On a cold a blustery night in Eltham, the game started at a frenetic pace, with Margate having the slope to their advantage. However, the visitors struggled to get their usual control of the game in the early stages, with the home side's direct and physical nature proving a difficult obstacle. It took until the 17th minute for the first shot of the game when The Blues forced a corner, the ball falling awkwardly to Jack Bray who managed to hook the ball goalwards, but over the bar.
Margate were starting to use the slope to their advantage, and when Henry Ikeije was allowed to run at the defence, he was denied by two last ditch blocks from the Greenwich defence - the second leading to the corner from which the deadlock was broken. The right sided kick was played short to Jack Fenton, who whipped an inviting cross into the danger area - and Bray needed no encouragement to power a trademark header into the net.
The home side were on the attack a few minutes later - good link up play down the right hand side had The Gate defenders chasing shadows before a deep cross was headed over from close range. It was Margate's turn to attack on the half hour mark - the danger looked to have been snuffed out by the home defence but the ball fell kindly for Ziyad Ghali 10 yards out and he should have done better with his snapshot down the throat of the goalkeeper who caught it well.
A quick Greenwich breakaway followed, and there looked to be a real danger until the impressive Jardell Conteh arrived from nowhere to slide in and knock the ball away for a corner. Only the players will know if the wind was responsible for the poor delivery evident throughout the game, but no sooner had Borough spurned their opportunity, than Margate had again done the same a minute later. Margate should have doubled the lead after the ball was played back into the box after the corner was cleared, but after a melee in the 6 yard box, only Ikeije will know how the ball failed to end up in the net.
Ikeije, however, did extend his side's lead in the 41st minute. Good football in the build up led to Conteh being felled in a central area, 30 yards from goal. He took the kick himself and played in Ikeije, who's effort from the edge of the box squirmed past the 'keeper at his near post - via a deflection.
There was still time for chances for both sides in the dying stages of the half. Fenton was involved in both for Margate - firstly down the left when he cut inside and saw his shot blocked for a corner, and then down the right hand side, where he was upended around 30 yards out, but his delivery from the resultant kick was headed clear. Finally, in the last action of the half, Margate survived a massive scare when their penalty box was more resemblant of a pinball machine before inally being cleared.
HALF TIME: Greenwich Borough U18 0-2 Margate U18
The start of the second half saw Margate's best spell of the game. Having dealt comfortably with an early free kick, they were set on killing the game off. The freekick was comfortably dealt with by Lewis Mitchell, whose perfect kick forwards found Ikeije in space, but the tricky frontman tried to beat his man too many times and was unsuccessful in the final attempt. Fenton then saw his free kick headed away after Conteh had been felled, before Ikeije's cross from the left hand side was cleared. Mitchell was determined to get his assist - and a mammoth ball forwards found Kunle Bakare who's flicked header was gathered at the second attempt by the home #1.
Ikeije was having a lively half, and finding plenty of opportunity down the left hand side. Again he got to the dead ball line, and pulled the ball back for Bakare who fired high and wide under strong pressure from his marker. This was to be the bid striker's final involvement in the game, before being replaced by new signing Seth Crabbe on the hour. Josh Richards was the second substitute for Margate - replacing Ziyad Ghali ten minutes later.
Lewis Mitchell then showed off his potential with the save of the game. Preserving his run of clean sheets, he somehow denied what appeared a certain goal, throwing himself low to his right to save a point blank effort.
Richards' fresh legs and pace were causing problems for the homeside, and he was getting away from his man down the right hand side on several occasions - and this paid off in the 83rd minute when he beat the full back and cut in, before calmly rounding the 'keeper and slotting the ball in to make it 3-0.
Greenwich heads dropped, and it was game over - with some gloss added to the scoreline in stoppage time when the home defence struggled to clear their lines, and Ikeije was able to turn and fire home from inside the box to get his second of the game and his side's fourth.
It was a job well done for the young blues, and whilst it was far from the most accomplished performance of the season, it was very effective as they successfully stifled the threats posed by the home side and were generally clinical with their chances. The cup run continues for Stubberfield's side, who eagerly await tomorrow's draw - we'll bring you the details as soon as we have them, both on here and on our social media platforms.
FULL TIME: Greenwich Borough U18 0-4 Margate U18
Margate: Lewis Mitchell, Harvey Killick, Tyler Dockwray, Nathan Hulett, Jack Bray, Olly Baker, Ziyad Ghali (Josh Richards), Jack Fenton, Kunle Bakare (Seth Crabbe), Henry Ikeije, Jardell Conteh.
Subs (not used): Riley Mallon, Tom Webster
Goals: Bray, Ikeije (2), Richards