Wednesday 30th March 2005
Record breaker Dryden speaks of derby delight
FOLKESTONE Invicta striker James Dryden has been speaking of his pride at breaking the club’s senior goalscoring record with Easter Monday’s priceless winning goal at Dover Athletic in front of a 2,390 crowd at the Hoverspeed Stadium, writes Richard Murrill.
And the popular 25-year-old striker has revealed how he was very nearly not on the pitch to score the vital goal after sustaining a toe injury early on which required hospital treatment the following morning.
"I was injured in a challenge after about five minutes and was going to come off at half-time, but Neil (Cugley) told me to stay on and it was lucky that I did as I was there to score towards the end of the game."
It was Dryden’s 89th goal for Invicta and broke the record of 88 set by Paul Chambers since Invicta gained senior status in 1991. Dryden had equalled the record with two goals in the last 20 minutes to give Invicta a vital 2-1 home win over Leyton on Good Friday.
When Dryden broke the club’s senior appearance record at home to Hampton & Richmond Borough back in January his achievement was overshadowed by the controversial walk off of referee Gavin Hoare that day.
Dryden has now made 235 starting appearances for Invicta, with a further 41 as a substitute, and he could hardly have picked a more high-profile stage to break the goalscoring record.
Dryden said: "To break both the clubs’ appearance and goalscoring records is absolutely brilliant and to break the goals record in front of a big crowd in such an important game as Dover away makes it even better. I’m very pleased and can’t stop smiling."
Local lad Dryden has long been the darling of home supporters and he cemented his place as an Invicta legend with his 84th minute winner that gave Folkestone a Ryman Premier League double over their bitterest local rivals.
Dryden acknowledged that the Dover game was amongst the biggest of his career so far and described the goal as his “best ever”, even topping the special second goal he had scored in the home game against Leyton on Good Friday.
"I had missed what was an easier chance earlier in the second half than the one which I scored and thought that it was going to be one of those days. I thought that I was going to be taken off after my earlier miss.
"But thank god that Neil kept me on and I was able to score and then see our fans go absolutely crazy behind the goal."
Dryden was also quick to praise his team mates and singled out both Michael Everitt and Adam Flanagan as being "absolutely superb" in the Dover game.
Dryden joined Invicta at the age of 15 and a highlight of his time in the club’s youth ranks came when he scored a hat-trick in the closing five minutes against a Furness youth side managed by Andy Hessenthaler, who went on to manage Gillingham.
Speaking about his early days at the club, Dryden recalls that "Paul Fisk and Andy King were the ones who really started to make things happen for me by putting me straight into the reserve team when I wasn’t even getting a regular game with the youth team."
He made his first team debut as a substitute in the Kent League when aged just 16 and scored on his senior debut in 2-1 win away to Burnham on December 4th, 1999.
He has been voted Supporters’ Player of the Year in both 2001-02 and 2003-04 and has hit one hat-trick – at home to Chatham Town in October 2003.
When asked about his future targets, he stated that his wishes were that "we stay up this season and that I continue to play for Folkestone Invicta for as long as possible. Hopefully I will be able to score a few more goals so that nobody will be able to break my record."