Neil Cugley proud of his Folkestone Invicta players after their FA Cup defeat to Ebbsfleet United, whose manager Steve Brown was relieved to win
Neil Cugley (Pic: Andy Payton)
Neil Cugley was the more upbeat manager at full-time on Saturday despite his Folkestone side exiting the FA Cup after a 1-0 defeat to Ebbsfleet
A sixth-minute goal from Daryl McMahon settled the second qualifying round tie at Stonebridge Road but Invicta emerged with huge credit for their battling display.
There was little evidence of the 52 league places which had separated the Kent clubs at kick-off and Cugley was rightly proud of his players' efforts.
He said: "Ebbsfleet were the better side in the first half, so much physically stronger than us. That showed on the set pieces and it caused us a problem. It was a real poor defensive goal for us to give away.
"But as the game went on, I thought we were outstanding. At the end, we were putting four up front and trying to take the game to them.
"In the second half, we were the better side, and I thought we deserved a draw."
Folkestone came within centimetres of levelling the tie when Dane Luchford's strike hit the inside of the post with Fleet keeper Preston Edwards beaten.
"There were three or four times when we got in behind them," Cugley said.
"If that had gone in, it would have put a lot of pressure on them and then the pressure would have built.
"The fans would have started moaning a bit more and who knows then?"
His opposite number, Ebbsfleet boss Steve Brown, was simply relieved to be in the hat for Monday's third qualifying round draw.
He said: "A win’s a win. It was a potential banana-skin, so my glass is half-full.
"I thought we were good value for the lead and we should have been two or three up. In the second half, we got a little bit flat and we allowed Folkestone to control parts of the game.
"It was a case of seeing out the game. When you don’t perform well and you manage to win, it’s always a nice feeling."
McMahon's winning goal was a free-kick from wide on the right which curled all the way in and Brown admitted he was as surprised as anybody to see the ball hit the back of the net.
He said: "I thought the 4 (Liam Friend) had it. He ducked and left it, I think he thought the keeper might have it and it just went straight through.
"But we'll take any goal because we're finding it difficult to score at the moment.
Brown disagreed with Cugley's assessment that justice had not been done.
"We created a lot of chances," he said. "They might have scraped a post in the second half but I think it would have been unjust over the 90 minutes for them to have got a result."
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