Gutsy Victory At Gusty HDP For The Gate
Margate extended their impressive unbeaten run to seven games with an equally impressive victory against third-place side, Merstham.
At a blustery Hartsdown Park, the conditions did not disrupt an entertaining contest between two good footballing sides who battled it out over 90 minutes.
During an even opening period, the two teams tried to manage the wind and get the ball down and play.
The game’s best opening opportunity came about after 17 minutes when debutant Jordan Abaibo whipped in a corner to find the run of striker Noel Leighton who was denied by a goal line clearance.
Jack Paxman was next to orchestrate the hosts attacking opportunity, galloping forward with a positive run into the penalty area. Shaking off the attention of the Merstham defence, Paxman was able to match his run with a shot that smacked the side netting.
Whilst the visitors displayed their characteristically composed and calm style on the ball, an organised defensive shape throughout the Margate eleven proved limiting and it was The Gate again who looked closest to scoring.
As on 34 minutes, Paxman produced a testing throw in which was seized upon by Leighton whose goal ward header went agonisingly wide.
The Moatsiders looked threatening minutes later as danger-man Figueria made a run forwards but his shot was comfortably seen flying wide by Margate goalkeeper Louis Well.
The deadlock was finally broken when, Leighton a nuisance up top for the hosts throughout the opening period, glanced the ball home thanks to a delightful, pinpoint cross from George Brown.
Margate had Wells to thank moments later as he got an important touch to force a thunderbolt strike from Sariava over the bar before the first half concluded.
Margate could – and probably should - have doubled their lead in the opening minutes of second period, Paxman crafting an attacking move to feed TobI Sho Silva. Whilst Silva’s effort was blocked by the keeper, with the goal at his mercy, Leighton headed the ball over.
As the match ensued, Merstham threw everything into snatching a goal and almost secured an equaliser when Roman-Percil struck from 30 yards out. His effort stroking the inside of the post before going out for a goal kick.
As the wind continued to howl, both teams fought tooth and nail.
In the end, The Gate were rewarded for great discipline and determination to frustrate a Merstham outfit who went home from Kent empty handed.
After back-to-back home encounters, Margate hit the road next Saturday, travelling to Burgess Hill Town for another important Bostik League fixture.
Margate: Wells, Paxman, Friend ©, Swift, Mills, Rogers, Robins, Brown, Abaibo (Hungbo), Sho-Silva, Leighton,
Subs: Kallmeier, Williams, Mesquita, Fitchett