Soccer Shorts: Neil Cugley takes charge of Folkestone Invicta for the 900th time
APM CONTRAST manager Kris Browning says his new chairman wants him to be successful this term.
The club previously played at Bearsted’s Honey Lane ground for two seasons, but are now back to Cobdown, which is where Ebbsfleet United hold their morning training sessions.
Browning’s side are in sixth-place in the NRG Gym Kent County League Premier with eight points from five games and play fourth-placed Tudor Sports at home tomorrow.
“We are looking forward to our game tomorrow,” said Browning.
”Tudor have made a god start to their season and we have done ok but could have been better.
“It’s been great to return to our home at Cobdown but the last three games have felt like away games but we’ve got our first win in the Kent Cup at home and hope to build on that now.
“With a new chairman and new committee people joining the club I’ve been told I have to improve on last season’s position.
“In regard to going for promotion to the Kent Invicta League I’m not too sure. I have asked the chairman about that and all I’m told is that he is working on it and we are taking small steps forward.
“I’m starting my sixth season at APM and after getting them from a low league position in Division Two East to top three in the Premier last term, I feel we’ve got a great chance of achieving something this season.
“It’s a good club to be at, at the moment.”
BECKENHAM TOWN boss Jason Huntley says tomorrow’s FA Vase Second Qualifying Round tie against their Southern Counties East Football League rivals Corinthian is “the most important game so far this season.”
Huntley told www.beckenhamtownfc.co.uk: “In last season’s competition we were making really good progress; we had a couple of good wins at home against Haywards Heath and Westfield, then a tough match at Ascot United, which we won 1-0.
“In the third round we drew Ampthill Town – another really tough away match. We were doing really well until they sneaked a winner in injury time.
“It took us a bit of time to recover from the disappointment of that defeat.
“These Vase matches are so important for the club. Saturday’s home match against Corinthian is another tough game. They are a good side and we will need to be at our best to get a result.”
CRAY VALLEY manager Paul Gross says there are fine lines between his side winning and losing at the moment.
The Millers are in 12th place in the Southern Counties East Football League table with 12 points from 12 games.
Tomorrow they welcome Horley Town to Middle Park Avenue in The FA Vase Second Qualifying Round and Gross has spoken to Sevenoaks Town manager Micky Collins for some inside knowledge on the Surrey side.
Gross said: “Tough game. I spoke to Micky about them. They beat Sevenoaks previously so we’re expecting another big, big strong side to come and have a go at us really.
“The pride of the club, it’s always a big game for us in these big competitions. We haven’t been a senior club for that long really so we take pride in any of these FA competitions that we’re involved in.
“It’s another good day for the club, maybe put our name out there a bit more.
“I think anything we get out of these cup competitions at this stage of my managerial career is a bonus.”
Reflecting on his side’s start to the season, Gross admitted: “I need to get the league right first. I need to get some performances right and then we’ll worry about a trip to Wembley after that I think.
“I’ve probably lost at least 12 players as well in fairness at the start of the season.
“I’m adjusting to it. Fine lines. Last four games we’ve been beaten three of them 3-2, two of them with 90th minute goals.
“We’re not a million miles away, but we’re not there yet. We’ve got plenty to work on but I’d rather be where I am than losing 4-0 every week.
“At least I’ve got a platform to work with rather than having to start again from afresh.”
The Eltham-based club are sixteen points adrift of the league leaders and when asked about his first managerial role, Gross replied: “Still enjoying it! The day I don’t enjoy it, I will walk away. I’m that sort of person, but I’m still enjoying it.
“It’s frustrating at times. I now appreciate what others have been through. It can be frustrating.
“If I didn’t think we were not doing the right things or the boys were not with me then I wouldn’t carry on.”
DARTFORD boss Tony Burman says he is looking towards mid-table rather than being concerned that his side are two points above the Vanarama Conference relegation zone.
The Darts are in eighteenth-place in the table on thirteen points after showing resilience to come away from their Kent rivals Welling United with a 2-2 draw at Park View Road on Tuesday night.
Jamie Day’s side took the lead twice, through Harry Beautyman and Jamal Fyfield within the opening fourteen minutes, but first half goals from Peter Sweeney and inspirational skipper Elliot Bradbrook earned a share of the local bragging rights.
Burman said: “Fair play to them to come back twice away and score two goals away from home and not win the game, it’s a little bit disappointing.”
The Darts welcome thirteenth-placed Grimsby Town to Princes Park tomorrow, before travelling to sixth-placed Bristol Rovers next Tuesday.
“I think it’s where we want to be, that’s why we wanted to stay in this league,” said Burman ahead of their two fixtures against former Football League outfits.
“We’ve had some great battles with Grimsby over the last couple of years and then to go to Bristol Rovers is going to be another great experience like when we played Luton and when we played Cambridge United last year.
“You look forward to it but we still want to get something from the games.”
Burman wants to add a more positive approach to everybody going into tomorrow’s game against a Grimsby side that have collected six more points.
He said: “I feel I’m in a more positive mood now than what I’ve been for a long time simply because the players are reacting and slowly but surely I think they’re getting in to the routine.
“They know what’s wanted from them and they’re having a good go at making things right.
“You prepare for the game in the same way. You know that they’re full-time. Realistically we have to think that points against the full-time sides are all positive.
“I don’t think we’re that far off mid-table and above mid-table points wise and there’s a lot of full-time clubs there who should be more concerned than us.
“They’re only three or four, maybe five points, six points in front of us so let’s talk about being positive and saying we’re not far behind people above us, so let’s look about it that way.
“We can only try and do our best on the field. The fans have got their opinions but what they will do is if you get three points on Saturday and a point away from home on a Tuesday night – and if that continues more often than enough - they will get behind you.
“We’ve got to change the mentality a little bit and the attitude which has been with us for a while and we all accept responsibility for that and that’s what we’ve got to try and do.
“I feel that the players are doing their best and they’re a good group. My gut feeling is sending a good group together and I feel that they will do well baring injuries. I just feel they will get better and better.
“I want us to perform the way the fans want us. They’ve seen the work-rate and that’s what we’re about and they want to get behind us. At times this season we’ve been excellent, we’ve been really, really excellent. Make no mistake about that, we’ve been really good, but we haven’t got the results.”
DEAL TOWN manager Dave Johncock says he is delighted that his side have won their first league game of the season.
The club defeated Rochester United 1-0 in their last game but remain rooted to the foot of the Southern Counties East Football League table with one win and two draws from nine league outings.
“I’m pleased to have gained our first win and it shows the continual improvement we have made over the last five games,” said Johncock.
“The players deserved the three points. They have been working hard and need to continue to do so.
“We need to take the win into our next game against Canterbury. They will be a decent side who will work hard so we need to be up for the challenge.
“We’ve had a week off game wise but the players haven’t worked any less at training.”
Deal Town travel to tenth-placed Canterbury City tomorrow and the manager said: “We’re all looking forward to the game. We’re not feeling any pressure in having to win points as we know we are playing well and the points will keep coming in the end.
“We’ve only lost two in our last five and one of them was to an injury time penalty so we’re not in bard form to need to worry.”
DULWICH HAMLET boss Gavin Rose takes his side to Canvey Island tomorrow on the back of a 3-0 win over Bury Town at Champion Hill Stadium on Tuesday night.
The Hamlet are in fourth-place in the Ryman Premier League table with 27 points from fourteen games and travel to Essex to play eighth-placed Canvey.
“Our midweek victory over Bury was very satisfying as we played to a high standard with good approach play and impressive work-rate out of possession,” said Rose.
“We need to try and continue this vein of form over a sustained period now in the League.
Canvey Island go into the game having won 2-1 at Grays Athletic on Wednesday night.
“Canvey presents tough opposition on the weekend,” said Rose.
“They always work hard for each other and are well-organised, so we know we will have to really work hard to get something from the game.”
EBBSFLEET UNITED boss Steve Brown says confidence is high going into tomorrow’s trip to Farnborough.
The Fleet are in fifth-place in the Vanarama Conference South table with 16 points from nine games and will leapfrog over their Kent rivals Bromley in the table tomorrow should they remain unbeaten in Hampshire tomorrow.
Brown saw his side thrash Ryman League Division One South side Hythe Town 7-1 at Stonebridge Road in The FA Cup last weekend and can now look forward to a home tie against league rivals Basingstoke Town in the Third Qualifying Round next weekend.
“We’ve picked up good results recently and off the back of those results confidence is high,” said the former Charlton Athletic stalwart.
“The strikers are all pitching in with goals and we are tough to score against.
“Training has been its usual high standard and the players can’t wait to get to Saturday.”
Farnborough are in tenth-place in the table with 13 points from 10 games.
“Farnborough have always managed to score goals and are dangerous on the break and have the ability to get a result against any team, which they have proven this season,” warned the Fleet boss.
“The result during the week will have been a kick in the teeth and Spencer (Day) will expect a response from his players.
“What we must make sure is that we start well and snuff out what we are expecting to be a fiery response from his side.
“I have players returning from injury and the squad is starting to get back up the numbers you need to have competition for places and that in my view is a good thing.”
ERITH & BELVEDERE manager Matt Longhurst says the pressure is on Ashford United ahead of tomorrow’s top-of-the-table clash at Park View Road.
The Deres are top of the Southern Counties East Football League table with 28 points from 11 games, while Paul Chambers’ side have collected 26 points from a game more.
Reflecting on their 1-1 home draw against Croydon last weekend, Longhurst said: “Last week’s game was a tough one. We probably had enough of the ball and enough chances to win the game but in fairness Croydon were dangerous on the counter attack and gave us a difficult game.
“I felt we should have come away with all three points but it wasn't to be so we settled for a point.”
Ashford arrive in Welling unbeaten in the League this season and Longhurst said: “I think the pressure is on them this year to win the league with a manager who's been in charge over three years to build a team and they had a great season last year finishing second so they’ll be looking to better that.
“It’s a big club with great support and I fully expect them to be there or there abouts at the end of the season.
“We go into the game in good form and with plenty of confidence. There's no pressure on us at all building a whole new team this year so we go out and play without any fear of losing and I suppose that's what makes us dangerous to the opposition.
“The players are given freedom to express themselves and are accountable for their own success.
“They have been excellent in training this week and are all looking forward to another game at home on an excellent pitch against arguably the biggest club in the league.”
Longhurst has unveiled the arrival of midfielder Jamie Lawrence, who has decided to drop down a division.
“We have strengthened the squad this week by adding Jamie Lawrence from Chatham Town to add more bite to our midfield and he goes straight into the squad for tomorrow’s game.
“It’s going to be a tough game against a very organised and experienced team but one we’re all looking forward to.
“We’ll be setting up the same as always to go and win the game and at five o’clock on Saturday, we’ll see how far we’ve come in a short space of time.”
ERITH TOWN’s general manager Mark Tompkins has quit his role at the club.
He said: “I have left my role of general manager by mutual consent and will be applying for any vacant manager’s jobs that come available.”
FISHER joint-manager Billy Walton says his side have enough quality about them to avoid slipping up on a potential banana skin at Seaford Town tomorrow.
The Fish play a side that’s lost all of their eight league games and are sitting at the foot of the Sussex County League Division Two table.
Looking ahead to The FA Vase Second Qualifying Round trip, Walton said: “Potential banana skin but hopefully we’ll have a little bit too much for them.
“If we play like we did against Holmesdale and Beckenham and the games we’ve done well in, we should win the game.
“If we play like we did in the second half against Corinthian, we’ll get beat, so pretty straight forward.”
Fisher are in the bottom three in the Southern Counties East Football League table with two wins and two draws from ten league games.
“Speaking to Simon (Halsey), it’s where we’re at, at the moment,” admitted Walton.
“We’re either very good and compete with anyone or we’re absolutely dreadful and we get beat by anyone.
“We just have to be more consistent. We’re drumming it into people that we just have to be more consistent and carry on with all the good things that we do and don’t go back to the bad old days and the bad old ways.”
Winners of tomorrow’s FA Vase ties will bank £800 in prize money.
“It’s a good opportunity for us,” said Walton.
“No disrespect to Seaford or anyone else. It’s a good opportunity for us to go there and get a good result.
“If we play like we did at Selsey and against Woodstock in The FA Cup games we should win the game.
“It’s a potential banana skin but we’ve got to get the players in the right frame of mind. It’s all about us tomorrow. If we play well and have the right attitude we’ll win the game, that’s it, purely and simply.”
FOLKESTONE INVICTA manager Neil Cugley takes charge of his 900th game for the club when Carshalton Athletic visit Cheriton Road tomorrow.
Invicta are in eleventh-place in the Ryman League Division One South table with 19 points from 11 games and play a side immediately below them in the standings.
Chief executive Jim Pellatt paid tribute to Cugley, 58, when he posted a statement on www.folkestoneinvictafc.co.uk.
“This Saturday marks Neil Cugley’s 900th game in charge of Folkestone Invicta FC.
"And what shines through for me is how Neil is so much more than our first team manager and now director of football.
"To say he is Folkestone Invicta through and through is a massive understatement.
"Not only has he taken on the chin, past budget cuts and all the trials and tribulations of a difficult last few seasons, he has still conjured up a team which has repeatedly reached the play-offs and entertained us with the stylish football they have played.
"He is also a wonderful ambassador for our club, bringing in sponsorship, presenting our club in the best possible terms, meeting benefactors, all for the club's benefit and not his own.
"Thanks Neil and onward to the landmark 1,000 games. We are all counting them down now."
Mr Pellatt and other officials have been busy with ground-grading and FA compliance reports this week and may delay any major presentation to their long-serving manager until things are a little less hectic.
HOLMESDALE player-manager John-Paul Collier has been taking the plaudits this season on how his side have been playing eye-catching attractive football.
The Bromley based club are sitting in ninth-place in the Southern Counties East Football League table with 14 points from ten games.
Reflecting on their 3-0 win at Erith Town last weekend, the midfielder said: “It was a game that we dominated from start to finish and if I’m honest we should have scored more.
“We have had a really tough start to the season and when the fixtures came out I was pleased because I have every confidence in my players to deliver.
“Anyone can beat anyone in this league, as proven so far this season.
“We have to take every game as it comes. I don’t worry about what other teams are doing and who is paying what to what player, good luck to them. I couldn’t care less! My focus is my team and teams need to worry about us rather than the other way round.
“Over recent weeks we have been playing some really good football, but like I have always said this is not something that has happened over night. Myself and my management team have put a lot of time and effort into a philosophy and style of football over a three-year period with this team from back to front and ultimately the players deliver.
“I think the best team we have played all season is Beckenham. A game that had a bit of everything in but I just really enjoyed how both teams played. It was end to end and I think anyone watching it, got good value for money. I think they will do well this year and good luck to them.”
Holmesdale welcome Crowborough Athletic to Oakley Road tomorrow to contest a League Cup Preliminary Round tie.
“It’s the start of the League Cup campaign and a Cup I would like us to do well in,” said Collier.
“I would like us to go on a run this year and win a cup. We are not just in this to make the numbers up we want to win it. I have every faith that the squad can win some silverware this year.
“It’s ok me saying these things but the boys need to deliver and I expect them too. It has been a long time since Holmesdale won a trophy I want to change that.
“We have trained really well this week working on a game plan and all I ask the boys to do is stick to that.
“I take full responsibility of any result providing the boys execute what I am asking them to do. We have got a good buzz around the squad at the moment and everyone both on and off the pitch is pulling in the same direction.
“I think being a manger of a team has opened my eyes to how much work really goes into to a football club for it to function and I have a good team of people around me that I can trust and a great committee off field, that just allow me to get on with my job. I want to take this club forward on the field and give us an identity.”
PHOENIX SPORTS manager Steve O’Boyle says he wants to get through Lancing in The FA Vase tomorrow.
O’Boyle’s side are unbeaten in third-place after ten Southern Counties East Football League games and welcome a Lancing side that are in the bottom six in the Sussex County League.
Looking forward to the Second Qualifying Round tie at home, O’Boyle said: “It’s a very big game tomorrow for our club but I am confident of winning the game.
“We had a great start to the season and are still unbeaten, so getting through this tie will be fantastic.
“We welcome new signing Yacine Gnahore to our squad. He played against us when he was at Deal and was outstanding in both games. I’m delighted he has signed.
“I am really happy with our squad and we have really good competition for places.”
The Barnehurst-based club are four points behind leaders Erith & Belvedere after claiming a 4-0 win at Canterbury City.
“I was pleased with another clean sheet,” said O’Boyle.
“I thought we played really well and it was a good team performance. We were comfortable winners.”
SITTINGBOURNE manager Matt Wyatt aims to continue his side’s impressive start to the season when they travel to Walton & Hersham tomorrow.
The Brickies continue to defy all the odds as they sit in fourth-place in the Ryman League Division One South table with 23 points from 13 games – ten points adrift of unbeaten leaders Burgess Hill Town.
Wyatt works with a tiny budget at Sittingbourne and takes his side to thirteenth-placed Walton & Hersham tomorrow, on the back of a 3-0 home win over Whitstable Town in midweek.
He said: “It will be a very tough game against a very good Walton & Hersham side.
“We need to be on top of our game and in the Ryman South any one can beat anyone on the day.
“We must build on a very good performance and result and try to get our sixth win out of eight in the league, which is a great achievement from my squad.
“Hopefully we can get something from the game and cement our place in the play-offs.”
TONBRIDGE ANGELS boss Steve McKimm wants to end Hampton & Richmond’s rich rein of impressive form at Longmead Stadium tomorrow.
The Angels were dumped out of The FA Cup last weekend when they went down to a shock 2-1 win at Ryman League Division One South side Redhill.
McKimm’s side have slipped down to fifteenth-place in the Ryman Premier League table – five points clear of the relegation zone - after going down to a 2-1 defeat at East Thurrock United in midweek.
Defender Laurence Ball, who has signed from league rivals Leatherhead, marked his debut with a goal.
“I was pleased with the reaction of the players on Tuesday after our FA Cup defeat,” said McKimm.
“It was not the result we wanted but the effort was there for all to see.
“We need to sense danger before it arises to stop conceding silly goals.”
Hampton & Richmond Borough are now managed by former Kingstonian boss Alan Dowson, who has guided the club out of the relegation zone to one place above the Angels since taking over.
Sutton-resident McKimm said: “Hampton have won four out of five since Alan Dowson has taken over. It’ll be very tough and we have to start to put wins on the board as soon as possible.”
TUNBRIDGE WELLS chairman Clive Maynard has paid tribute to club captain Jason Bourne, who has broken the club’s appearance record of 411 appearances for the Culverden Stadium club.
“Jason has just achieved a fabulous landmark of becoming the player with the most appearances in a Tunbridge Wells shirt,” Mr Maynard told www.tunbridgewellsfc.co.uk.
“Any footballer needs to maintain a level of fitness to achieve this long levity of playing.
“Jason, I am sure will not mind me saying, is one of our senior players but this man is driven. It is nothing for Mr Bourne to play 90 minutes of football one day and then go off on a 10k run the next. He’s an example to us all.
“Being captain of Tunbridge Wells is time consuming, Jason works full time and has a young family but is this enough for Jason? Of course it isn't. Let's throw in some coaching at Tunbridge Wells Ridgewaye for good measure.
“Behind every good man there is, as they say, a good woman. Emma is supportive of everything Jason does and was even instrumental in persuading Jason to continue playing when he was thinking of hanging up his boots.
“Emma, everyone at Tunbridge Wells FC owes you a debt of gratitude for making Jason see sense!
“Jason has achieved so much in his career, lifting aloft our first trophy in 25 years must rank up there quite highly I would think but being a star of TV and radio ahead of Wembley and leading out the team on the hallowed turf must also rank highly. Many premiership captains never get that privilege!
“On behalf of the board and supporters of this great club, Jason, please accept our thanks for all that you have done for the club in the past and our encouragement for all that you will do in the future. You are quite simply a legend.”
WOODSTOCK SPORTS’ assistant manager Chris Cooper admits to feeling frustrated after going down to a 4-2 defeat at Crowborough Athletic last weekend.
He said: “We have to say we were frustrated. It was a good opportunity for us to pick up back to back wins which we missed.
“The injuries and players missing did impact us. We showed character and despite the result there were some positives to take away.
“The mood around the team is very upbeat. We have some exciting young players in and around the team who are really improving this year and getting better in every game.
“This time last year we were having a hard time of it but overall things have improved massively and we want to keep improving.”
Woodstock sit in fifteenth-place in the Southern Counties East Football League table and travel to play Croydon tomorrow, who held league leaders Erith & Belvedere to a 1-1 draw last weekend.
“The game against Croydon will be another stern test for us,” said Cooper.
“We do still have injuries but most teams do at this time of the season. That being said we have a stronger squad than last weekend and with players coming back we know we will give a good account of ourselves.
“It is always a tough place to play, from what we hear, they play football the right way and attack with pace and power but we will look to build on what we have already have achieved and come away with something.”