Boss Neil Cugley even admits he’s not sure he saw anything like Folkestone’s remarkable comeback in their fourth FA Cup qualifying replay against Eastleigh on Tuesday night.
Folkestone faced him after 58 minutes, trailing 2-0 to their top-level opponents and 10 men after defender Josh Vincent was sent off.
But the efforts of forward Ade Yusuff and midfielder Scott Heard in the second half led to extra time.
On their feet against Eastleigh, the full-time National League side, Folkestone’s heroic defense almost saw them lead the game to a penalty shoot-out, only for Ben House to score the all-important fifth goal six minutes away. the death.
But Cugley said he was proud of the way Folkestone played at Fullicks Stadium in front of an outstanding crowd of 1,237, their best appearance for a competitive game in five years.
He said: “I’m really a little choked. I am so happy with the players.
“As they did on Saturday (when the teams drew 3 to 3), they all played well.
“When you get a lot of people for a big game, you hope the players react and do well. They can all walk away and be really proud of what they have accomplished.
“It’s amazing to come back from 2-0 with 10 men. It’s a shame the winning goal was a bit messy, but in general I thought everyone was brilliant.
“It was a brilliant effort, I’ve never experienced anything like it!
“I thought some of the football we played was also very good.
“You wouldn’t really have noticed that we had 10 men.
“They’re full-time, but some of our football was really good.”
Eastleigh’s goals Tom Whelan and Jake Hesketh saw them take control before Folkestone retaliated.
But the Spitfires regained the lead in overtime when House skillfully flew into the lower corner.
Folkestone’s retaliation came after fourth official Peter Conn, who replaced referee Robert Whitton in the first half, sacked Vincent as he landed a second reservation in moments.
During the eviction, Cugley said: “It’s the modern way, isn’t it? They (the referees) are very quick to fire people.
“I just think it’s a bit of a shame. It ruins everything for the fans, really.
“It’s not just when it happens to my players. When other people get kicked out, I just think we’re a little too quick to kick people out now. “
It was Folkestone’s biggest crowd for a competitive game since a 6-0 win over Walton & Hersham in 2016.
They return to the Isthmian Premier action this Saturday when they host the Kingstonian.
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