Thursday 01st September 2005

Last ditch Larkin snatches point for Tonbridge

Full-blodded top-of-the-table Kent clash ends all square

Folkestone Invicta 1-1 Tonbridge Angels
Tuesday 16 March 2004
Dr Martens League Eastern Division
by Richard Murrill

An injury time equaliser from centre half Andy Larkin denied Folkestone Invicta what would have been a significant win in Tuesday night’s big Kent derby and top-of-the-table clash in a full-blooded encounter at the Westbourne Stadium in front of a 542 crowd.

Former Invicta defender LARKIN headed in Sam Tydeman’s corner from the right more than three minutes into stoppage time to deny Invicta all three points after James Dryden had given Invicta the lead just before half time.

The fact that Tydeman had been allowed to steal ten yards to take the initial free kick which led to the decisive corner made the equaliser all the more galling for Invicta to accept.

26-year-old Larkin had scored just two goals in 157 starting appearances for Invicta between 1998-2002 and was Player of the Year at Cheriton Road for 1998-99. His last-ditch goal keeps Tonbridge four points clear of third placed Invicta in the Eastern Division table.

It was the third time this season which Invicta have been denied victory by a late goal in a home league game, although Neil Cugley’s side did themselves carry out a great injury time escape away to leaders King’s Lynn.

Invicta welcomed Drew Watkins back into the starting line up at right back and partnered Anthony Hogg in attack alongside Dryden.

And the home side made a strong start as Dryden lobbed just wide of the post as early as the sixth minute when he hit the ball over goalkeeper Jamie Turner after being put through down the middle.

Larkin was booked for a foul on Hogg after ten minutes and Luke Anderson was lucky to escape with just a yellow card for lashing out after and catching Hogg in the face after being fouled by the Invicta man after 28 minutes.

Centre half Adam Flanagan headed over a Martin Chandler free kick from the left after 36 minutes.

And Invicta duly opened the scoring after 42 minutes when Paul Lamb put DRYDEN through the middle and the striker held his nerve to hit a low shot across goal and into the net for his third goal in consecutive matches.

Tonbridge made a purposeful start to the second half as Luke Piscina had a shot blocked close to the Invicta line in the 47th minute and Ryan Royston’s header was blocked after 49 minutes.

Tempers flared again after 52 minutes when Dryden reacted after Tydeman left his foot in.

Visiting goalkeeper Turner turned the ball round the post for a corner as Invicta threatened again after 58 minutes.

Tonbridge’s assistant-manager Mike Rutherford became the third of the visitors’ side to be booked for a foul on Hogg after 61 minutes.

Invicta substitute Lee Blackman was also cautioned for impeding Tonbridge form taking a throw-n during the dying seconds of the 90 minutes, though how Rutherford escaped further punishment for striking out at the Invicta striker only referee Rowbury will know.

And Tonbridge were to save the day with Larkin’s last-ditch equaliser.

Folkestone Invicta travel to Ryman League Division One South Bromley in the John Ullman Kent Senior Cup semi-final next Tuesday, 23 March, kick off 7.45pm.

FOLKESTONE INVICTA: Kessell, Everitt, Lamb, Flanagan, Guest, Lindsey, Chandler (Blackman 75 mins), Munday, Dryden, Watkins, Hogg.  Unused subs: Dyson, Walker, Winfield, Egan.

TONBRIDGE ANGELS: Turner, Beales, Roser, Anderson, Larkin, Royston (Moore 84 mins), Tydeman, Rutherford, Piscina, Overton, Searle (Cass 63 mins). Unused subs: Dolby, Hodge, Wilson. 

Attendance: 542.