I've heard people say that Folkestone are overachieving and to be honest being an underdog can sometimes work in your favour, says midfielder Kieron McCann
Neil Cugley’s side put Glenn Tamplin’s highly-paid Bostik Premier Division leaders Billericay Town to the sword on a memorable night at Cheriton Road last night by winning 2-1 in front of their largest crowd (728) of the season.
McCann gave Invicta a fourteenth-minute lead before come-back kid Johan Ter Horst doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time before Billericay pulled one back through a last-gasp penalty from substitute striker Billy Bricknell.
Billericay Town are sitting at the top of the table with 67 points from their 28 games, while Folkestone Invicta are in the thick of the promotion race.
Margate are second with 66 points from 34 games, followed by Dulwich Hamlet (64 points from 32 games), Folkestone Invicta (62 points form 33 games) and Hendon (59 points from 32 games).
“I think on our day we know we can beat anyone,” said McCann, 25, who was playing two levels lower for Sevenoaks Town last season.
“If every player is playing to an eight out of 10 we fancy ourselves against anyone in this league. That's how I feel last night went. Everyone knew their jobs and done them magnificently.
“Collectively as a team, we know we can score goals. Whether that comes from our defence from set pieces or open play from the midfielders or strikers.
“The last few games Cugs has been playing me centre midfield, a position I played for many years. It's a position I enjoy as I feel more involved in the game compared to standing out there on the wing and maybe not touching the ball for long periods of time.
“It was nice to get an early goal yesterday, it gave us that extra bit of belief. Johan cut in from the left, passed it inside to me and at that time just outside the box one thing was on my mind. I took a touch out my feet and connected with it very well!”
Reflecting on the first half, McCann said: “I feel we dominated the first half. One of our strengths is we counter very quick.
“I felt Billericay struggled to deal with us breaking as quick as we did. Our second goal came from them taking a corner. It was played short then delivered into the box failing to beat myself the first man. A header away and we were up the pitch very quick. Ade Yusuff picked the ball up inside our half with Johan ahead of him and only one defender. The last thing you want is two quick guys running at just you.
"It was then a 2 v 1 situation which Ade unselfishly laid the ball into Johan’s path. At that point I think everyone in the ground knew it was going to go in. A cool, calm finish from him saw us go two up.
“I haven't played with Johan for a great length of time but straight away I can see the boy can finish. Our energy and enthusiasm definitely showed in the first half and maybe we could’ve had another couple of goals go into half time.
“The second half was very different from the first half. We expected Billericay to come out all guns blazing and that's what they did. We knew from the first half their plan was to play off the big man (Adam Cunnington) up top.
“Not much seemed to change from them in doing that, however it seemed it was happening a lot more frequent then it did in the first half. Fair play to them as they come out and had a go, however credit to our defence and goalkeeper who weathered the constant threat of long balls down their throats.
“A special mention to our keeper Tim Roberts, who kept us in it at vital stages of the game. Deep into stoppage time the ref awarded Billericay a penalty which I felt was pretty soft. The guy stepped up and slotted it home.”
McCann is adamant that Cugley can guide the club into the play-offs and give it a real good go at winning promotion into the Vanarama National League South for the first time.
He said: “There's a real sense of belief in our changing room. We have been in and around the play-off position throughout the campaign and of course by the end of the season we want remain in the play offs.
“However, there is no real pressure on us. I've heard people say that Folkestone are overachieving and to be honest being an underdog can sometimes work in your favour. We play with no pressure on us, we are just taking it game by game.”
Folkestone Invicta make the trip to Leatherhead on Saturday to tackle 13th-placed side Kingstonian, whom have collected 41 points from their 32 games.
McCann said: “We go into Saturday on the back of a good result. However, it's no good getting a good result midweek and then not turning up on the Saturday. Wednesday’s game has gone now, we need to approach Saturday’s game in the exact same way as we did Wednesday’s game. Nothing changes when you step over that line, its 11 men vs 11 men.”
McCann, who lives in Catford, south-east London, works on the railway for Network Rail, employed as a grinding and welding technician.
“If I’m on nights, after an evening game, I have to shoot straight to work. Sometimes it may mean a two-hour drive from my game straight to work. Other times if I’m not out there welding, I’m in the office planning work.
“I also work on sports commercials and I’ve been lucky enough to work with/choreograph with some of the best footballers in the world on big campaigns.”
Meanwhile, Billericay Town's Tamplin has warned he will step down as manager if his side lose at home to Vanarama National League South side Wealdstone in The Buildbase FA Trophy Quarter-Finals on Saturday.
“Truly sorry all at Billericay Town FC. I’m embarrassed now with my players as I’m their manager,” he tweeted this morning on the back of their third league defeat of the season.
“Lose Saturday, when it really matters, I will sack myself and actually considering it now, depending on answers from players on something I’ve put to them, be interesting if they do the right thing.”
Visit Folkestone Invicta’s website: www.folkestoneinvictafc.co.uk
Kingstonian v Folkestone Invicta
Bostik Premier Division
Saturday 24 February 2018
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Fetcham Grove, Guildford Road, Leatherhead, Surrey KT22 9AS