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Folkestone Invicta manager Neil Cugley gets the big call right in sparkling win over Worthing

Manager Neil Cugley could hardly have been happier with Folkestone’s win over Worthing.

Invicta came from a goal down to beat the Isthmian Premier title favourites 3-1 at Cheriton Road on Saturday.

Folkestone manager Neil Cugley Picture: Barry Goodwin
Folkestone manager Neil Cugley Picture: Barry Goodwin

The standard of the football on show, a bumper crowd of 836 and the vindication of his decision to play two-goal Ian Draycott over highly-rated Tyler Sterling made it a day of positives for the Invicta boss.

“We were really good - we deserved to win,” said Cugley.

“Worthing play football the right way, it was a high-quality game. I’m delighted to start with a win and it’s always nice when the opposition manager says you deserved it.”

Both sides missed penalties with the game goalless - Invicta striker David Smith denied by Harrison Male in the first half before Tim Roberts kept out Ollie Pearce’s spot-kick straight after the restart.

Pearce’s 52nd-minute free-kick put Worthing in front but Draycott finished a Ronnie Dolan corner four minutes later and met Jordan Wright’s pass for a 2-1 lead on 68 minutes.

Smith completed the scoring three minutes later after running on to Ade Yusuff’s ball.

Draycott is closing in on Jimmy Dryden’s scoring record following his double.

“Someone said he’s one behind now,” said Cugley.

“I had a choice between him and Tyler Sterling but I just felt on the day that Draycs’ experience could be important because Worthing are a team who can pull you apart a little bit.

“Some you get right, some you get wrong, but this one proved right. To be fair, it was one of those days when most things worked.

“I’m pleased for Draycs. He could have left but he’s stayed loyal.”

The size of the crowd surprised even Cugley and he’s hopeful they will be back for more.

He said: “We were hoping for 6-700 so to get 836 was tremendous.

“Some people aren’t comfortable yet to go up to London to watch Premier League games, the breakaway talk has given some of these clubs a bad name and I think other people are fed up with all the money and greed at that level.

“It was a quality game, so I hope they come back.”

Midfielder Scott Heard is in line to return from a knee injury away to Corinthian Casuals on Saturday and Aaron Simpson could be back the following week as he shakes off the effects of long Covid.

“It will be great to have Heardy back on Saturday,” said Cugley. “If he doesn’t start he’ll definitely be on the bench.

“It’s a tight pitch up there and you have to show the other side of your game - digging in and doing the right things.

“We’ve haven’t had this many players before. A couple I thought might leave didn’t and a couple came back and, all of a sudden, we’ve got 17 good players.

“The weird thing is we haven’t got any midweek games at the start of the season. They normally pile them in.”

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