Blues To Do It All Again
Margate needed a 93rd minute equaliser from Jake Embery to rescue their Emirates FA Cup dream on Saturday at Hartsdown Park against Thame United.
The Blues were missing Montel Agyemang and Vance Bola but were able to welcome back Ben Greenhalgh to the starting line-up, as well as as give a debut to Bivesh Gurung.
It was the hosts that were expecting a strong start with a 457 partisan crowd behind them, however they were silenced in the 8th minute as Lynton Goss broke free and calmly slotted past Pat Ohman in the ‘Gate goal.
The Blues were stunned, but almost forced their way level as Gurung unleashed a fierce strike which stung the hands of the Thame keeper. Margate continued to try and find a way past the resolute back line of Thame and it almost came in the 34th minute as Dan Thompson and James Bessey-Saldanha combined before the latter saw his fierce effort crash off the crossbar.
Greenhalgh saw a delightful free kick tipped over the bar just before the break, however it was the visitors who took a goal advantage in with them at the break.
If the first half was tame, in more ways than one, then the second half was explosive from start to finish. Firstly, the hosts had Lewis Knight to thank as he superbly cleared a low drive off the line before Margate got that all important equaliser in the 59th minute as Thompson rose highest to head home a Bessey-Saldanha cross much to the delight of the home fans.
That delight was to be short lived though as Ryan Blake fired the visitors back in front just five minutes later as the Blues failed to deal with a free-kick into the box allowing Blake to smash the ball home for the visitors.
Jay Saunders introduced Embery to the action shortly after, however it was Greenhalgh who fizzed a shot towards goal which was again superbly tipped wide. Anxiety amongst the Margate faithful was rising and there was a real head in hands moment in the 72nd minute as Greg Hackett smashed the ball against the bar, which surely would have ended the cup hopes of Margate for another year.
Margate were not just playing this game out though and they turned the notch up once again moments later as Embery wriggled free but saw his shot fired straight into the hands of Craig Hill.
With the clock ticking down and defeat now looking likely, the hosts were even more angered in the 87th minute as Thame keeper Hill was yellow carded after much discussion between the referee and the linesman. Hill had been booked for kicking out at a Margate player, however a goal kick was awarded when a penalty looked more likely.
The hosts weren’t giving up though and got their rewards in the 93rd minute as Greenhalgh delivered an inch perfect cross onto the head of Embery at the back post who nodded home before wheeling away to celebrate as he saved the day for Margate.
The draw means that this tie will be decided in a replay on Tuesday evening at the home of Thame United.
Margate: Ohman, Kamara, Anderson, Gurung (Embery 70’), Knight (Godo 78’), Swift, Palmer (Richards 56’), Blackman, Thompson, Greenhalgh, Bessey-Saldanha
Subs not used: Prestedge, Kallmeier, Rutherford, Lamb
Man of the Match