No pressure in play-off semi says Neil
- Monday, 30 April 2012
- Written by Mick Cork
Boss Neil Cugley is really looking forward to tomorrow’s Ryman One South play-off semi-final, pitting his fourth-place Invicta side against hosts Dulwich Hamlet.
Folkestone were assured of their fourth place finish following their sixth win on the bounce when they romped to a 4-1 victory at Chipstead a week ago on Saturday, but had to wait to see how the three sides above them sorted themselves out in the final reckoning.
“I really didn’t mind who we had to play” says Neil, “but, if I’d had the choice I’d always wanted either Bognor or Dulwich.
“And it’s a nice ground up there at Dulwich with a good pitch and hopefully a big crowd with a great atmosphere.”
Invicta lost both home and away to the Hamlet in the league in the regular season, but the manager insists: “In the two games against them we’ve been beaten quite comfortably so we’ll be determined to show them what a good side we can be.
“We’re all raring to go and if our lads perform well on the night there’s no reason why we can’t make it seven wins in a row to finish the season – or indeed eight with the final to come!
“There’s no pressure at all on our lads. Our aim for this season was to make the play-offs, which we’ve done – in many ways we’ve overachieved yet again.
“I’ve got to talk to Gleds (Lee Gledhill). He may still have work commitments, but we’ve got Micheal Everitt to slot-in at right back if we need to, so I’m not really worried about that situation.
“Cade Mortimer is unavailable because of exams and JV (Josh Vincent) has still not quite got over his injuries, but other than that we’ve got else available and raring to go.
“We may have Simon Austin and Roy Guiver to strengthen our squad numbers – I’ve no doubt that Dulwich will have 20 or more to choose from as usual!”
A supporters coach leaves Stripes at 5.30pm. A very limited number of places may still be available – contact John Law on the usual number to check. Players and officials will travel on a separate coach earlier in the afternoon.
Invicta were beaten 5-2 at Champion Hill in December and lost the return match at Cheriton Road 3-1 a couple of months back. But top scorer Stuart King missed both games and his presence tomorrow is a real bonus.
Indeed, Folkestone played far better than the scoreline suggests in that away defeat – scoring first through Josh Burchell and later through a Darren Smith penalty.
Up to a few weeks ago, when new champions Whitehawk won 2-0 at Dulwich – Invicta were the only side to have scored more than once against Hamlet in a league game at Champion Hill.
Neil Cugley’s side have ended the season with a fine six-game winning run – scoring plenty of goals in the process with their final three matches all ending in 4-1 victories – so confidence in the team must be high.
Indeed, at least one of Folkestone’s senior players has said that they needed to play Dulwich again to put the record straight.
The London outfit surprisingly lost their final league game 1-0 away to relegated Burgess Hill.
“That was a strange result” admitted Neil Cugley. “But we’ve got a side in good form after six wins on the bounce and we’ve all had a Saturday off to re-charge the batteries. As I’ve said, we’re raring to go!!”