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Folkestone Invicta boss Neil Cugley praises club's fans after bumper crowd of 1,019 watch them reach Kent Senior Cup final

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Neil Cugley has praised Folkestone’s fans after a bumper crowd watched them book their place in the Kent Senior Cup final.

Goals from strike duo Ade Yusuff and Dave Smith - his 34th of the campaign - saw Invicta cap a remarkable season with a 2-0 victory against rivals Hythe, with a crowd of 1,019 watching the semi-final last Wednesday at Reachfields, boosted by a health away following.

Folkestone Invicta boss Neil Cugley. Picture: Andy Jones
Folkestone Invicta boss Neil Cugley. Picture: Andy Jones

“The pitch was difficult, as they are at this time of year, but we scored two good goals and we did all right,” said manager Cugley, whose side finished just outside the Isthmian Premier play-offs in sixth and enjoyed a degree of success in virtually every cup competition.

“It’s always nice to win your last game - no matter who it’s against or what competition it’s in.

"It sticks in some peoples’ memories and to have so many people down there was really amazing.

“That goes back into what’s been achieved over the past 16 months or so with how many fans we now take everywhere and how many fans come to our [home] games.

“I think it was an enjoyable game - two good goals, people went away happy, and I’ve got to say that I thought Hythe did all right as well.

David Smith and Ade Yusuff both scored for Folkestone in their Kent Senior Cup semi-final win at Hythe. Picture: Randolph File
David Smith and Ade Yusuff both scored for Folkestone in their Kent Senior Cup semi-final win at Hythe. Picture: Randolph File

“So everybody benefited from the game.”

Invicta will meet holders Dartford in the final but that showdown has been held over until next season.

The Darts still have one league game and play-off matches to play to conclude their season in National League South while Invicta’s league programme ended on April 23.

Cugley said: “To be fair to Dartford, they’ve not finished yet and they’ll be in the play-offs as well.

“It’ll be nice to have a similar side [when the final is played] to what we finished the season with, but we will have to wait and see.”

Folkestone’s manager also welcomed the news of another Kent side joining them in Isthmian Premier, with Herne Bay having won their Isthmian South East play-off final on Saturday at Ashford.

“That’s good. That’s what we wanted [another Kent derby],” he admitted.

“Cray stayed up which is good and Margate always are a good team.

“So we will have at least a couple more local games, which is good.”

But for now, Cugley is looking forward to an overdue break.

The long-serving boss said: “Even I have never known a season quite as long as this!

“It wasn’t just that. It was all the work we were doing at the ground before that.

“It has been a manic and strange time but with the work we have done around the ground, with the new floodlights and things like that, it’s been a tremendous 16 months for the club.”

Businessman Muj Gunes, of the Aspendos restaurant chain, has joined the club as an associate director.

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