Margate Comeback Seals A Point
Margate continued their good form on the road, coming back from a goal behind to secure a point against Merstham on Wednesday evening.
After a tepid start, a fine second half-display saw The Gate show far greater attacking intensity -and had it not been for a couple of fine saves from the host’s goalkeeper - could have got more from their endeavours in Surrey.
During the opening spell of the game both sides cancelled each other out with equal amounts of possession.
Merstham came close to taking the lead when Walter Figueira launched an audacious effort from the halfway line. Spotting Margate's Henry Newcombe out of his area, the Merstham forward tried his luck, fortunately for The Gate the ball bounced over.
As the half wore on, so did Merstham’s dominance and the hosts should have taken the lead when Tutu Henriques was gifted time and space in the box from a set piece delivery. His free-header was palmed away by Newcombe who made a smart, reactive save.
The hosts did take the lead when a shot from distance could only be parried into the path of Hayden-Smith who rifled the ball home from six yards.
After the break, Margate imposed themselves on the game in much better fashion. With a faster passing tempo and better movement all over the pitch, the visitors tested the Merstham keeper far more.
Sid Sollis came close to grabbing an equaliser as he got on the end of a pinpoint cross from Tom Mills. The volley was struck well and the effort parried away.
Mills was involved in another attacking move minutes later, this time on the end of a delivery from Lee Prescott. The Gate defender managing to get his head to the ball but his effort was comfortably gathered.
With almost an hour on the clock, a double substitution was made as Margate altered their attacking line up in order to secure an equaliser.
It almost paid off immediately when Frannie Collin whipped in a testing corner finding substitute Alex Flisher, who escaped his marker to get strong contact on the header but not quite enough direction to nudge past the keeper.
Whilst dominating the game in their attacking third, Margate had to remain alert to Merstham’s pace and threat on the counter. Marshalled by centre-backs Liam Friend and Ben Swift, The Blues looked solid throughout.
After coming close a number of times, an equaliser arrived for Margate courtesy of the captain. Collin producing another testing ball into the box, found Friend at the far post who nudged the ball into the back of the net.
With Margate enjoying durations of play in the Merstham half, long balls forward were proving the main outlet for the hosts and one searching ball did catch The Gate out but Mills was able to make a well-timed, last ditch tackle during a one-on-one race towards Newcombe’s goal.
In the dying stages of the game, Margate produced a number of fantastic opportunities which could have sealed three points.
George Brown made a surging run down the right hand side before producing a delightful cross which was seized upon by Flisher whose header enforced an outstanding save.
Minutes later in injury time, the save was equalled by another great save as a curling free kick from Collin caused chaos in the area and a number of touches towards goal were denied.
The full time whistle blew and after a disappointing first half, Margate will be buoyed by a good reaction after the break and a valuable point to take back to Kent.
Margate: Newcombe, Paxman, Mills, Robins, Friend ©, Swift, Sollis (Brown), Prescott, Taylor (Flisher), Barnard, Collin.
Subs: Kallameier, Brand