Folkestone Invicta 1-0 Hendon. We dropped below our standards, admits Cugley - EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Monday 16th October 2006

Monday 16th October 2006
Ryman Premier League
Stephen McCartney reports from Buzzlines Stadium

A stunning strike from skipper Adam Flanagan ensured Folkestone Invicta won their fourth successive game, but manager Neil Cugley admitted afterwards that he was not pleased with his side’s performance against basement boys Hendon.

Flanagan settled a dour game by scoring his fourth goal of the season with fifteen minutes remaining.

Folkestone Invicta Adam Flanagan's stunning volley was enough to beat basement boys Hendon at the Buzzlines Stadium
Photograph courtesy of

He controlled Paul Jones’ flick on with his chest before unleashing a superb volley, which flew over Richard Wilmot and crashed into the roof of the net from 12-yards.

But up until that moment, Folkestone, who have leapfrogged over Staines Town into fourteenth place in the Ryman Premier League table, were frustrated against a side that came for a point, playing a lone striker for the first 55 minutes.

But it was Hendon, with just two points from their first ten outings, that created the first chance after five minutes.

Leading scorer Lee O’Leary’s right-footed free kick from 25-yards flashed just past the right post.

Michael Everitt, celebrating his 24th birthday, hooked a shot into Wilmot’s grateful arms at the near post, before Jones forced a save from the experienced goalkeeper three minutes later.

Folkestone forced their first corner of the game after 23 minutes where Kevin Watson cut the ball back to Steve Norman’s, whose left-footed drive from 25-yards, deflected past the left post.

Both goalkeepers were tested late in the half when the impressive Danny Rouco latched onto Dean Green’s pass but shot straight at Tony Kessell and at the other end striker Walid Matata, who replaced Norman (shin), was denied at the near post by Wilmot.

Hendon should have done better with a free-kick from just outside the box after just 75 seconds into the second half, but Green’s effort ended up in Kessell’s grateful arms.

Wayne O’Sullivan whipped in a cross from the left but Green, whose on loan from Staines Town, glanced his header just wide of the left post from 12 yards.

Hendon manager Gary McCann, shouting instructions from the back of the main stand, decided to be more adventurous and changed his formation from 4-5-1 to 4-4-2.

Jones’ right-footed volley from 22-yards was fumbled by Wilmot before Hendon almost stole the lead in the 61th minute.

Rouco’s right-footed free-kick from the right-hand side sailed over Kessell’s head but an alert Samuel Kola Okikiolu was on the line to stab the ball clear.

Folkestone were almost caught napping two minutes later, after bringing on Ben Sly after 63 minutes when Kessell advanced to deny Green, whose shot bounced agonisingly past the foot of the left post and out for a corner.

Sly, meanwhile, was forced off the pitch after just seven minutes, with a knee injury.

However, Invicta’s fourth highest crowd of the season, although quiet most of the game, were celebrating when Flanagan’s rocket flew into the net.

Hendon increased their urgency late in the game, with O’Leary’s drive from 25-yards flashing past the post.

Invicta boss Neil Cugley, meanwhile, faces a couple of injury problems ahead of their trip to Staines Town in the first qualifying round of the FA Trophy on Saturday.

“It’s a bit of a worry because obviously we’re having a trim down of the squad so it’s a bit of a worry for Saturday getting eleven players out there but we’ll be allright,” he said EXCLUSIVELY to after their win. He added: “We’ll chuck in some kids if need be.”

But Cugley told his players after their fourth league win that he was not happy with their performance.

“It’s a good win but I’ve had a go with the players,” he revealed. “I think to be fair we had a day off Saturday and it was a mistake really. I should have brought them in but I thought we looked a bit leggy tonight.

“Recently we’ve looked really sharp and busy but maybe, give them a bit of credit, they made it difficult for us trying to catch us on the break.

“They left just one player up front and sometimes that’s hard to adjust to but as I’ve said in there our standards higher than that and that’s disappointing. I’m not very pleased how we played really.”

Cugley will go over certain things during their training session on Wednesday night, and will speak to his youngsters about their frailties.

“They’re good kids but today I didn’t think some of them were at the park,” he said. “They just got a little bit of a culture shock tonight but we’ll work on that on Wednesday and get their heads up.”

Cugley was, however, pleased with tonight’s gate but insisted they must attract regular crowds of 400 to improve their squad.

“We’ve started very poorly and obviously that knocked the crowd down and getting knocked out of the FA Cup doesn’t help,” he said.

“We lost to a good Welling side but this is the problem, when we have to let a couple of players go.

“But hopefully if we can keep getting the crowds over 300, up to 400 then maybe we can look to strengthen again.

“If we can get bigger crowds we can use that to get better players in, but as I say we still have to plug away with a lot of the younger lads.”

Cugley is relishing their trip to Wheatsheaf Park next Saturday, playing a Staines Town side that’s not setting the league on fire.

“They’re always a good footballing side,” he warned. “The pitch will be absolutely superb up there so it’s one thing to look forward to.

“We know a club like Folkestone will not win the FA Trophy but we can go there to enjoy it and hopefully perform better than we did tonight.”

Folkestone Invicta: Tony Kessell, Kevin Watson, Steve Norman (Walid Matata 34), Adam Flanagan, Liam Friend, Samuel Kola Okikiolu, Michel Everitt, James Everitt (Ben Sly 63, Joe Neilson 70), Ellis Remy, Mark Saunders, Paul Jones. Sub: Luke Stonebridge

Goal: Adam Flanagan 75

Hendon: Richard Wilmot, Ryan Wharton, Wayne O’Sullivan, Sam Page, James Parker, Danny Rouco (Ian Hilare 80), Rakatahr Hudson, Lee O’Leary, Dean Green, Ross Pickett, Danny Edwards (Adilson Lopes 80).

Subs: Harry Wheeler, Jazz Rose, Anthony O’Connor

Attendance: 303
Referee: Mr Ian Bentley
Assistants: Mr Jonathan Gooding & Mr Mark Cole