Thursday 01st September 2005
The Kent Website
Supporting Kentish Football

Saturday 13th
November 2004
Ryman League
Premier Division
Richard Murrill reports from Westbourne Stadium
Folkestone Invicta 4 Guest 6,
Dryden 10,48
Munday 55
Cheshunt 3 Grieves 71,
Archer 72
Harris 90 (pen)

Sykes makes excellent Invicta debut

Folkestone eleven game Invicta’s winless run came to an end when they picked up all three points with a 4-3 win over second-placed Cheshunt in an extraordinary encounter at the Westbourne Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Invicta’s recently suffering supporters were in dreamland as goals from John Guest, James Dryden (2) and Mark Munday saw Neil Cugley’s side raced into a 4-0 lead after just 54 minutes.

Three Cheshunt goals in the final 20 minutes took some of the gloss off Invicta’s victory, although the home side would have accepted any kind of victory before kick off.

Invicta gave a starting place to new signing Paul Sykes and the extrovert striker made a positive difference to the home attack alongside top goalscorer James Dryden, with Andrew Burke and Simon Glover supplying the ammunition.

Bobby Highton shot over for Cheshunt after just 48 seconds, but the first half was to be one-way traffic in Invicta’s favour as they totally overwhelmed their high-flying visitors.

Centre half GUEST opened the scoring in the sixth minute when he stabbed the ball in at the far post after Andrew Burke had sent over the game’s first corner from the left.

It was 2-0 after nine minutes when DRYDEN was there to follow up and head home after Cheshunt goalkeeper Russell Ling had made a point blank save to keep out a Sykes header following a ball in from the left.

The home side were in rampant mood as Dryden volleyed over from close range when Glover burst past two players down the left hand side and played the ball into the middle.

Cheshunt captain Ryan Harris then cleared off the line from Burke on the half hour mark when Ling saved Burke’s initial shot following a move involving Kevin Watson, Dryden and Sykes.

Ling sprung into action again after 41 minutes with another good save when the ball ricocheted off Dryden.

Leon Archer forced a corner from Invicta goalkeeper Tony Kessell right on half time, but it had been a first half to forget for the visitors. 

Things got better for Invicta at the start of the second half as DRYDEN made it 3-0 after 47 minutes when he tapped the ball in at the far post following an excellent exchange of passes between Glover and Sykes.

Chris Watters burst down the left hand side and shot wide across goal for Cheshunt after 49 minutes.

But MUNDAY made it 4-0 after 50 minutes when he bundled the ball in after Dryden’s shot had been blocked when Sykes touched on a Burke free kick.

There seemed to be no way back for Cheshunt and when Darren GRIEVES met Steve Magona’s corner from the left to score inside the post past Kessell after 70 minutes it appeared to be no more than a consolation.

But when ARCHER sidefooted the ball home a minute later the alarm bells starting to ring for a nervous home club.

Cheshunt struck again to make it 4-3 with virtually the last kick of the game when HARRIS converted a stoppage time penalty following a handball decision against Guest.

The final scoreline probably flattered Cheshunt, although the corner count of 12-3 in their favour may suggests otherwise.

Invicta gave a first senior outing to 17-year-old substitute James Everitt who joined elder brother Micheal on the field when he replaced Glover during stoppage time.

Speaking to editor Stephen McCartney, Invicta boss Neil Cugley was pleased his side ended their dismal run of eleven games without a win, and praised striker Paul Sykes on his debut after signing from Southern League Division One side Dartford last week.

"The victory was badly needed and we deserved to win I felt," he said.

"Cheshunt had nothing to lose at 4-0 down and they threw everything at us and I am pleased we won.

"We had three sixteen-year-olds on the bench and we picked up a couple of injuries in the game so the last quarter-of-an-hour was hard work."

Sykes - a favourite with the Dartford fans -  has slotted into the side and his work ethic pleased the long serving boss.

"He had two good reasons to join the club, he lives near and he is very cheap - he is very much in our wage bracket.  He played excellently for an hour, when he got tired we had to change it around.

"His experience in leading the line was excellent."

After going out of the FA Trophy to Cray Wanderers in a midweek replay, Cugley added: "It was a game we should have won but didn't so it was very difficult because we've got a small squad and have been knocked back with injuries.

"We've lost Drew Watkins so I've brought in Kevin Watson from Welling and bringing in Andrew Burke and Paul Sykes has given us a stronger team."

Kingstonian - at the wrong end of the table -visit the Westbourne Stadium next Saturday, and Cugley added: "It we play well like we did yesterday we won't have any problems."

Scott Lindsay - who got sent off in the first game against Cray Wanderers - will miss the game with a one-match suspension so Cugley will be looking to bring in one more player to fill the gap.

FOLKESTONE INVICTA: Kessell, Watson, Sykes (Walker 71 mins), Flanagan, Guest, Lindsey, M. Everitt, Munday, Dryden, Burke (Coleman 78 mins), Glover (J. Everitt 90 mins).  Unused subs: Waters, Morrin.

CHESHUNT: Ling, Keepence, Magona, Harris, Highton, Wales (Williamson 55 mins), Black, Obeng (Aransibia 55 mins), Archer, Grieves, Watters.  Unused subs: Adams, Spencey, Reddington.

Attendance: 282.