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Folkestone Invicta boss Neil Cugley hails level of competition across Bostik Premier Division

ByCameron Hogwood

Neil Cugley believes Folkestone Invicta's hard-fought victory over Bognor served as further testament of the competitiveness in the Bostik Premier.

A second-half goal from Ira Jackson split the sides in what shaped up to be an unrelenting attacking contest on the final day of the season.

The hosts carved multiple opportunities to put the game out of reach after the break, only to be denied by a string of fine saves and last-ditch blocks.

Folkestone manager Neil Cugley. Picture: Matt Bristow
Folkestone manager Neil Cugley. Picture: Matt Bristow

Match report: How Folkestone's win over Bognor Regis unfolded

Cugley said: "I was really pleased, I thought it was a good game, to be fair to Bognor they always play football the right way so it was always end to end.

"As the game went on I thought we should have got a couple more goals in the end but they defended brilliantly and the goalkeeper played well, he kept them in it a little bit but in general I was pleased.

"I've said it long enough, I think it's quite a good league. Every game is difficult, there are going to be patches in games where teams get on top.

"Especially today (Saturday) with the way they play and the players they've got. I think as the game went on we got better and better, we really went at them in the last 20 or 25 minutes and deserved to win the game."

While focusing on their own job at hand, Folkestone knew they were reliant on results elsewhere in the league going their way if they were to claim a play-off spot.

It wasn't to be, however, as Carshalton beat Bishop's Stortford 2-1 and Merstham crept into the top five with a 4-2 win away to Worthing, leaving Invicta to finish in sixth and one point adrift of the cut-off line.

Cugley added: "We just knew we had to win. We wanted to finish the season on a high, we were obviously waiting on the Bishop's Stortford result. If there had been another goal there we'd have needed to win 2-0, we're fairly gung-ho anyway but that's why we went for it a bit more.

"I think we'd be disappointed being sat here had we needed that extra goal because they were clearing things off the line, their goalkeeper was making some great saves so it would have been frustrating looking back.

"It's a difficult league, there are some good sides in it. You have to be ready for it, if you're not you'll get found out.

"All credit to my players, they've been brilliant over the last few weeks and got us very very close to the play-offs."

Read more: All the latest Kent sport news

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