Cugley: Strikers need to score the goals

Monday 06th March 2006
It was a rather disappointing afternoon for Folkestone Invicta when they lost 1-0 to Maldon Town at the Wallace Binder Ground on Saturday in the Ryman Premier League, writes Andy Bown and Tom Marchant –

Manager Neil Cugley made two changes to the side that defeated Redbridge 1-0 on Monday night; midfielder Stuart Myall replaced the suspended Martin Chandler, whilst Matt Carruthers made his first full starting appearance since re-joining the club.  James Everitt therefore took a place on the substitute’s bench alongside brother Micheal, left full back Paul Lamb, James Fraser and goalkeeper Kieran Mann.

Invicta were to suffer defeat to a bizarre first half goal from Essex based Maldon.  Cugley said: “Tony Kessell made a very rare mistake which in the end has cost us the game, but the forwards needed to get us goals – we’ve had enough chances. 

”Maldon weren’t a bad side; they’ve picked up results against Fisher and Braintree
this season who were probably expected to beat them.  Football is never as easy beating teams below you or in the relegation zone”.  

Cugley, however, did take some positives from the performance yesterday afternoon, adding: “Defensively we were strong and the midfield had a lot of possession.  I really cannot knock the defence at all, they’ve done a tremendous job for the club this year and without a strong defence we would’ve been relegated”.   

But as has been the case recently, Invicta just couldn’t score against Maldon.  The Folkestone boss remarked: “We were very disappointing in the final third again.  We had a lot of possession, created a few half chances, but we just don’t score enough goals.  For the amount of possession and chances we have our goal scoring is poor.  We’ve only scored one in the last four now, and that was from left wing back and it’s a big problem – especially when the forwards aren’t scoring”. 

Cugley gave his thoughts on what might be causing the problem. “It might be confidence, but once we start scoring a few more goals the confidence will come,” he said.  “We’re not being clinical at all and it’s obviously impacting upon our results.  I can’t though knock the commitment of the front players as I know they do their best for me”. 

With regard to signing a striker to bolster Invicta’s forward line, Cugley said: “I’ve been a manager of a side with many good forwards and our boys have got to come up and improve their game.  Obviously we’ll be looking to strengthen in that department at the end of the season”. 

As is often the case with bringing in new players, finances do have a major influence and at the present time the club continue to have to pay the wages of injured striker Paul Jones even though he isn’t playing. 

Cugley explained: “Even though I would like to bring in another striker, it’s all about money and I feel it’s money that would be better used next year.  Forwards are like gold dust as it is and it would be very difficult trying to bring in a quality striker now.  We do know where our strengths and weaknesses are for next season, and we will aim to improve in the weaker areas”.

On Wednesday night Folkestone take on Sittingbourne in a friendly game at the Buzzlines Stadium. 

The Invicta boss mentioned that he is planning to use as many of the first team as possible, and he feels that the forwards need to start getting as much confidence in front of goal as possible. 

Furthermore, another game will improve fitness levels and scoring goals should improve morale ready for Saturday’s match against Ryman Premier leaders Braintree Town at Cheriton Road

“Wednesday will be mainly for players that are coming back from injury, such as Paul Lamb, Matt Carruthers and Micheal Everitt..  Martin Chandler didn’t play today so we need to keep them ticking along.  Obviously we are trying to get one more win which should make us safe”.

Mark Corneille, who was signed on a one month loan, is coming to the end of his spell at Cheriton Road.  Cugley added: “At the moment his last game is next week.  Keeping him on does depend on finances and it’s something we are going to have to discuss in the week but obviously he is a very good player and we’d like to keep him”.

Folkestone supporters should remember that before the first team’s friendly against Sittingbourne in midweek, the reserves have a very important game away on Tuesday (March 7th) against Whitstable Town reserves in the Semi Final 1st Leg of the League Division One/Two Cup, with a 7:45pm kick off.

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

It would give the reserves a real boost if as many fans as possible could get to these two matches, and indeed their remaining League games as they look to be victorious in both competitions – they are having an excellent season.