Wingate & Finchley 3-2 Folkestone Invicta - You've got to be switched on from start to finish, says frustrated Folkestone Invicta boss Neil Cugley

Tuesday 14th February 2017
Wingate & Finchley 3 – 2 Folkestone Invicta
Location Summers Lane, Finchley, London N12 0PD
Kickoff 14/02/2017 19:45

Ryman Premier League
Tuesday 14th February 2017
Stephen McCartney reports from Summers Lane

FOLKESTONE INVICTA manager Neil Cugley says a lack of professionalism from his players’ was the cause of throwing away points at play-off chasing Wingate & Finchley.

After an uninspiring first half, the game exploded into life during the second half with Folkestone Invicta throwing away a 2-1 lead with six minutes left to come away from north London pointless.

Wingate & Finchley opened the scoring early in the second half through winger Steve Wales’ tenth goal of the season.

But a well-taken nine minute brace from Folkestone Invicta striker Ian Draycott – taking his goalscoring tally to 17 for the season – had the Kent club on course for only their second league away win of the season.

But Keith Rowland’s side scored twice in the final five minutes through substitute winger Reece Beckles-Richards (his 19th of the season) and a breakaway clincher through striker Rob Laney, who netted his tenth goal of the campaign, to break Folkestone Invicta’s hearts.

Despite claims that ‘they have the second lowest budget in the league’, Wingate & Finchley climb up four places into sixth in the Ryman Premier League table with 51 points from 32 games – four points behind fifth-placed Leiston, who have three games in hand.

“That’s 12 goals (conceded) in four games, you can imagine my thoughts,” said Cugley following his side’s 14th league defeat of the season.

“Two-one up, completely in control of the game, didn’t see them getting back in, if anything us to get a third, but poor marking off a corner, the lad’s got in around the back and just tapped it in and then we’ve got a corner and they’ve broke away and scored from our corner, so I’m not happy about that at all!

“We haven’t played that badly away.  We should’ve got something at Needham Market, Kingstonian, we should’ve got something out of that one. It’s frustrating! Kingstonian got a last minute disputed penalty so Needham we should’ve got something there, we should’ve got something here.

“I honestly think players’ have played at the lower league for too long and they’re not professional enough, like at 2-1, that game should’ve been killed off!”

Wingate & Finchley were keen to end a three-game losing streak and started the game on the front foot.

Starting with a 4-3-3 formation, Wingate & Finchley created the first opening after only 24 seconds when central midfielder Spencer McCall burst forward and drove his right-footed drive flashing past the far post from 30-yards.

Rowlands recalled former Folkestone Invicta striker Ben Pattie into the starting line-up and he hit a speculative right-footed shot from 35-yards, which was easily collected by visiting keeper Tim Roberts.

Folkestone Invicta’s first opening arrived in the seventh minute.

Sam Hasler played the ball with the outside of his right boot to release striker Joe Taylor down the right hand side and he cut the ball back to Hasler, who dragged his shot through a crowd of players and past the far post from the edge of the penalty area.

Jordan Wright and Taylor linked up well down the right and Taylor got in behind left-back Ryan Sellers to whip in a deep cross towards the far post where Miles Cornwell’s hooked volley from a tight angle looped over the keeper and was cleared off the line by Sellers.

Draycott’s fine pass released Taylor who was denied a shot on goal by a well-timed saving tackle from last-defender Alfie Young inside the box after 19 minutes.

Roberts launched a big kick down the middle, which was flicked on by Taylor, was knocked down by Draycott but Cornwell’s 20-yard drive sailed high over the crossbar.

Wingate & Finchely’s right-winger Wales delivered a deep cross towards the far post where Laney rose above Frankie Chappell to send his header over the crossbar.

Folkestone defender Liam Friend gave the ball away and Wales put in another cross into the penalty area where an unmarked Pattie seemed likely to score from inside the box but his drive was tipped around the post by Roberts, diving to his right.

Cugley said: “Good player, Ben. It was just where he lived (in Wembley).  It wasn’t going to work out.  It’s some way as you can imagine to come down (to Folkestone) so it wasn’t going to work out so we’ve got Joe Taylor and I think they’re similar players actually.

“That’s what Tim’s capable off to be fair to him,” added Cugley on the save.

Wales swung in the resulting corner from the left, which was cleared out to Ahmet Rifat, the home club’s skipper dragging his shot into the foot of the side netting.

Roberts was the busier of the two goalkeepers and he swiftly came off his line to smother at Wales’ feet after Pattie held the ball up on the edge of the box before playing a reverse pass to put the winger in behind Callum Davies.

The hosts produced a clever free-kick routine in the 35th minute. 

Tommy Tejan-Sie rolled the ball out wide to Ifill on the right, who played the ball into the channel to Tejan-Sie, who cut into the penalty area, cut the ball onto his left-foot before lashing his shot towards goal, which was superbly beaten away by Roberts, diving high to his right.

Wales swept in a free-kick from the left, the ball was helped on by Rifat and Sean Cronin came up from the back to force Roberts to dive low to his left to save at his near post.

Folkestone Invicta created a couple of chances as a poor first half drew to a close.

Right-sided midfielder Wright was fouled by Sellers down the right channel and faced with a couple of players in the Wingate & Finchley wall, Hasler whipped in a curling dipping left-footed free-kick, which was heading wide of the near post, but keeper Shane Gore made sure, diving to his left to turn the ball behind for a corner.

Folkestone Invicta left-back Nathanial Blanks was given acres of space to float in a deep cross into the penalty area but Wright’s hooked volley from 12-yards kissed the crossbar and Gore was able to deal with the ball as it dropped down.

“We had our chances didn’t we? I think you can read that out all day, but when you look back we had a lot of chances really,” said Cugley.

“They were fair chances.  Nil-nil was a fair result at half-time, I think.  Disappointed not to go in (Wright’s shot hitting the crossbar) but I think it was even Stevens at half-time so I wasn’t too bothered at that stage.”

Roberts made a low save to his right as McCall’s low drive from 20-yards ensured the first half remained goal-less.

When asked his thoughts at the break, Cugley replied: “It weren’t too bad, we’re away from home. They were having chances. It was very stayed, I thought, first half.  We said that terrible quote at half-time,’ as long as we don’t let them score we’ll win this game’, because when you have Draycott and Taylor up front, you always think you’ll get goals.

“We told them just keep plugging along, we’ll score a goal. I know we’re going to score goals so that’s when it’s a bit frustrating when we eventually do get them and we can’t keep a clean sheet.”

Folkestone Invicta missed a glorious chance to break the stalemate after only 197 seconds into the second half.

Draycott found space inside the Wingate & Finchley half and threaded the ball through the middle for Taylor, but his shot sailed over the keeper and agonisingly past the right-hand post from 22-yards.

“To be fair to Joe Taylor, his goal ratio has been good for a lad who didn’t join until later in the season,” said Cugley on the striker, whom had scored 20 goals for the club this season.

However, Wingate & Finchley opened the scoring, seven minutes and three seconds into the half.

Pattie rolled the ball out wide to Sellers, who cut the ball onto his right-foot, twisted and turned Davies before cutting inside and pulling the ball back to an unmarked Pattie inside the box. He played a low centre towards the far post for Wales to poke his shot across Roberts into the bottom left-hand corner from four-yards out.

“Jordan Wright will be disappointed he didn’t do better,” bemoaned Cugley.

“His defensive play there was a bit poor. They got in too easy and he’s tapped it in so disappointed that was a defensive goal. Jordan will be disappointed with that!”

Taylor played a low diagonal pass from the centre to Blanks, who found himself in acres of space inside the box on the left-hand side and his drive cross was beaten away by Gore and fell at Taylor, who dragged his shot across goal and the home side were able to clear their lines.

Blanks whipped in another cross, which was knocked down by Draycott and Cornwell went close with a first time drive, which only just cleared the crossbar, as the former Sittingbourne attacker tried to crash a shot into the top left-hand corner.

Ifill turned Blanks to feed McCall in behind the Folkestone defence and his low shot flashed across Roberts, who dived low to his right to get his fingertips to push the ball away and Tejan-Sie’s follow-up shot deflected past the post.

Wales swung in the resulting corner and Rifat’s planted free-header was superbly tipped away by Roberts.

Cugley said: “He’s a good goalie Tim.  He’s been good for me since he’s got here. He’ll be disappointed that he’s let 12 goals in, in four games and he deserves a bit better than that.”

Folkestone Invicta lifted spirits among the travelling contingent in the small crowd of 84 at Summers Lane by scoring the equaliser in the 68th minute.

Central midfielder Phil Starkey played the ball up to Draycott, who held the ball up, cut the ball onto his right foot and curled a beautiful shot around the diving keeper from 25-yards, the ball nestling nicely into the bottom far corner.

“It was a great finish, a quality strike, a quality goal.  We needed that then to kick us on,” added Cugley.

Tejan-Sie fed left-winger Beckles-Richards, who cut inside and drove a low right-footed shot from 25-yards towards the bottom near corner, which was saved comfortably by the Folkestone keeper.

But Folkestone Invicta produced an eye-pleasing goal to take the lead with thirteen minutes remaining.

Cornwell swept a deep 50-yard diagonal cross from left-to-right to find Wright on the right-hand side of the penalty area. He cut the ball back for Taylor, who let the ball flash through him for Draycott to drill a low first time right-footed shot into the bottom left-hand corner from 10-yards.

Cugley said: “Great goal, great movement, great build-up, just a quality goal that you hope will win the game.

“We was quite comfortable in the game. I thought we was on top.  If anything, I thought we might even get a third. We played well, we defended well.   I thought this is good, but they equalised from a corner.”

At this point it looked like Folkestone Invicta were going to improve on their awful away form, which has seen only three wins in 17 games in all competitions.

They won 2-0 at Staines Town back on 16 August, which has been their only league win away from home this season; came away from Cheshunt with a 3-1 win in The Buildbase FA Trophy First Qualifying Round on 29 October and defeated Faversham Town 4-0 in the Kent Reliance Senior Cup in their next game.

Wingate & Finchley equalised with 39 minutes and 37 seconds on the clock, before grabbing the winner with the clock showing 41:35.

Wales delivered an out-swinging corner from the right towards the corner of the penalty area and the ball was hooked on by an unmarked Cronin and sailed over towards the far post where substitute Beckles-Richards hooked the ball over his shoulder from inside the six-yard box, the ball bouncing into the corner of the net.

“It was poor marking on the far stick, I think Nat Blanks should’ve done better and he’s sneaked in at the far stick,” said Cugley.

“He’s (Beckles-Richards) in there, you can’t knock him for that but I think Blanksie was marking him on the post and I thought he should’ve done better.”

Cugley saw his side capitulate to come away from north London with nothing as Wingate & Finchley hit them with the ultimate sucker punch on the counter-attack following a Folkestone corner.

Tejan-Sie showed heart and desire to break away from box-to-box down the left to reach the by-line before cutting the ball back to an unmarked Laney, who steered his shot towards goal. Roberts stuck out a leg in an attempt to hook the ball away but only managed to help the ball trickle into the bottom far corner to break Folkestone’s hearts.

“The problem with that goal is it came from our corner so their 11 (Tejan-Sie) has run from that box to that box to cause the problem and we didn’t run with him and that’s disappointing.  Two-all, you’ve got to go with your runners and make sure we get a point instead of we take nothing.”

Folkestone Invicta slipped down a place into 16th on 38 points from 32 games and last season’s Ryman League Division One South champions remain six points clear of the relegation zone, something that Cugley wants to avoid.

“It’s very disappointing,” he said.

“I just think we’ve had a lot of players that have played at a lower standard for too long and it’s showed again tonight and it showed in other games where you’re concentration and (we’re not) doing the right things.

“In the other league (Ryman One South) that would’ve just peter out, that would go 2-1 or 3-1 up to us.  Teams in this league, they don’t give up, they keep going and going and going and that’s a disappointment for me.

“There’s so many good players in (the Ryman Premier), the quality of the league is high. We can cope with it but we’ve just got to be more switched on.  Roland Edge, bless him, my coach, it must frustrate him more than me, I think sometimes.”

Folkestone Invicta travel to Canvey Island on Saturday, a side that moved up a place following their 1-1 draw at Burgess Hill Town tonight. The Essex side remain the relegation zone and Cugley said tonight that he will be looking to win four of their last 16 league games to stay up.

“I’ve always said we need 50 plus points so we’ve got to get them,” said Cugley.

“How you get them, it doesn’t matter. If you win this one or win the next one or which one to win you still need to get 50 odd points and obviously if you keep losing or throwing points away like we did here today, it makes it hard.”

Cugley admitted his hands are tied when it comes to bringing in new players to beat the drop.

“Things are a bit tight at the moment.  You have to be a bit careful at Folkestone as we know,” he said.

“I suppose if it was something special I might be able to have a whip round and might be able to do that. 

“Today I think we showed we’re good enough but it’s just stupid goals to give away.

“It won’t be easy at Canvey Island, I’ve said before no game’s easy in this league and you have to be more professional and more switched on and showing it as you go along, so the league keeps plugging away. It’s a good league and it’s a hard league and you’ve got to be switched on from start to finish.

“They (my players’) don’t mean to lose games, do they? But they’ve got a just switch on a bit more and be a bit more professional. The league is difficult. We’ve taken a bit of a long time, we’ve got a lot of players that have played Ryman South for a long time and I think it shows sometimes.”

Cugley was full of praise for their travelling supporters for turning out in north London on a Tuesday night.

He said: “We’re very lucky, they’re tremendous really.  You feel like we’ve let them down a bit really, well I do personally. They’re good, great, great fans and that’s another reason why we want to be in this league next year because I’m sure we can learn from it.

“It’s a good league. You come here, ok there’s not a lot of people here but the catchment area is tremendous isn’t it so they can get players from anywhere. Where we are we have to work with what we’ve got basically what we’ve got and what we can afford - and I think we’re good enough to be alright.”

Wingate & Finchley: Shane Gore, Luke Ifill, Ryan Sellers, Ahmet Rifat, Sean Cronin, Alfie Young, Steve Wales, Spencer McCall, Ben Pattie (Reece Beckles-Richards 65), Rob Laney, Tommy Tejan-Sie.
Subs: Tanasheh Abrahams, Afolabi Obafemi, Tarum Dawkins, Joe Sharpe

Goals: Steve Wales 53, Reece Beckles-Richards 85, Rob Laney 87

Booked: Sean Cronin 76

Folkestone Invicta: Tim Roberts, Callum Davies, Nathaniel Blanks, Phil Starkey, Frankie Chappell, Liam Friend, Sam Hasler (Josh Vincent 82), Miles Cornwell, Ian Draycott, Joe Taylor, Jordan Wright.
Subs: Ashley Miller, Euan Sahadow, Liam Jelley, Daniel Brabham

Goals: Ian Draycott 68, 77

Booked: Joe Taylor 76

Attendance: 84
Referee: Mr Paul Forrester (Luton, Bedfordshire)
Assistants: Mr John Wynne (Dunstable, Bedfordshire) & Mr Robert Trinder (Dunstable, Bedfordshire)

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