Silverware is up for grabs for Dartford when they aim to retain the Kent Senior Cup against Folkestone Invicta on Tuesday night in Chatham.
On the way to winning the last edition of the competition the Darts beat Folkestone Invicta in the quarter-final. Steve King will be hoping for history to repeat itself and help Dartford lift the cup for the thirteenth time. Folkestone Invicta are in their sixth Kent Senior Cup final, but have yet to get their hands on the trophy.
For a second consecutive county cup campaign the Darts will be facing Invicta. In a last eight meeting just over two years ago, Dartford scored two goals in each half on their way to a 4-0 victory. Liam Nash set the Darts on their way with a goal just past the half hour mark. Tyrique Hyde, one of three in the current squad who started in the last game against Invicta, doubled the lead. Billy Crook and Elliot Romain extended Dartford’s advantage to send them into the final four where they beat Phoenix Sports 5-1. In the final played this season back in November, Jake Robinson scored a hat-trick in a 6-1 victory over Whitstable Town.
Dartford will want to end their season in style after playoff heartbreak on Thursday night. King made just the one change to the side that thrashed Eastbourne Borough 7-2 on the last day of the regular season. Jernade Meade was back in the starting eleven replacing Jordan Wynter. The Darts were unable to find their scoring boots for a second home game in a row drawing another blank, this time against Chippenham Town in the National South playoff eliminator. Dan Roberts had the best opportunity early in the tie, but Dartford created little else at Princes Park. The visitors hit the woodwork and missed the rebound late on in normal time as it finished 0-0. Extra time followed and with both sides still unable to score it went down to penalties. Despite a pair of saves from goalkeeper Reice Charles-Cook in the shoot-out, the Darts lost 3-2 and will be playing National South football next season.
The Darts finished fourth in the league and having been knocked out of the playoffs it allows King to select a strong side for the Kent Senior Cup final. After a blistering start to the campaign the Darts lost touch with the front runners dropping too many points in October, November and January. A run of five straight victories in February put Dartford in with a chance, but disappointing defeats on the road and a spell of more draws left too much to do in the end. At Princes Park, King led his side to a 17-game unbeaten home run in the league, the best from the start of a campaign for 96 years. More recently on the road, Dartford have scored 13 in their last two outings beating Slough Town 6-0 before the emphatic victory at Eastbourne Borough.
Folkestone Invicta also had an outstanding start in their Isthmian Premier campaign and at one stage it looked like promotion was a possibility. Neil Cugley guided Invicta to a 12-game unbeaten run from the start of the season picking up 26 points early doors. However, just two wins in eight slowed Folkestone Invicta’s progress. Whilst results became consistently good again, the final run-in saw Invicta drop out of the playoff places after one triumph in their last nine outings, their last fixture an entertaining 4-4 draw with Haringey Borough. In the end they finished their Isthmian Premier League campaign in sixth, missing out on a playoff place.
Helping Folkestone Invicta to their second sixth place finish in a full season in a row, Luke Wanadio permanently signed for the club in February. The winger made 15 appearances and scored five goals since joining from Dartford initially on loan. Wanadio had three spells with the Darts making a total of 99 appearances and scoring 18 times. Defender Ryan Johnson also once donned a Dartford shirt back in the 2009/2010 Isthmian Premier winning campaign appearing 17 times for the club and scoring one goal. This season Johnson made 36 appearances to reach half a century for Invicta.
Story so far
Dartford 2-1 Dover Athletic
Jordan Greenidge scored twice on debut to start Dartford’s defence of the Kent Senior Cup. The striker opened his account after eighteen minutes and added a second with fifteen minutes to go. Dover Athletic pulled a goal back, but the Darts went through to the last eight of the competition.
Folkestone Invicta 0-0 VCD Athletic (Folkestone Invicta won 3-2 on penalties)
Neither side could make the important breakthrough in a goalless draw after 90 minutes. So the tie went straight to penalties with Invicta making it into the last eight. Out of the four missed penalties all of them missed the target, VCD Athletic failing to score three of them. Invicta were more clinical from 12 yards securing a 3-2 shoot-out victory.
Margate 2-4 Dartford
Luke Allen opened the scoring after just six minutes to get Dartford on the way, but Margate equalised six minutes later through James Bessey-Saldanha. The Darts pulled away in the second half with goals from Kalvin Kalala, Ade Azeez and Ody Alfa before Vance Bola pulled one back for the hosts.
Folkestone Invicta 3-1 Ebbsfleet United
Two first-half goals in the space of five minutes changed this tie in Folkestone Invicta’s favour. Club record goalscorer, Ian Draycott added to his career tally putting the hosts ahead, then Invicta went two goals up after David Smith scored one of his 34 netted this term. Rakish Bingham gave Invicta something to think about by getting one back for Fleet, but the tie was settled when Simo Mbonkwi scored on debut
Welling United 2-2 Dartford (Dartford won 5-3 on penalties)
The Darts had one hand removed from the cup they are defending when Welling United went two up. A brace from Henry Burnett had the Wings in control, but Jordan Greenidge got the Darts back in the tie. The returning Dan Roberts won a stoppage time penalty, up stepped Jake Robinson to force a penalty shoot-out. Dartford scored all five and Reice Charles-Cook made a save to see the Darts through to the final.
Hythe Town 0-2 Folkestone Invicta
Two first half strikes from Ade Yusuff and David Smith put Invicta in command, the pair ended up with 62 goals between them this season in all competitions. Over a thousand turned up to watch the semi-final as the kick off was delayed due to crowd congestion. Yussuf scored with a low drilled shot and Smith finished a well taken goal, which was enough to settle this semi-final.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 6 / Folkestone Invicta wins: 10 / Draws: 4
Current Form (all competitions)
|Chippenham Town* (NSPO)||H||0-0||Hythe Town (KSC)||A||2-0|
|Eastbourne Borough||A||7-2||Haringey Borough||A||4-4|
|Welling United (KSC)**||A||2-2||Corinthian Casuals||H||2-2|
|St Albans City||H||3-1||Ebbsfleet United (KSC)||H||3-1|
NSPO = National South Playoff / KSC = Kent Senior Cup
* lost 3-2 on penalties
** won 5-3 on penalties
Previous Meetings (last six)
Dartford 4 – 0 Folkestone Invicta (25/02/2020 – Kent Senior Cup)
Folkestone Invicta 1 – 4 Dartford (07/12/2011 – Kent Senior Cup)
Dartford 2 – 2 Folkestone Invicta (12/09/2006 – Isthmian League Cup)*
Dartford 1 – 2 Folkestone Invicta (18/01/2005 – Kent Senior Cup)
Folkestone Invicta 0 – 1 Dartford (13/03/2004 – Southern League Division One)
Dartford 1 – 6 Folkestone Invicta (24/02/2004 – Southern League Division One)
*Dartford won 5-3 on penalties
- Dartford have played five times against Folkestone Invicta in the Kent Senior Cup (W2, L3)
- The Darts are three games unbeaten against Invicta (W2, D1) having lost the previous eight in a row between 1998 and 2005
- The last four meetings have been cup ties and Dartford have won the last three
On This Day
Dartford have only played twice on this day with a record of one win and one defeat. The 1946/1947 Southern League campaign went on until mid-June, so even after the 1-0 loss at Hereford, the Darts still had six more games to go. Dartford ended the season in 11th place, a month earlier they won the Kent Senior Cup for the fifth time. Thirty years later, Dartford played their final home game of the 1976/1977 season beating Atherstone United 2-1, three days later they completed the Southern Premier League in 18th place. Silverware was also picked up that season when they beat Yeovil Town in the Southern League Cup in April.