*BS*Dover Athletic are looking to win the Kent Senior Cup for the first time in 23 years when they take on Ebbsfleet United in the final at Gillingham’s Priestfield Stadium as part of the 125th anniversary on Bank Holiday Monday.*BF*
Whites head into this fixture as top goal-scorers of this competition – scoring an impressive 17 goals in their four Kent Senior Cup games – and could claim a first trophy for manager Chris Kinnear since he rejoined the club in January 2013.
With both sides meeting again in the Skrill South Promotion Final just five days later, this clash can be considered as Part I of II of the big Kent battle with tension surrounding this week since the events of which occurred in pre-season.
However, with the majority of the importance and significance riding on the play-off final, this Kent Senior Cup final may be regarded as just a ‘warm-up game’ and an opportunity for both sides to rest key players ahead of Saturday.
With the Promotion Final in everyone’s minds, Kinnear is expected to recall Lee Hook, Ricky Gabriel, Michael Kamara, Terrell Forbes, James Rogers, Elliott Charles, Jeff Goulding, Tom Murphy and the handful of DAFC Academy players to the 16-man squad – all of whom did not start Saturday’s astonishing 3-0 win at Sutton United.
If, however, Kinnear opts to name a strong side with silverware in mind, then the players that will definitely miss this tie are Barry Cogan (suspended) and Callum Davies (cup-tied – having played for Gillingham in the first round) while Craig Stone is largely expected to start as he will miss Saturday’s play-off final through suspension.
*Lpic1**BS*HOW BOTH TEAMS REACHED THE FINAL:*BF*
Whites started their campaign back in September when they hosted Margate – Kinnear’s former club before he left for Crabble – in the first round and crushed the Ryman Premier League club with a resounding 8-0 win.
Michael Bakare, now at Tonbridge Angels, scored a hat-trick while an Ashley Carew brace and further goals from Nathan Elder, Cogan and a John Beales own goal helped Dover equal their biggest competitive victory – of which the same score line was achieved when Whites overcame East Preston in the FA Cup Second Qualifying Round in 2009.
This victory set up a next-round tie with Erith & Belvedere – a division lower than Margate – which was not as straightforward and comprehensive as the first round tie as they beat the Ryman Division One North side 3-1 at Crabble after goals from Elder, Charles and Ricky Modeste.
The side’s best performance in the competition this season arguably came at Dartford over five months later as Whites swept past the Skrill Premier side at the quarter-final stage – with goals coming from trialist Andre Blackman, Moses Ademola’s first strike of the season and an own goal from Tom Wellham in a 3-0 win.
Whites hosted Bromley in the semi-finals little over a month ago and recovered from a losing position to win the tie 3-2 thanks to goals from Kamara and a late, dramatic brace from Charles.
*Ppic1*Ebbsfleet’s route to the final was completed with wins over Tonbridge (3-0), Sittingbourne (6-1), Tunbridge Wells (3-1) and Whitstable Town (2-0) – with former Dover strikers Ben May and Billy Bricknell scoring three goals each in this season’s competition.
They have scored 13 goals en route to the final – a record only beaten by their opponents with 17 – although they have conceded less goals than Dover in the competition.
The final is a repeat of the 1991 final – the last time Whites won the Kent Senior Cup when Leroy Ambrose scored the only goal of the game against then-Gravesend & Northfleet at Priestfield during Kinnear’s first spell in charge of Dover.
Whites fans who witnessed that victory will be hoping for déjà vu as Dover look to clinch their first piece of silverware since winning the Ryman Premier League in 2009.
*BS*MORE INFORMATION ON THE GAME:*BF*
Details on purchasing tickets for this game can be found *Link1* while details on the Supporters Club travelling to Priestfield can be found *Link2*.
If, however, you cannot make the game, then live text commentary will be brought to you by Kieran Dodd on Twitter – follow *Link3* from 14:00 where team news, pre-match build up, live coverage and photos will be provided as always.