Cugs confident of a good season
- Wednesday, 15 August 2012
- Written by Mick Cork
EAGER Invicta get their competitive season underway with four games in the first 10 days of the campaign – including an FA Cup tie with the chance to progress in the world’s oldest knockout competition.
“That Cup tie seems very early” admitted manager Neil Cugley, “but some teams are already out of the Cup!!”
Before Folkestone make the short trip to Winch’s Field to take on Ryman One newcomers Herne Bay a week on Saturday (August 25), they have two intriguing league fixtures, one home and one away.
This weekend, old rivals Worthing are the visitors to Cheriton Road and on Wednesday next Invicta travel to face Sittingbourne at Bourne Park. Please note that this game is on WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 22, having been switched from its original date because of a big greyhound meeting at the venue.
Neil Cugley’s side have a good recent record against Worthing – aka The Rebels – and have twice beaten them at Woodside Road at crucial times with victories that have sparked successful end-of-season run-ins for Invicta.
The most recent meeting saw Folkestone win 1-0 in Sussex thanks to a fine goal from Roland Edge which put them well on course for last season’s play-offs.
That result helped Invicta do the league double over the Rebels in 2011-12 having won the home game 3-1 with goals from Josh Vincent, Ryan Moreby and Ratty Everitt.
The home side took a firm grip on the game after Worthing had a player sent off – something that still rankles with their supporters as we found when visiting them for the return fixture last March!
Worthing are again likely to be among the better sides in Ryman One, though boss Cugley is not stressing too much over the opposition, preferring to concentrate on just how well his own side might play.
“They’ve usually got several good players and I’ll be talking to one or two of my contacts down that way to see what I can find out” said Neil. “But I’m more concerned with the way we play and I firmly believe that we’ve got a good side here now.
“There’s no reason to suggest that we cannot be as good as anyone in this division.”
Cugs has been pleased with the pre-season build-up, saying: “I know we lost it 4-0, but I was very pleased with the way we played over at Margate.
“We did a few silly things but overall that was an important game for us and we built on that against Tonbridge last Saturday” he added.
Facing the Angels – who play in Blue Square South, two leagues higher than Invicta – Cugley’s side were never outclassed in a good, entertaining goalless draw – followed by success in a penalty shoot-out to retain the Sid Burvill Memorial Trophy.
“Yes, we played pretty well. They’re a good side and had 10 of their first choice 11 playing” said Cugley.
There was another impressive performance by youngster Ryan Philpott as stand-in full-back for the unavailable Lee Gledhill.
But the experienced Gledhill is back for this weekend’s league opener against Worthing.
Midfielder Darren Smith is still away, but will be available for the midweek clash with Sittingbourne.
Invicta have made virtually no changes since last season on the playing side and Saturday’s visitors, Worthing appear to be in a similar position. Their current playing staff does, though, include goalkeeper Dean Ruddy – who spent much of last season with our neighbours Hythe Town.
Ruddy would, however, appear to be behind long-serving keeper Alan Mansfield in the Rebels’ pecking order.
Our midweek hosts, Sittingbourne, looked a poor side when they provided the opposition for our final home league game last season – a game which Invicta won 4-1 thanks to two goals from the luminous-green-booted Ratty Everitt, one by Stuart King and a fourth from Josh Burchell.
The Bourne have however, often been something of a bogy team for Folkestone, especially at Bourne Park, and always take great delight in putting one over their Kent rivals.
Following the opening two league games, Folkestone make their FA Cup bow for this season at Herne Bay – another awkward-looking fixture – before travelling to Chipstead on August Bank Holiday Monday (August 27).
Manager Cugley added: “I can’t recall our ground looking as good as it is at the moment.
“We’ll have the new boards on the stand up by Saturday and when we can formally announce our new ground sponsor. Everything’s ready and we’re raring to go.
“I believe we’re going to have a very good season.”