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Local derby starts our home pre-season games




On Saturday our near neighbours from Dover Athletic pay us a visit for our first home pre-season game of the season, and we’d like to thank them for coming over again. I’ve had a number of supporters     mention that it seems a bit early for pre-season games to start, well the start of our season is only five weeks away on August 10th, whilst the Vanarama National League starts a week earlier on Saturday 3rd. In fact our opponents had their first pre-season game at Bearsted last Wednesday, winning 3-2.

Before I start the preview, thanks to Dover Athletic for allowing me to use information from their       website.

Last season, Dover Athletic had a poor start to the season and found themselves rock bottom of the     Vanarama National League and so at the start of October, Chairman Jim Parmenter replaced Manager Chris Kinnear with former Boss Andy Hessenthaler and also made the decision that the club would       operate on a full time basis. At the time of Hessenthaler’s appointment, Jim said “We are delighted to be able to move so quickly to secure Andy’s services and we are now looking forward to working with him and his team. This is a brand new chapter for the football club and it starts right now.”

And how right he was, as the club put together an excellent run of results and in fact by the time the    season ended they had moved up to 14th with an impressive sixty points, which was sixteen away from a relegation spot, but only fourteen off the Play-Offs, a remarkable achievement considering the start they had. In fact, to show how strongly they finished, Andy Hessenthaler won the Vanarama National League ‘Manager of the Month’ for April as they gained thirteen points out of a possible fifteen. 

 Hess and his coaching team ’Andy Hessenthaler brought his trusted    lieutenants, former Invicta Manager Darren Hare and Nicky Southall with him to Crabble and they were joined by Lee Worgan and Huseyin Torgut’.

During the pre-season Hess and his team have had a long look at the squad, releasing no less than       eleven players and bringing in what look to be some impressive replacements. Their squad for the 2019/20 season is a mix of players who were currently at the club plus the new signings.

Players already at the club

Josh Passley, Bobby-Joe Taylor, Scott Doe, Kevin Lokko (who has been made Club Captain), Jai Reason,  Inih Effiong (who won the Supporters’ Goal of the Season award for his winner in time added on against AFC Fylde), Jamie Allen, Ricky Modeste, Lee Worgan, Alfie Pavey plus Marshall Wratten (who was part of the successful Dover Athletic Academy side last season).

Players signed

Yusuf Mersin (signed from Crawley Town), Will de Havilland (Maidstone United), Michael Woods        (Harrogate Town), Jack Munns (Dagenham & Redbridge), Kurtis Cumberbatch (Farnborough FC),  Paul Rooney (Colchester United), Joe Bedford (Southend United, although he had a loan spell at Dover      Athletic last season), Oscar Gobern (Eastleigh), Steven Rigg (Gateshead) and Nassim L’Ghoul (Welling    United).

One player who will probably also be present on Saturday is Ira Jackson, although it’s not clear which side he’ll be playing for! Neil Cugley said; “He’s training at Dover at the moment, so he may even play against us, if he gets offered something at Dover, I’m sure he’ll stay there because he wants to be a full-time footballer”, and he then added; “If he doesn’t, I’m sure he’ll sign for us. I’ve got no problem with it, you can’t blame the lad, he’s doing full-time training at the moment so if he doesn’t get offered anything he’ll come back to us extremely fit!”.    

Surprisingly in the Vanarama National League odds for the 2019/20 season, Dover Athletic are below halfway at 40/1, with the other Kent clubs, Bromley and Ebbsfleet United at 16/1 and 50/1 respectively. However with troubled Notts County (and I didn’t enjoy writing that!) priced at 9/1 second favourites, I wonder whether the odds are quite right!

As far as we are concerned, Cugs said; “I’m looking forward to the game, we’ve got a couple away on holiday so hopefully it’ll give me the chance to look at two or three trialists, and I’ll also have some of the successful Youth Team in the squad”. He then added; “Thanks to Hess and all at Dover for agreeing to come over for what is a regular pre-season game, he know we play football the right way which is why last season we played two ‘behind closed doors’ friendlies against them so he could look at the squad he had inherited. He did a great job last season and will look to kick on this and good luck to him”.  

Don’t forget, we are at home again on Tuesday when Maidstone United visit for another intriguing pre-season fixture. We have to get the Kent derbies in pre-season as we’ve only got two scheduled for the           League, Margate and Cray Wanderers, which isn’t exactly local!


Folkestone Invicta’s Pre-Season Fixtures and Results


Saturday 6th        Dover Athletic                    Home                    Kick-Off 3:00pm

Tuesday 9th          Maidstone United            Home                    Kick-Off 7:45pm

Saturday 13th     Gillingham                           Home                    Kick-Off 3:00pm

Tuesday 16th       Faversham Town               Away                     Kick-Off 7:45pm

Saturday 20th     Hythe Town                        Away                     Kick-Off 3:00pm

Monday 22nd      Deal Town                           Away                     Kick-Off 7:45pm

Saturday 27th     Whitstable Town              Home                    Kick-Off 3:00pm (Sid Burvill Trophy)

Tuesday 30th       Ramsgate                            Away                     Kick-Off 7:45pm


Saturday 3rd        Ashford United                  Away                     Kick-Off 3:00pm

Saturday 10th     First League Game            TBA                        Kick-Off 3:00pm

As part of the ‘Fill the Fullicks 4 A Fiver’ offering all home pre-season games will be just £5.00 admission, with concessions only £3.00 and Under 18s £1.00.