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Kent Senior Cup final: Folkestone Invicta 2 Dartford 6 match report


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Dartford came from behind to put six past Folkestone and retain the Kent Senior Cup.

Ade Yusuff’s first-half opener was cancelled out by Luke Allen and Ali Mansaray put Darts in front.

Dartford skipper Tom Bonner lifts the Kent Senior Cup Picture: PSP Images
Dartford skipper Tom Bonner lifts the Kent Senior Cup Picture: PSP Images

David Smith made it 2-2 but Dartford stormed clear with goals from Connor Essam, Ade Azeez (2) and Danny Leonard.

Given the game was arranged at short notice, and with the Isthmian League season over three weeks ago, Folkestone did well to get a strong side out.

Tim Roberts and Josh Vincent were the only absentees from what Neil Cugley would perhaps consider his strongest XI while Dartford, beaten in the National South play-off eliminator last week, played a mixture of first-team and academy players.

Darts had their first-choice centre-backs playing in captain Tom Bonner and fit-again Essam, which made for a fascinating battle with Invicta’s dangerous front two of Smith and Yusuff.

An open game provided plenty of entertainment for a healthy crowd of 496 at Chatham’s Maidstone Road.

Dartford had an early penalty appeal turned down when Azeez, latching on to Che Krabbendam’s pass, tumbled over Invicta keeper Connor Collins, but referee Harry Wager awarded a goal-kick.

Collins made a good save from Leonard’s strike before Invicta had a goal ruled out for offside, the flag going up after Yusuff followed in a shot from strike partner Smith.

Dartford battle to keep the ball out as Folkestone impress in the first half Picture: PSP Images
Dartford battle to keep the ball out as Folkestone impress in the first half Picture: PSP Images

The opening goal came in the 37th minute, Yusuff feeding Alfie Paxman before continuing his run into the box to bury the cross.

Collins made an outstanding save from Azeez’s fierce strike in the opening moments of the second half.

But he was caught out for Darts’ 52nd-minute equaliser, punching a clearance straight on to the head of Allen, who nodded it back over him into the empty net.

Krabbendam went close from the edge of the box as Dartford, enjoying a good spell, threatened again.

Darts were looking the more likely to score the next goal and went in front in the 70th minute when Mansaray finished Bonner’s knockdown from close range.

Folkestone responded well, with Paxman’s driving run almost producing an instant equaliser.

Folkestone striker David Smith celebrates with Ade Yusuff after making it 2-2 Picture: PSP Images
Folkestone striker David Smith celebrates with Ade Yusuff after making it 2-2 Picture: PSP Images

They didn’t have long to wait for the leveller, Smith finishing Paxman’s cutback in the 75th minute after a shot from Scott Heard was blocked in the box.

Dartford went back in front two minutes later, Essam playing on as Darts fans appealed for a penalty and beating Collins.

Kieron McCann was denied by the linesman’s flag at the other end before Azeez flicked home a left-wing cross for Darts’ fourth on 82 minutes.

Azeez found himself in on goal again three minutes later and made no mistake as Dartford made it five.

And there was still time for Leonard to add a last-minute sixth after finding himself in space.

Folkestone: Collins, Draycott, McCann, Newman, Davies, Johnson, Heard, Dolan, Smith, Yusuff, Paxman. Subs: Everitt, Atherton, Borello.

Dartford: Charles-Cook, Duo, Boulton, Mansaray, Essam, Bonner, Leonard, Carruthers, Krabbendam, Allen, Azeez. Subs: Wray, Sergeant, Watson, Atkins, Shepherd.

Referee: Harry Wager.

Attendance: 496.

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