Written by: Leigh @beakster99
We host Folkestone Invicta in the final game of the season. With victory obtained over Harlow Town FC on Tuesday night, BTFC have already secured the title and promotion to the National South League next season. A win would, however, allow the Blues to sign off with a victory and exceed the 100 point mark. Invicta’s need for points to nail down home advantage in the play-off semi-final should ensure a competitive afternoon.
Folkestone Invicta come to Essex in mixed form, with two wins and two draws in the last six, but have a confirmed play-off position. Performance levels remain high and, this week, the team finished runners-up in the Kent Senior Cup Final to National League side, Maidstone United. In a tight game, FIFC, made the Stones fight for the silverware, only succumbing on penalties after a hard-fought goal-less draw. With the second highest total of goals (102) scored in the Bostik Premier this season, scoreless games are a rarity for Invicta. With FIFC’s commitment to entertaining football, and BTFC’s powerful front-line, we expect plenty of goals in the game today.
It wouldn’t be right to do a preview on Folkestone Invicta without an acknowledgement to manager, Neil Cugley. With Arsene Wenger soon to depart Arsenal, Cugley’s 21 years at FIFC now make him the longest serving manager in the top seven tiers of English football. He takes charge of his 801st FIFC league game at the AGP on Saturday. All combined, since 1997, Neil has clocked up over 1,000 matches in charge of his home-town club, taking the club from the Kent League to the Ryman South title in 2015/16, and onto the play-offs this year. With Folkestone Invicta proving to be something of a “surprise package” in the league, after narrowly avoiding relegation last year, it is clear that Neil is still operating at the top of his game and winning admirers with his own brand of attacking football. With the raft of new contracts signed by established players recently, Folkestone Invicta look to be capable of building on recent success.
In terms of FIFC dangermen, we look no further than the potent forward line. With a playing style firmly footed on the front foot, the attacking trident of Ade Yusuff (30 league goals), Ian Draycott (16), and, Johan Ter Horst (12) employed in FIFC’s usual 4-3-3 system is a threat to any defence. Whilst Yusuff rightly earns plaudits for his phenomenal goal record – and his speed, athleticism and work-rate are impressive – the more experienced Draycott is an excellent finisher, with 122 goals for the club. Playing a little deeper to accommodate the team formation, Draycott’s intelligent movement, ability to link play, and arrive late in dangerous areas are key threats. Left-sided forward, Ter Horst, is very pacy, breaks quickly with the ball, and (as we know) can finish.
Even with the title secure, we expect BTFC to employ the usual first X1 personnel to man a 3-5-2 system, which should pose problems for FIFC’s attack-minded line-up. With a party atmosphere expected on Saturday, and a treble to be presented, we would urge everybody to get down to the AGP to enjoy the last day of the season.
FORM Last Six League Matches
BTFC: W, W, W, W, D, D
FIFC: L, W, L, D, W, D