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Folkestone Invicta captain Liam Friend admits their performance was "rubbish" in the play-off final against Merstham

Liam Friend contemplates Folkestone's defeat in the play-off final Picture: Gary Browne
Liam Friend contemplates Folkestone's defeat in the play-off final Picture: Gary Browne

Folkestone Invicta's performance in the Ryman League Division 1 South play-off final was rubbish.

That was the stark assessment offered up by captain Liam Friend shortly after his side had lost 3-0 to Merstham at the Fullicks Stadium on Saturday.

Friend had been desperate to banish the painful memories of watching Leatherhead celebrate promotion on the same ground 12 months earlier but instead, the defender had to go through it all again as Merstham skipper Fabio Saraiva lifted the trophy in front of him.

"It was about a hundred times worse (this time)," Friend admitted. "I don’t know why – it’s the same thing, the same result for us at the end of it – but last year, on penalties, it was the flip of a coin and we played well.

"If we’re being brutally honest, we were rubbish today. I wasn’t particularly good and I know other people in the team aren’t particularly pleased with their performances.

"Credit to Merstham, they won the game 3-0 but I don’t think they’ll be that pleased with their performance. I’ve played against them in the past and they showed a lot more than they showed today.

"They’ll be delighted because they’re in the Ryman Prem next year but we’re really disappointed with ourselves and with the result. Two years on the trot is hard to take."

Folkestone were 2-0 down at half-time after missing a host of good chances and when they conceded again six minutes after the interval, there was no way back.

Friend said: "We’re usually so good when it comes to these sort of occasions. This is when we up our game. When it matters, usually that’s when we’re at our best.

"Edgy (Roland Edge) said before the game that if seven or eight of us win our battles we’ll win the game – and I don’t think we won seven or eight like Edgy asked us to.

"We know that, we’re disappointed for him and we’re disappointed for Cugs (Neil Cugley) because we haven’t done what they asked.

"It’s not a case of ‘he did this, he did that, he didn’t do this, he didn’t do that’ - as a team, we’re all looking at each other as if to say ‘what’s happened?’"

Full play-off coverage in Wednesday's Folkestone & Hythe Express.

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