Thursday 01st September 2005

Bank Holiday Monday
2nd May 2005
John Ullmann
Kent Senior Cup Final
Stephen McCartney reports from Westbourne Stadium
Dover Athletic 1 Craig Cloke 26 (pen)
Margate 2 Che Stadhart 45
Rocky Baptiste 68

Kent family pay tribute to Sykes

A FANTASTIC crowd of 2,374 came out in force to pay tribute to Kent footballer Paul Sykes who died on Tuesday 12th April following the Kent Senior Cup semi-final between Folkestone Invicta and Margate.

The one minutes' silence was observed by the crowd, players wore black arm bands and both sets of fans gave passionate support.

Kent football has suffered both on and off the pitch this season - here's hoping to a much happier campaign next season.

After Craig Cloke had given Dover the lead from the penalty spot after 26 minutes, Margate clinched the Kent Senior Cup for the third season running thanks to goals from strikers Che Stadhart (45) and Rocky Baptsite (68).

Dover goalkeeper Paul Hyde was beaten after eleven minutes but he was relived to see Stadhart's header cannon back off the left upright.

Margate came close to scoring eleven minutes later when Baptiste stole the ball off Matt Carruthers and after finding no way through he cut the ball back to Mark Green.  Scuffing his pass to Adrian Clarke, the skipper curled a right-footed attempt from 20-yards just wide of the far post.

Dover's star of the season Cloke - who has scooped THREE player of the year awards for the Whites  - won his side a penalty after being fouled by Baptiste and from the resulting 26th minute penalty he sent Peter Trego the wrong way with a driven penalty.

Three minutes later Clarke's corner was met by a powerful header by Margate defender Aaron Barnett but he couldn't keep his header down.

Carruthers' corner was missed by Margate goalkeeper Trego as he came off his line and from Anthony Hogg's cross Victor Renner flicked a header agonisingly wide of the post.

But Margate levelled on the stroke of half time when Baptiste captalised on a mistake by Cloke on the left hand side.  Baptiste played in his strike partner Stadhart who drove an angled shot low and hard inside the far corner giving Hyde no chance from 16-yards.

The Kent footballing public can be proud of their efforts raising thousands of pounds for Carly Sykes and her nine-month son Thomas.

On the hour mark an emotional Trego made a low save to deny James Rogers' left-footed 25-yard drive.

But Baptiste was left unmarked in the 68th minute to head home the winner for Margate, keeping their hands on the Kent Senior Cup, heading a cross from the left past Hyde and into the back of the net.

Two minutes later, Victor Renner should have punished Trego for a poor clearance but as the striker made inroads into the penalty area he was denied by a superb tackle by John Keister.

Margate manager Chris Kinnear revealed his goalkeeper Trego was still feeling the emotional pain of the night of the 12th April when Sykes collapsed right in front of him in the ill-fated semi-final - it was the first time back to the stadium for the Somerset based goalkeeper.

"Peter Trego was right there when Paul collapsed in the game against Folkestone," said Kinnear.

"He was in a bad way today to be honest but we just had to stick him in there.  He couldn't get his head round it.

"He's the one that got the England cricketers to sign things (for the auction) he's been running around trying to raise as much funds. 

"I felt for him really but he had to go through that and it was very difficult for him."

Kinnear added he was pleased with the response from the Kent football family.

"We didn't go out there to win, we just wanted a spectacle for Paul's family to enjoy the day and have a lot of people here to raise what we could.

"To be fair it was magnificent today and as I say the day was about Paul and he would have wanted the game played.

"When you saw Paul play he was totally committed and that's why so many supporters appreciated him.  As long as they can see players giving their all, which Paul always did, they'll appreciate it and every club he played at saw that.

"With the way the funeral went, people just care, It just shows you.  Football takes a lot of stick don't they about supporters and the trouble that they cause but when you see things like that football people care about the game and what happens and so do players.  It was magnificent really and everyone can pat themselves on the back.

"Folkestone have held a very good game here and they should again be thanked for what they've done and achieved."

Dover Athletic: Paul Hyde, Sam Vallance (Dale Skelton 73), Daniel Braithwaite, Anthony Hogg (Capt), Craig Cloke, Shane Hamshare, Matt Carruthers, Victor Renner (Walid Matata 73), Craig Wilkins, Dean Readings, James Rogers (Michael Smissen 84). Subs: Chris Wright, Kevin Readings

Margate: Peter Trego, Mark Green, Peter Benevides, Bill Edwards, Aaron Barnett, Ross Graham-Smith, John Keister, Pat Gradley, Che Stadhart, Rocky Baptiste, Adrian Clarke (Capt).  Subs: Alexis Charalambous, Darren Watson, Moses Jjunju, Greg Oates, Nejdet Hussein

Attendance: 2374
Referee: Ian Crouch
Assistants: Jon Beadle & Steve Roots
Fourth Official: Martin Staveley