Published: 06:00, 08 January 2020
Micheal Everitt hopes Folkestone Invicta’s players are beginning to embrace the challenge of being top of Isthmian Premier.
Invicta’s goalless draw at Brightlingsea on Saturday kept them ahead of Worthing on goal difference and moved them five points clear of Horsham, beaten 2-1 at Hornchurch.
Not many would have had Invicta down as potential champions back in August, but player-coach Everitt reckons the squad are now starting to come to terms with the pressure being leaders brings.
Manager Neil Cugley had suggested that was not necessarily the case earlier in the season but Everitt, 37, said: “Things are going well and we’re all really enjoying it.
“We’ve been at or near the top for a little while now and while that brings its own challenges I think we need to embrace it.
“I don’t think there are any easy matches in this division, so you always need to be on your game, and when you’re top you tend to play the best version of the other teams because people have that extra incentive, of wanting to beat you.
“I’m not sure I’ve been part of a better footballing side (at Invicta) and I think that’s down to how Neil sets us up to play.
“He encourages the front players to play with freedom which is why forwards like coming here. We’ve played some really nice football, and scored some great goals.”
The stalemate at Brightlingsea – coming on the back of successive 4-0 wins – made it three games without conceding for Invicta but they will now lose defender Alfie Paxman for three games after he was sent off for a tackle.
Everitt – himself one of seven Invicta men booked by referee Oliver Morris-Sanders –felt the decision to dismiss the full-back was harsh.
He added: “I’ve no complaints about my booking, it was totally deserved but I felt really sorry for Alfie. He’s been playing well and there was no way it was a red card.
“I don’t think the referee’s performance impacted on the result but we pride ourselves on our discipline.
“We’re normally near the top of the fair play table and me and (assistant manager) Roland Edge were saying after the game that we probably had as many cards in this game as we would normally do in a month.”
Invicta resume their league programme at home to Haringey on Saturday and are back at the BuildKent Stadium on Tuesday when they host Bognor Regis in the Velocity Trophy.
Sam Hasler (ankle) and Matt Newman (groin) will both be assessed before the weekend, while Nat Blanks looks set to deputise for Paxman.
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More by this authorMark Stokes