Wednesday 17th August 2005

Lindsey relishing league opener


Folkestone Invicta open their second Ryman Premier League campaign on Saturday, and in doing so travel to last season's division one champions, AFC Wimbledon, writes Stephen McCartney.

Neil Cugley's side have played nine pre-season friendlies ahead of their trip to Kingsmeadow and player-coach Scott Lindsey is confident his team-mates can come away with three points to stun the home faithful.

"Pre-season has gone very well," he told the club's website www.folkestoneinvicta.co.uk

"I am happy with the levels of fitness.  The boys have worked very hard for two weeks before the friendlies.

"We chose to play more games to achieve fitness.  All sides are now doing this as players want to play rather than train."

The Buzzlines Stadium outfit began their pre-season campaign with two defeats at the hands of higher league opposition, in Gravesend & Northfleet (3-1) and Gillingham (2-0), but they bounced back to defeat Kent League side Maidstone United (3-1).

Their first away game saw 25-year-old striker, James Dryden net a hat-trick in a 6-2 victory at Kent League neighbours Hythe Town.

Invicta then drew at Southern Leaguers Chatham Town (1-1) before beating Tonbridge Angels (2-1) and Dover Athletic (3-1) at home before ending their programme with draws against Ashford Town (1-1) and Horsham (3-3).

With striker Dryden aiming for more than 30 goals this season (he netted 29 last term), experienced midfielder Lindsey, says they are confident going into the new season after finishing in fourteenth place.

"Feeling very confident.  Last year it was a new league and our main aim was to stay up," he said.

"This year it will be very even with a lot of good teams in this league.  With the new players we have brought in we will be looking for a play-off spot."

Cugley has blooded many of their talented home-grown youngsters into the first team squad in the warm up matches, and they have impressed Lindsey, including summer signing from Ashford Town, Paul Jones.

"He reminds me of Allan Tait when he first joined us," he said.

"He has a very good touch, quick and will make a difference up front for us.

"I have been very impressed with (youth team product) Ben Sly.  (He has a) good touch, (he's) quick and looks to be one for the future."

Lindsey is relishing playing in front of a big crowd on Saturday to get their league campaign under way.

He added: "We are really up for it.  I fancy us to do well.  They've had it a bit easy over the last year years and will find the Ryman Premier a step up.

"They will have a big crowd and a good playing surface.  It's good to hear we are taking a coach load of supporters there."

And two days later on Monday night (7:45pm), Billericay Town are the visitors to the Buzzlines Stadium, Cheriton Road.

AFC Wimbledon v Folkestone Invicta
Ryman League Premier Division
Saturday 20th August 2005
Kick Off 3:00pm
at The Fans' Stadium, Kingsmeadow, Jack Goodchild Way, 422a Kingston Road, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey