This evening’s match was the Kent Senior Cup final played at Chatham Town’s Bauvill Stadium, between Steve King’s Dartford FC, who had only last week lost in the National League South play-offs and Folkestone Invicta, of the Isthmian Premier League. Folkestone started the season so well, pushing the promotion places, but faded in the latter half, despite the motivational skills of their mercurial manager, Neil Cugley.
Dartford FC qualified for the final, having beaten Welling United in the semi finals 5-3 on penalties, having drawn 2-2 after extra-time. Folkestone Invicta came through, having beaten local rivals, Hythe Town, 0-2 in their semi final.
Dartford are the current holders of the Kent Senior Cup, having won in 2019/20, for the eleventh time in their history. Folkestone have six previous triumphs in their previous incarnations, however nothing since becoming Folkestone Invicta. There was no final last year, due to Covid.
Dartford played in their change all pink strip, with Folkestone in their usual amber and black shirts and black shorts, combination.
The game was tense with Folkestone having a goal disallowed and then Dartford having two good penalty shouts.
In the 36th minute Folkestone took advantage of a break from the left wing and Ade Yusuff tucked the ball away, to put them 1-0 ahead.
With the time showing 54 minutes, an error by Folkestone’s Connor Collins, in goal, allowed Luke Allen to score with a free header, to equalise at 1-1 for Dartford.
The game was well contested for the next 15 minutes until in the 66th minute, a header down from a corner, led to a neat finish by Dartford’s Alli Mansaray, which saw Dartford pull 2-1 ahead.
Folkestone applied pressure immediately and went so close to scoring, when Dave Smith narrowly failed to connect on the goal line. Then in the 74th minute, Smith had a second chance and fired Folkestone level to make it 2-2.
Dartford showed their class by coming straight back at Folkestone and going ahead on 76 minutes, with a Connor Essam finish, to make it 2-3.
Then as Folkestone pushed forward to get their equaliser, Dartford hit on the break, with a deadly finish by Ade Azeez in the 85th minute. Two minutes later Azeez got his second to make it 2-5 on the night and virtually guarantee Dartford’s trophy.
With minutes left, Dartford broke again, with Folkestone Invicta’s players heads dropping, and this time Danny Leonard tucked the ball away to make it 2-6.
At the final whistle the players from both sides took warm applause from the crowd. This game had seen Dartford ease clear in the final 15 minutes, however to that point, the game was an even contest. This year however, it would be the black and white ribbons of Dartford FC, that went on the trophy.