer became manager and is still in charge today.

Neil Cugley manager of Folkestone Invicta

In 1997, former Dartford player Neil Cugley left Ashford Town to manage Folkestone Invicta. During Cugley’s reign he has experienced plenty of ups and downs. In 1999 the club returned to the Southern League and in 2000 Cugley achieved a second promotion to the Premier League, however after three seasons the club were relegated.

After switching to the Isthmian League in 2005, Invicta have yo-yo’d between the Premier League and Division One. In 2008, they went down on the final day and two years later were back in the Premier League despite a ten point deduction. Last season they finished bottom of the pile and returned to Division One again.

As Dartford progressed up the leagues and Folkestone flitted between divisions the last league meeting between the two clubs was in the 2003/04 Southern League East season. That year Invicta completed the double over the Darts with 6-1 and 1-0 victories.

The last competitive fixture between Dartford and Folkestone was the Isthmian League Cup clash in 2006. The tie ended 2-2, Anthony Henry scoring both goals for The Darts. After extra time the two clubs could not be separated and Dartford progressed 5-3 on penalties. It’s been almost six years since Dartford last drew Folkestone in the Kent Senior Cup. On that occasion Invicta won the tie 2-1.

The winners will play Tonbridge Angels or Sittingbourne away in the Quarter Final.

Did you know

In total, managers Tony Burman and Neil Cugley have been at the helm at their respective clubs for a combined 24 seasons

Neil Cugley is Invicta’s record goalscorer in one season when he scored 46 goals during the 1982/83 season

Since 1992, when Folkestone Invicta gained senior status, they have never won the Kent Senior Cup but have been runners up on four occasions in 1998/99, 1999/2000, 2003/04, 2009/10

The Darts have won the Kent Senior Cup ten times. Between 1930 and 1935 Dartford won the competition four times in five seasons.

 

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