Cugley praises Redbridge's kids

Thursday 02nd March 2006

Defender Steve Norman scored a vital second half goal on Monday night at the Buzzlines Stadium to ensure that Folkestone Invicta took all three points against bottom placed Redbridge in the Ryman Premier League, writes Andy Bown and Tom Marchant -

It was the defender who scored both goals when Invicta travelled to Essex earlier in the month, sealing a 2-0 victory at the Oakside Stadium.

Essex based Norman has played much of the season at centre back, but has recently been deployed in the left wing back role following a rib injury to starting regular Paul Lamb.

Asked on whether he has a preferred position in the side, Cugley said: "I don't think he (Norman) minds! He's played ever so well at centre back and he got man of the match on Monday night, and he played well further up the field. Towards the end of the second half he was basically playing left midfield!"

Cugley added: "By playing at left wing back, he's much more involved in our forward play. He's got a good left foot, but most left footers seem to have a nice crisp left foot! I think he has had an excellent season".

Although Folkestone were having the majority of the chances at Cheriton Road, Invicta just couldn’t put the ball away and at half time midfielders Stuart Myall and Matt Carruthers replaced Martin Chandler and James Everitt respectively.

"I think they made a bit of a difference as they gave us a bit of quality – Myally's passing was very good and Matt is a class player. But we do have to be careful with Matt because of his injury and at the moment we have to play along with him. Ideally he'd start the game but we can't do that yet".

From a Carruthers’ corner Norman scored the only goal of the game, but Cugley pointed out: "It was one of those games where we should've scored more. They (Redbridge) kicked four or five maybe off the line and their keeper made two outstanding saves".

However, the home side did have a late scare which was well dealt with by goalkeeper Tony Kessell.

Cugley explained: "A few seconds from the end Kess made an excellent save when he hadn't had much to do all night. That's what Kess is ever so good at though; pulling out a save when you need one".

Cugley stated his thoughts on Monday night's opponents, expressing: "To be honest they (Redbridge) played some excellent football and they've got some good young players.

“I thought they'd improved even since we played them up there when I thought they were a poor side, but they've obviously got things turned round a bit".

The Invicta manager said that the Essex based side did make it quite difficult for his team.

“You have to give them a lot of credit as they got the ball down and tried to play a bit of football.

“It was nice to see as a few weeks ago Windsor came down and just defended and didn't even try to make a game of it. If Redbridge can keep that side together, whatever league they end up in I'm sure they'd do well".

The Folkestone squad picked up no new injuries and Micheal Everitt and Paul Lamb are being allowed to rest but could play if needed.

"We've got a night off training, they'll (Everitt and Lamb) go out for a run and keep themselves fit and they'll be in the squad for Saturday. We've had a lot of games recently and a nice couple of results, and so we'll look forward to Saturday".

Friendly games have also been arranged; Wednesday 8th March against Sittingbourne, and Monday 13th March against Ashford Town. Both matches will be held at the Buzzlines Stadium.

There is a good chance that more will be arranged towards the end of March and in April. Club Secretary Neil Pilcher will provide further information in due course.

Cugley said: "There's no doubt about it, the players prefer to play games rather than train! Especially this time of year when fitness levels are higher and we're coming down to the last eight or nine weeks of the season, it keeps games ticking along.

"Because of the numbers in the squad now, it'll give those that aren't playing some games. We might have a few trialists coming down as different people at different times have asked if they can have a game and it might be ideal to look at them. The nice thing is that they've got to be good players now to get into our squad".

Folkestone fans may have noticed recently that the squad has remained unchanged recently but hasn't included a substitute goalkeeper.

Cugley explained: "Well Kieran has been away for a few days and obviously with the reserves doing so well we are trying to help them win the league. With the bigger squad now, we've gone with five outfield players on the bench to give us more options".
Regular goalkeeper Kessell isn't one to pick up many injuries, although his manager wasn't too keen to say anything.

He said: "I won't say too much about that because it might come back to haunt us!"

The manager did state the positive impact of having a bigger squad, remarking: "You can bring players of quality on like Matt Carruthers, Myally and young James Fraser who made a difference. Since we've had a bigger squad we've had six games; we've won four, drawn at Hendon when we could've won and lost against Fisher when we played ever so well. I think it does show you need a bit of depth".

With regard to the reserves, they take on Whitstable Town reserves away on Tuesday 7th March in the Semi Final 1st Leg of the League Division One/Two Cup, with a 7:45pm kick off.

The second leg which is to be held at Cheriton Road, is on Tuesday 14th March also with a 7:45pm kick off.

The reserves are having a superb season, and it would be great to see as many Folkestone fans as possible at these games and indeed their remaining League fixtures as they chase the Division Two title.