Invicta striker Jones to go under the knife

Monday 27th February 2006
Folkestone Invicta took an unchanged squad to North London on Saturday afternoon in their Ryman Premier League match with Hendon at Claremont Road, which ended in a 0-0 draw, writes Andy Bown and Tom Marchant –

Manager Neil Cugley wasn’t too happy with the result, particularly after the referee had failed to award Invicta a penalty for what the majority of both sets of fans deemed a definite infringement on recently signed Folkestone attacking midfielder Matt Carruthers – who appeared to be held back.

Cugley said: “It was disappointing as I thought that we had a blatant penalty just a few minutes, well literally with a minute to go, which wasn’t given. If we’d had gone away with 1-0, it would’ve been an excellent result for us but it was a poor game and the weather was awful for football”.

Former Dover Athletic and Welling United attacking midfielder Carruthers, whose been recovering from a groin problem recently, came on as a sub for James Everitt just after an hour had been played, and his manager explained: “He had half hour again, and he’s getting to the stage when we should be looking to get forty five minutes out of him. He’ll make a big difference to us in the final third”.
Invicta did, however, end a run of three successive defeats against Hendon since competing at Premier division level, losing 2-1 back in December at the Buzzlines Stadium.

”I thought that generally we defended well and worked hard as a team but we just couldn’t really get the ball down and start playing,” said Cugley.
It was indeed a valuable point though against opponents who occupy the fourth possible relegation place, with Cugley pointing out: “Obviously Hendon were a side that might’ve been able to catch us and drag us back into the relegation zone, so at the end of the day it was important that they didn’t beat us as well. It was just one of those days”.

Folkestone take on bottom placed Redbridge at Cheriton Road tonight, a side that they recorded a 2-0 victory over earlier in the month with defender Steve Norman scoring a brace away in Essex at the Oakside Stadium.

The Invicta boss said: “If we win we would’ve had a good little run of results; wining four out of our last six, and that is a good little run which is important. It is also not too disappointing to draw at Hendon as long as we can get all three points tomorrow!”

Since playing Folkestone, Redbridge have played three games and lost all three, the last being a 1-0 defeat at home to Harrow Borough at the weekend.

A victory against the Essex side would be a great help on the road to completely guaranteeing Ryman Premier status for next season.

“We’ve got eleven games left; six at home and five away and we’re looking to get towards around sixty points in total at the end of the season. The main thing is to get safe first, as we don’t want all the hard work over the past few weeks and the players we’ve signed to go wrong. We’re very close to securing survival and a couple more wins I think will do us”.

The Folkestone manager went on to express: “It is so important that with everything we want to do at the club, we must ensure we are in this league next season.
”Like at Hendon we had to make sure we didn’t get too carried away with chasing a win and then ending up losing as that would’ve meant them being only six points behind us. Now they’re nine points behind with games starting to run out. So it is important to win tonight to keep the pressure on.”

Cugley has no new injury worries for tonight’s match, commenting: “Micheal Everitt’s not playing at the moment as he’s got a bit on an injured ankle, he’s fit enough to be a sub but not to be playing. Paul Lamb had a bit of a rib injury but apart from that we’re not too bad”.

Striker Walid Matata, who didn’t train in midweek due to a knock he picked up against Fisher Athletic last Saturday, got through ninety minutes at Hendon with no troubles.

Cugley, however, did provide an update on the recovery of forward Paul Jones who has also been suffering recently with a groin problem (like Carruthers).

The Invicta manager said: “Jonesy won’t be in the squad tonight but we’ll be having a good look at him by next Saturday (when Invicta take on Maldon Town away)”, and he added: “He (Jones) will need an operation at some point though. It’s just a question of when we decide to have the operation. It’s more than likely to be the end of April when he goes in for it, but it’s all to do with us and we want him to be raring to go for next season.

”He has had problems with it (groin) before and he’s been in a fair bit of pain but it’s getting better, that’s why he might be ok”.

With a considerable number of players making their way to the Buzzlines Stadium recently, injuries aren’t as much of a concern as has been the case in earlier parts of the season.

Cugley highlighted the comparison saying: “If you go back, say to the Margate game on Boxing Day, we only literally had eleven players. Now we’re very strong on the bench, and to be honest there’s not much difference at all between the lads on the bench and the ones that are actually playing”.

The reserve’s home match that had been scheduled for Saturday afternoon at Cheriton Road was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

Cugley, however, was confident in stating that the game against Redbridge will not be hampered by the pitch, stating, “Tonight’s game will definitely be on. We’ll be rolling it so it should be quite nice which will mean we can get the ball down and start to play some good football”.

Cugley has already said that work will be undertaken on the pitch in the pre season period, but pointed out, “To be fair we do want the pitch to be better but its never actually cost us any games. It has been a very long time since a first team match has been called off. We just want a bit of a better surface and a flatter surface which I’m confident we will get next season”.

* Elsewhere in the county tonight, Invicta's Ryman Premier League rivals Bromley are at home to Wealdstone in the quarter-finals of the Westview Cup.  The game, at Hayes Lane, also kick's off at 7:45pm.

Folkestone Invicta v Redbridge
Ryman Premier League
Monday 27th February 2006
Kick Off 7:45pm
at Buzzlines Stadium, Cheriton Road, Folkestone