Wednesday 04th August 2004
Duku parts company with Gravesend

GRAVESEND & Northfleet continued their pre-season preparation with a 1-0 win over neighbours Welling United at Stonebridge Road.

Matt Rouse was the Fleet's match winner with a last-minute free kick in what had been a fiercely contested match that saw a Welling player sent off in the second half.

Fleet assistant manager Adrian Pennock said afterwards: "The match proved ideal preparation for our lads because it was played as though points were at stake, which is exactly what manager Andy Ford and myself wanted."

The Fleet visit Sittingbourne on Thursday before rounding off their preparation at Dover on Saturday.

Meanwhile, long-serving Francis Duku parted company with the club this week by mutual agreement.

The big centre-back never fully recovered after breaking a leg in a pre-season friendly at Weymouth two years ago. He suffered more bad luck last season when he broke the other leg in a car crash.

He joined the Fleet in August, 2000 from Dulwich Hamlet having started his career with Reading before going on to play for Maidenhead United and Crawley Town, where he had two spells.

Duku and manager Andy Ford had reached an agreement whereby a decision regarding the player’s future would be made on August 14. That was brought forward as the Fleet boss felt he was unable to offer him a contract while the player found himself in demand from a couple of clubs.

“Francis is one of my longest-serving players and I’m sorry to see him go but I had to respect the fact that he was wanted elsewhere and needed to get on with his life,” said Ford.

“We thank him for his service to the club and wish him well.”

The Fleet boss has decided against signing striker Michael Power, who scored 30 goals in the Go Travel Kent League last season for Thamesmead Town.

He played in Monday’s 3-2 friendly win at Ashford.

Carl Dennis-Wilson, a striker with another Kent League club, VCD Athletic, who interested the Fleet, has gone to South Wales club Newport County. A move to sign a third striker, Margate’s Rocky Baptiste, has fallen through over a failure to agree terms.

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Email:  stephen@mccartney2000.fsnet.co.uk