Folkestone Invicta 3-1 Worthing - Johan Ter Horst should be at a Football League club, says Cugley

Saturday 08th February 2014

Ryman League Division One South
Saturday 8th February 2014
Stephen McCartney reports from Cheriton Road

FOLKESTONE INVICTA manager Neil Cugley says he wants his side to secure a play-off place at the end of the season.

Invicta climbed into fourth-place in the Ryman League Division One South table with 53 points from 29 games after inflicting Worthing’s eleventh league defeat on the road.

Eleventh-placed Worthing should have been leading at the break but they were thwarted on each occasion by Folkestone Invicta goalkeeper Tim Roberts.

But Folkestone Invicta turned the game around during the second half and Nat Blanks powered home a header and striker Johan Ter Horst, 18, lashed home to give Cugley’s side a 2-0 lead.

Worthing skipper, Mark Knee, converted a penalty to bring his team-mates back into the game, before Ter Horst slotted home his seventeenth goal of the season to seal three points for the Kent side.

Worthing played the final ten minutes with ten-men after central defender Connor Cody went for a professional foul.

“I thought we defended really well first half – against the wind – it was really strong,” said Cugley, who conducts post-match interviews inside his office.

“Second half, we got the goal and we did the job.

“To be fair to Worthing I thought they were a really good footballing side, a really good footballing side, so it made for a good game. It was end-to-end. It feels better when you win.”

It was confirmed last night that this is the wettest winter in 250 years and this was one of only six games played in the entire Ryman League today.

Cugley confirmed that the club did not need a pitch inspection ahead of their tenth home league win of the season and was full of praise for groundsman Gary Towse.

He said: “He does well. He looks after it during the week and makes it easier so when it does rain heavily the day before we seem to (get games played).

“I came over at eight o’clock to see if it would be on.  There was no water on it and we didn’t even bother having a pitch inspection.  There was just no need. It was always playable.

“He’s done a great job, he’s a good lad, Gary Towse, good man.”

Worthing took advantage of the windy conditions at Cheriton Road and they should have taken the lead on more than one occasion during a dominant first half.

Rebels’ attackers Omar Bugiel and Will Berry were causing Folkestone Invicta all sorts of problems and Worthing created the first chance inside seven minutes.

German Bugiel played the ball inside from the right channel to Lee Carey, whose cross was cleared out to Brannon O’Neill who was given time and space to stroke a right-footed drive from 25-yards, which forced Roberts to dive to his right to parry.

Gary Gaskin, who played on the left side of midfield, hit a speculative first time shot from 25-yards, which rolled into Roberts’ gloves.

Worthing squandered another decent chance to take a deserved lead.

They linked up well again when right-back Will Hendon played the ball inside to Carey, who slipped the ball through Bugiel’s legs for Jacob Peake to burst into the area to scuff his left-footed shot into Roberts’ grateful hands from ten-yards.

Worthing’s set-piece specialist Carey stepped up to send a right-footed free-kick sailing over the crossbar from 30-yards, before Roberts made another smart block to keep the home side in the game.

Berry was played in behind the Folkestone defence by a precise pass by Bugiel and his right-footed dinked shot was blocked by the legs of the advancing Roberts.

Cugley was full of praise for the keeper, who was playing his 27th game for the club.

“They played some good stuff and I thought the two guys up front were good,” said Cugley.

“Tim Roberts did well. His handling was superb because there were some awkward saves so that was good.  To come in with a clean sheet first half was a big plus for us.”

Folkestone Invicta’s first chance of the game arrived in the 20th minute when Dane Luchford progressed down the left and floated over a cross which came out to Micheal Everitt, who brought the ball under control before blasting over.

Worthing created another good chance when a mistake from Josh Vincent allowed Peake to regain possession before cutting the ball back for Bugiel to be denied by a low save to his right by Roberts.

But despite being outplayed, Folkestone Invicta should have grabbed a 27th minute lead.

Ter Horst burst into the penalty area down the left and cut the ball back to Paul Booth, who slid his first time shot across visiting keeper Jack Fagan and past the far post from ten-yards.

Cugley said: “He’ll be disappointed but again I thought Boothy was excellent! Just his experience in those conditions was brilliant really.  We could have gone 1-0 up – but they could have as well!”

Gaskin then stroked another first time shot towards goal, which once again lacked power and Roberts gathered the ball.

O’Neill then steered an angled left-footed shot from a tight angle which was saved by Roberts at his near post.

Referee Ian Bentley suffered an injury on the stroke of half-time.  Senior assistant referee Freddie Collins took to the middle for the second half and Deal-based Nick Dunn – who was watching from the terraces after his Conference South game between Farnborough and Bishop’s Stortford was postponed – grabbed his kit from his car and took the flag for the second half.

Wind-assisted Folkestone, however, played a lot better after the interval.

Cugley said: “The wind won’t win you the game but it can help you win the game with the sense if you get the right balls in and use it in the right places, it  was important we just didn’t smash it down the middle.

“I thought we played some great balls into the forwards. We’ve got three good forwards and like today although I thought Dane (Luchford) was a bit quiet, but the other day Boothy was a bit quiet so it doesn’t matter because you’ve got two of the three who always seem to be on-song.”

Chris Elliott swung in a free-kick towards the far post and Booth’s towering header was split by visiting keeper Fagan inside the opening two minutes.

Luchford then played a short corner to Ter Horst and Elliott whipped in a cross towards the far post and Matt Newman’s header was caught by Fagan at his near post.

But Folkestone Invicta broke the deadlock in the 55th minute, through Blanks’ third goal in 64 appearances for the club.

Luchford whipped in a brilliant free-kick from the left-flank to the unmarked Blanks who guided his powerful header into the top left hand corner from 12-yards.

“It was a great ball,” said Cugley.

“In those conditions a whipped in ball like that Blanks has only (got to guide it in).

“It was a good header, you’ve got to get your head on it and it just flies in so it was a really good goal.”

Folkestone Invicta came agonisingly close to doubling their lead on the hour-mark.

Elliott hurled in a throw into the penalty area which was headed on by Newman  at the near post and Luchford flicked the ball up before sending his overhead kick bouncing just wide of the far post from six-yards.

But Worthing should have equalised 66 seconds later when Carey whipped in a free-kick from the left and Bugiel planted his header straight at Roberts from six-yards.

Cugley admitted Bugiel should have capped an impressive performance with a goal.

He said: “Another day, maybe. During the week I think they scored three goals off set-pieces so we did say to the players they’re quite strong on it.”

That miss proved costly for the Rebels because Folkestone Invicta doubled their lead in the 63rd minute.

Roberts launched a big clearance down the heart of the pitch and the ball found its way to Booth, who played an intelligent pass out to Ter Horst who lashed his first time right-footed shot past the stranded Fagan from 12-yards.

Cugley was full of praise for Booth, 37.

He said: “Intelligent is dead right.  It’s intelligent play by Boothy, he’s just held it for long enough and just laid it to Johan, who I thought was absolutely outstanding.

“Johan, an eighteen-year-old, I thought it was just a great finish. He gets a lot of power for a young man.”

Hendon cut in towards the edge of the Folkestone Invicta penalty area before curling his left-footed shot over the crossbar from 20-yards.

But Cugley admitted he felt angry when central defender Phil Stevenson gifted Worthing a 70th minute penalty for bringing down the impressive Bugiel.

Left-back Knee sent Roberts the wrong way, steering his left-footed penalty into the bottom right-hand corner to bring Worthing back into the game.

“Very disappointed and angry really because he’s done it a few times now giving away unnecessary penalties,” bemoaned Cugley.

“I think it’s the third one against us and it’s cost him really because sometimes that’s why he doesn’t get picked because it’s just unnecessary to make the challenge then, which is a shame because he’s played well but to do that you can’t be doing it.”

When asked whether he thought Worthing would get a point that their first half performance deserved, Cugley replied: “I thought we would have another goal in us. I did think we had another goal in us, but when it was 2-0 I did think the game was nearly over.  I was really annoyed with that (penalty).

Stevenson almost made amends when he crossed from the right and Booth cracked a shot on the turn which forced Fagan to dive to his left to parry.

Folkestone Invicta went route-one again to win the game with eleven minutes remaining.

Roberts’ kick sailed over the flat-footed Worthing defence and Ter Horst latched onto the ball.  His initial shot was blocked by the advancing keeper, but Ter Horst kept his composure to volley a low shot past two defenders trying to get back, into the bottom near corner.

A delighted Cugley said: “The keeper made the save and it’s come back and he’s put it away.

“I think the lad was superb today in those conditions. He’s not the biggest of lads, he’s only eighteen and I thought his running off the ball and his play was excellent really.

“We’re very lucky to have him and pleased that he got his two goals.

“He’s a great lad, a good player. I’m amazed that he’s still at Folkestone, absolutely amazed.”

When asked whether he’s received any knocks on the door (offers) for the hot prospect, Cugley replied; “Not really! I make sure I’m not in! I just think he should be at a Football League club.  If they don’t want him, we’ll have him, so we’re not worried.

“I just think he’ll (benefit) being in training every day, he’ll get stronger and fitter. I just think he’s really, really good.”

Worthing’s away-day woes continued when they played the final ten minutes with ten-men after a professional foul on Booth.

Cody – who was earlier booked – was shown a red-card by stand-in referee Mr Collins, after checking with Mr Dunn whether the moment of impact was outside the box.

Cugley added: “Boothy’s done well, his experience shows. He got in front of the bloke and he struggled to catch him up and brought him down. Again clever player, clever man.”

Elliott stepped up and sent the resulting left-footed free-kick over the bar from 22-yards, before Cugley used his three substitutes late on to eat up time.

Folkestone Invicta are now in fourth-place in the table, leapfrogging over Hastings United, who come to Cheriton Road on Tuesday night.

Cugley wants his side to perform better after losing 3-0 in Hastings last October.

“We didn’t play very well down there earlier in the year but we weren’t very good,” admitted Cugley.

“We have improved. We’ve changed the side. We’ve got going again. Hopefully we can give a good presentation of how much we’ve improved since we’ve played down there.

Peacehaven & Telscombe lead the table with 63 points from 27 games and the four play-off places are presently filled by Leatherhead (58/28), Guernsey (56/31), Folkestone Invicta (53/28) and Hastings United (52/26).

Cugley’s side were in third-place at the final whistle but Guernsey defeated Eastbourne Town 4-2 in the Channel Islands on Saturday night.

Cugley said: “Beginning of the year we were third-from-bottom!

“The players have been great. There’s been a lot of changing around and players coming and going earlier on in the year and we’re settled now. We’ve got a nice, little squad here, really nice. It’s not a bad little squad we’ve got. I’m pleased. I’m really enjoying it now and we’ve got to kick on.

“We’ve always said if we can get into the play-offs again, yet again, it will be great.  That was out aim. It always have been at the start of the season. Let’s get into the play-offs first and worry about where we finish later on!”

Folkestone Invicta grabbed fifth-place last season and their promotion hopes were ended by Maidstone United in the semi-finals of the play-offs.

Folkestone Invicta:  Tim Roberts, Josh Vincent, Chris Elliott, Liam Friend, Phil Stevenson, Matt Newman, Dane Luchford (Connor Coyne 88), Nat Blanks, Johan Ter Horst, Paul Booth (Michael Yianni 86), Micheal Everitt (Simon Austin 89).

Goals: Nat Blanks 55, Johan Ter Horst 63, 78

Booked: Josh Vincent 61

Worthing: Jack Fagan, Will Hendon, Mark Knee, Lee Carey, Connor Cody, Stacey Freeman, Jacob Peake (George Hayward 82), Brannon O’Neill, George Gaskin, Will Berry, Omar Bugiel.
Sub: Harry Williams

Goal: Mark Knee 70 (penalty)

Booked: Connor Cody 19, George Gaskin 41, Omar Bugiel 73, Brannon O’Neill 85

Sent Off: Connor Cody 80

Attendance: 274
Referee: Mr Ian Bentley (West Wickham)
Assistants: Mr Freddie Collins (Beckenham) & Mr Gerry Heron (Beckenham)
Replacement Assistant: Mr Nick Dunn (Deal)