Thursday 01st September 2005

Dryden off the mark in prolific style

Saturday 30th
July 2005
Stephen McCartney reports from
Reachfields Stadium
Hythe Town 2 Lee Blackman 20
Dan Fisk 35
Folkestone Invicta 6 James Dryden 39, 52 (pen), 63
Stuart Myall 43
John Guest 57
Joe Neilson 70

One of the most prolific strikers in Kent football has asked all Folkestone Invicta and Dover Athletic fans to attend his testimonial match on Tuesday 9th August at the Buzzlines Stadium, Cheriton Road, Folkestone, writes Stephen McCartney.

Folkestone Invicta striker, James Dryden, 25, holds the club's record senior appearance and goalscoring tally's, which he completed last season and was voted Supporters' Player of the Year for the third season in four and played in every game in last season's Ryman Premier League campaign, finishing in fourteenth place.

Dryden is a strong, all-action player, who scored on his full debut at Burnham in December 1999 and recorded a personal best 29 goals in all competitions last season.

And he got off the mark with a superb hat-trick at Kent League neighbours Hythe Town on Saturday and told in an EXCLUSIVE interview that he wants to go one better this term and notch 30.

"You always set yourself a target at the beginning of the season.  Last season I got 29 goals, hopefully I'll get 30 or more," he said.

And the local hero was pleased he got off the mark for the season with a 24 minute hat-trick against Hythe Town.

"I am very pleased. It's always good to come down to Hythe for a pre-season friendly and score a few goals."

And Dryden is relishing the clash against Dover Athletic.  When the two sides clashed at Cheriton Road on Boxing Day, a record 2,278 flocked through the turnstiles with 2,390 watching the return at Crabble.  

Folkestone won both games 1-0, and Dryden got on the scoresheet at Crabble, but he is hoping for the same kind of attendance figures when the two sides clash again.

"It's sad to see them go down.  I've got my testimonial against them so it will be a good game," he said.

"I am looking for as many people as possible to watch the game as it will be a good night and a good game of football."

And Dryden has high hopes for his club this season.  "We are looking towards the play-offs.  We've got a good enough side at the moment so fingers crossed we can make it."

He is pleased with the number of talented youngsters that have broken through into the first team squad, adding: "It's always good to have young legs coming on in the last 20 minutes."  And that's coming from a 25-year-old!

Dryden opened his scoring in the 39th minute - his side, however, were 2-0 down at the time.

Hythe took the lead after 20 minutes when Lee Winfield's low centre from the right hand side, was tucked home at the far post by former Ashford Town striker, Lee Blackman, to score his fourth goal of the pre-season programme.

The Kent Leaguers doubled their lead fifteen minutes later.  The visiting defence were slow to pick up Lee Blackman outside the box.  He cut the ball back to the impressive Lee Winfield, who unleashed a fierce 25-yard drive, which cannoned back off the left post but Dan Fisk was there to fire home the rebound past 18-year-old goalkeeper, Kieran Mann.

But four minutes later Dryden curled a free kick straight into the corner of the net after being brought down on the edge of the penalty box.

Former Eastbourne Borough midfielder Stuart Myall equalised on the stroke of half time, when he unleashed an unstoppable screamer from outside the box, which flew past Nick Day and into the top left hand corner.

Folkestone took the lead within seven minutes of the re-start when Michael Everitt was upended by Farrell Cox inside the penalty area, and Dryden rifled home the resulting penalty into the top left hand corner past substitute goalkeeper Leigh Holdway.

Dryden was denied a hat-trick one minute later.  Receiving the ball from substitute goalkeeper Tony Kessell's kick, on the left hand side of the penalty area, he perfectly executed a lob that dropped inside the far corner of the net but the offside flag was raised - but he wasn't going to be denied for long.

Stand-in striker John Guest got on the score sheet in the 57th minute when he hooked the ball in from close range after he was denied by Holdway.

Dryden, however, completed his deserved hat-trick in the 63rd minute when he turned his marker before finding the back of the net.

Kessell, who came off the bench after half-time, was alert a minute later when he made a fine save to deny Dane Lunchford following a  right wing cross from Rhys Taylor-Ryall.

Invicta boss Neil Cugley gave a run-out for his talented youngsters, Joe Neilson, Simon Rainbow, James Everitt and Ben Sly, and Neilson rounded off the scoring with 20 minutes left, slotting home after beating the last defender.

And Cugley praised these youngsters for the way they have taken their chances to impress in this pre-season campaign.

"I think the big bonus is how well the youngsters have done," said the manager whose been at the club since 1997.

"They have really kicked on big in pre-season and they're super lads to have on the bench, as they showed today, they can come on with fresh legs and give us impetus."

And Cugley was delighted that Dryden netted his hat-trick, adding: "I would like to think I've worked hard to get a good side together, and Jimmy's a big part of that.

"I think it's important for him to get some goals today as he hasn't scored so far and with Paul Jones scoring two the other day, forwards need to be scoring in friendlies to get their confidence up."

jim dryden/click to enlarge

TOP STRIKER: Folkestone Invicta striker James Dryden

Hythe Town: Nick Day (Leigh Holdway 46), Darren Walmsley, Darren Winfield (Adam Todd 69), Farrell Cox (Mark Robertson 56), Dean Yorath (Capt, Dan Porter 56), Guiver (Chris Todd 69), Dan Fisk (Rhys Taylor-Ryall 62), Jason Brazier (Dane Luchford 62), Lee Winfield, Lee Blackman, Dean Widnall

Folkestone Invicta: Kieran Mann (Tony Kessell 46), Kevin Watson (James Everitt 60), Paul Lamb (Ben Sly 56), Adam Flanagan, Steve Norman, Scott Lindsey (Capt, Simon Rainbow 62), Michael Everitt (Martin Chandler 62), Matt Bower (Joe Neilson 57), James Dryden, John Guest, Stuart Myall.

Referee: Mr M Weaire (Crowborough)
Assistants: Mr D Shrewsbury (Folkestone) & Mr J Heasman (Folkestone)