Folkestone Invicta 1-1 Dorking Wanderers - I think we'll get better as the season goes on, says Folkestone Invicta boss Neil Cugley
Folkestone Invicta 1 – 1 Dorking Wanderers
|Location||Cheriton Road, Folkestone, Kent CT19 5JU|
FOLKESTONE INVICTA 1-1 DORKING WANDERERS
Ryman League Division One South
Saturday 22nd August 2015
Stephen McCartney reports from Cheriton Road
FOLKESTONE INVICTA manager Neil Cugley says his side will get better as the season goes on after being held to a disappointing stalemate by newly-promoted side Dorking Wanderers.
Cugley took charge of Folkestone Invicta for the 950th time on a scorching day today - against a club that were playing at their highest level of football in their sixteen-year existence.
Folkestone Invicta finished runners-up in the Ryman League Division One South last season, losing 3-0 to Merstham in the home play-off final, which was their fourth play-off heartbreak on the bounce.
Dorking Wanderers, who claimed the West Sussex League Division Four title in 2001, were promoted into the Ryman League for the first time in their short history after finishing runners-up to Littlehampton Town in the Sussex County League Division One (top-flight) last season.
Folkestone Invicta opened the scoring through a beautiful curling strike from striker Ian Draycott, before Dorking Wanderers levelled just before the break through Kevin Terry, as second-versus-third played out a disappointing stalemate at Cheriton Road.
Cugley took a swipe from a soft drink before sitting down at his desk in his office and said: “To be fair to Dorking, they’re quite a good side. They showed that they can play.
“I’m disappointed with our play in the final third. I think we didn’t have enough players on the day – I’ve just said it in the changing room – I don’t think we had enough people who wanted to go on and win the game for us and that’s what they should be doing! That’s what they get paid for!
“The wide men or the attacking players, I just don’t think they really thought they could go on and win the game for us and they didn’t do enough. It just needed somebody to take us to the next level.”
When asked whether his side gained a point or dropped two, Cugley replied: “Two dropped really! You’re at home and I think we were the better side on the day but at the end of the day we haven’t given enough, we haven’t caused them enough problems.”
Cugley made four changes to his side that knocked out local rivals Ramsgate in the League Cup in midweek, with Chris Elliott, Matt Newman, Phil Starkey and Carl Rook relegating Callum Wraight, Nat Blanks, Jon Pilbeam and Ashley Miller to the bench.
Cugley, who has 15 of his 16 man-squad under contract, was without Jordan Wright, who has a knee injury.
Folkestone Invicta’s largest crowd of the season (318) saw their side create the first chance with only four minutes and 28 seconds on the clock.
Newman ran with the ball through the middle of the pitch before playing the ball out to Draycott on his right. The striker cut the ball back inside to Josh Stanford, who swept his shot across the face of goal and goalkeeper Gary Ross dived low to his right to make the save.
Cugley added: “To be fair at times, we played not bad football. I think early on again we were the better side.”
The Kent side were reliant on long balls up to target-man Rook, who was pushed from behind by Dorking Wanderers’ central defender Ben Dyett as the pair tussled for supremacy after a big kick down the middle of the pitch by Folkestone keeper Tim Roberts.
Newman curled in the resulting free-kick towards the far post, which was met by Josh Vincent, who ghosted in to power his header screaming across the face of goal.
Dorking Wanderers’ opening chance arrived inside eleven minutes.
Lone-striker Tom Tolfrey, who has banged in six goals already this season, cut in towards the edge of the penalty area but lacked composure to blaze his 20-yarder high and wide.
Folkestone Invicta opened the scoring through Draycott’s second goal of the season, with 17 minutes and 55 seconds on the clock.
Stanford and Newman linked up well down the left and the move broke down but the loose ball fell at Draycott’s feet. The striker curled a beautiful first time right-footed curler from 25-yards, which went around the diving keeper into the far corner.
“For Dracys, he’s had a bit of a quiet time just recently,” said Cugley.
“To be fair that goal is just a class goal! I don’t think there’s anybody else on the pitch who would’ve done that!
“He was doing that a lot last year and hopefully that goal will get him moving on again.”
Newman intercepted a pass from Dorking Wanderers’ most skilful player Phil Page and hit their visitors’ on the break.
Newman and Rook linked up well and Ronnie Dolan swept the ball out to Draycott on the left and this time his right-footed curler sailed around the far post from inside the penalty area.
A ball out of Dorking Wanderers’ defence released Tolfrey down the right flank and the striker cut along the penalty area into a central position before hitting his left-footed curler just over the crossbar from 19-yards.
Tom Davis swung in a free-kick from the right into the Folkestone penalty area, the ball was flicked on by Tolfrey’s feet at the near post and Page’s drilled a low shot towards the bottom near corner, which was turned away by Roberts at his near post.
A long through from Elliott found Stanford lurking at the near post and his initial shot was blocked by Chris Boulter sliding in but his next shot was caught by Ross.
Folkestone Invicta went close from a corner, which was swung into the near post region by Dolan and Frankie Chappell came up from the back to direct his deflected looping header just past the left-hand post.
But Dorking Wanderers, who arrived on the Kent coast unbeaten in four games, levelled with 39:33 on the clock.
The Surrey outfit peppered possession in and around the Folkestone penalty area but Folkestone’s defensive pairing of Liam Friend and Chappell slammed the door shut.
However, the ball came out to Jerome Beckles, who played the ball out to advanced right-back Jake Hill, who centred low into the penalty area and Folkestone failed to clear their lines and the ball flashed to Terry, who turned and steered his first time shot past Roberts from ten-yards.
“He’s not a bad player Kev Terry either, he used to be at Leatherhead and that,” Cugley said of the number 9 who played out wide on the left.
“It was a poor goal from our defensive play. Overall, I thought we defended brilliantly today but I did think it was a sloppy goal.”
Cugley went into the dressing room at half-time and demanded one of his players to take the game by the scruff off the neck to win the game to maintain their winning start to their campaign.
He said: “It needed somebody to go and get hold of the game. If somebody got hold of the game, the game was there to be won and I don’t think either side had that person today.
“Sometimes you have to dig in. At half-time (I asked my players’) are you going to be the one that goes on and be the one that’s going to win the game by really digging in?
“Yes, it’s hot, it’s really, really hot, the hottest day I think for football for a long, long time, but we had three subs and we used them all and I don’t really think they influenced the game either.”
Folkestone Invicta created the first chance of the second half inside the opening five minutes, but Elliott’s left-footed free-kick from 30-yards bounced just past the right-hand post.
Cugley’s brief reply to that chance was, “Fairly close, not close enough!”
Stanford rode a challenge from Dorking Wanderers’ left-back Harry Shipton before feeding Rook, but he lashed his right-footed drive high and wide from the right corner of the penalty area.
Cugley made a double substitution on the hour-mark, bringing on Miller, who scored twice against Ramsgate in midweek, and attacking left-back Blanks.
He said: “We tried to liven things up, to bring energy on, but I don’t know on the day if that really worked if I’m being honest.
“I don’t think we had enough, I didn’t think we did enough to deserve a win, although we might have had more possession and better chances. I don’t think we really deserved to win the game because we didn’t do enough in the final third.”
Dolan allowed the ball to run across him, instead of popping off a shot and laid the ball off to Stanford, whose shot deflected past the post.
Blanks clipped the ball up to Miller, who cracked his right-footed shot on the turn over the crossbar from 30-yards after 64 minutes.
The home crowd were starting to moan and groan as their players in their fresh smart new amber and black striped shirts couldn’t find a way past Dorking Wanderers, who had shut up shop and parked the bus in front of goal.
Cugley said: “You’ve got to give them credit! Why shouldn’t they do that? They’ve come away from home against one of the teams that’s going to be in the play-offs, in the last four years. For them to get a draw, they’ll be delighted.
“It’s up for us to break them down, isn’t it? Whatever formation this team play, or whatever, it’s up to us to penetrate them.
“It’s just frustrating we didn’t get going as well as we should and how we know we can play.”
Dorking Wanderers’ substitute Tony Oakes tried to squeeze the ball through to Tolfrey, but Chappell slid in and made a well-timed tackle as the ball rolled behind for the away side’s only corner of the game in the 71st minute.
The Folkestone Invicta fans behind the goal at the Cricket Ground end of the pitch vocally got behind their side on a couple of occasions during the last ten minutes.
Blanks ran forward, cut inside and curled his left-footed shot around the far post from 25-yards, without troubling visiting keeper Ross.
Cugley admitted: “When it fell to him, he wasn’t in a position he was going to score anyway, so I didn’t get too excited about that!”
Friend scooped the home club’s man-of-the-match award and he made a penalty box block to deny Tolfrey scoring his seventh goal of the season after the lone striker cut into the box after Terry was released down the left wing.
Blanks whipped in a cross from the left which was hit on the half-volley by Dolan from 20-yards, which whistled just over the crossbar.
Dorking Wanderers - a physically strong outfit - almost snatched the winner inside the final four minutes.
Oakes played the ball inside to Terry, who cut inside and curled his right-footed shot high over Roberts’ left shoulder from 20-yards, but his shot went just over the top of the far post.
Cugley said of Terry, “He’s a good player, he’s lively and he’s played at a good standard and it showed today. He wasn’t a bad player. He was one of the better players.”
And as the game was heading towards a disappointing stalemate, Ross picked up a poor shot from Dolan from the inside the penalty area on the right-hand side.
Despite the disappointment, Folkestone Invicta remain in second place on 10 points from four games, but Corinthian-Casuals are top on goal-difference after leaders Herne Bay went down to a 2-1 home defeat to Chatham Town, who are now fourth on 9 points.
Cugley takes his side to third-placed Hastings United on Tuesday night.
Hastings beat Hythe Town 3-1 at The Pilot Field today to collect their ninth point of the season and to leave Tim Dixon’s side in the bottom three on one point.
Both Folkestone Invicta and Hastings United will be challenging for the title come the end of the season.
Cugley said: “It’s not the end of the world, but I think we should’ve done a bit more.
“I think these (Dorking Wanderers), won’t be far away and I think Hastings, Faversham and ourselves.
“I think it will be quite close and a good game. It will be a good game. I know the manager really well and the assistant manager well, good people and that will be a proper game.
“It will be two sides who will try and play, nice pitch, nice ground, so we’ll look forward to it.”
Folkestone Invicta then welcome surprise Southern Counties East Football League leaders Corinthian to Cheriton Road next Saturday.
Looking forward to The FA Cup Preliminary Round tie, Cugley said: “They’ve got nothing to lose have they, so they’ll come and enjoy it. We’ve just got to keep plugging along, keep doing the right things, it’s all we can do.
“If you get knocked out it does deflate the club for a little while and I always try to pull it up. It doesn’t matter how far you go in it, you can get deflated. With The FA Cup you have to be careful, obviously we want to get through a few rounds.”
When asked about taking charge of his 950th game today and potentially finishing the campaign around the 1,000 mark, Cugley said: “I’ve been more disappointed than that. I’ve lost 6-0 at Stafford and places like this, so yes, no, we’re still building a side together and I think we’ll get better as the season goes on, that’s what mostly happens here and I do think that will happen.
“That (1,000 games in charge) will be nice and it’s near the end and we get in the play-offs or get us up then I’ll be happy, but I don’t really look back. I’m not one of those people that look back anyway. I always look forward and I look forward to the next game, just keep it going.”
Folkestone Invicta: Tim Roberts, Josh Vincent, Chris Elliott (Nat Blanks 60), Liam Friend, Frankie Chappell, Matt Newman, Phil Starkey, Ronnie Dolan, Ian Draycott, Carl Rook (Ashley Miller 60), Josh Stanford (Jon Pilbeam 72).
Sub: Callum Wraight
Goal: Ian Draycott 18
Booked: Matt Newman 29, Carl Rook 32, Ashley Miller 90
Dorking Wanderers: Gary Ross, Jake Hill (Elliott Thompson 73), Harry Shipton, Ben Dyett, Chris Boulter, Tom Davis, Jerome Beckles, Daryl Coleman (Tony Oakes 64), Kevin Terry, Tom Tolfrey, Phil Page (James Duff 64).
Subs: Shaun Findlay, Tom Familton
Goal: Kevin Terry 40
Booked: Daryl Coleman 45, Elliott Thompson 90, Gary Ross 90
Referee: Mr Matt Goldsmith (Hastings, East Sussex)
Assistants: Mr Ivan Gelov (Canterbury) & Mr Jack Fagg (Sturry)