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Saunders Relief With Win
Margate Manager Jay Saunders had to be patient as it took his side 86 minutes to break down a stubborn Bognor Regis outfit at Hartsdown Park on Saturday afternoon.
Speaking after the 1-0 victory, Saunders admitted Kadell Daniel’s strike was a moment to savour late in the game.
“It was a big relief as I thought we deserved the win first and foremost. We were excellent. Bognor are a really good side and I think we limited them to a handful of chances.”
“We probably should have had a penalty in the first half for handball but it wasn’t given and I thought it might be one of those days. But at half time we said, we needed that one bit of quality and Kadell has come up with the goods again.”
Whilst The Gate produced a professional display, Saunders revealed it had been a rather challenging week dealing with suspensions and injury blows, which added extra satisfaction to the hard-fought three points.
“We’ve had a tough week, a lot of knocks and niggles and tried to get cover in but deals have fallen through, so it’s been frustrating but today has been really pleasing.”
Since taking over, Margate’s fortunes have changed and Saunders credited the new additions to the squad at HDP whilst saluting the efforts of longer serving players.
“We have added quality in the right areas. I’ve had it thrown at us that we have spent fortunes but that is not the case at all. We are fortunate that Dover have helped us out with the connections I have got there and we have worked within the budget we have.”
“We’ve had to let people go to get people in but I knew the players we were bringing in would bring real quality. If you look at our final third, we have the likes of Tobi and Noel – who whilst they’ve not scored today – are a real handful.”
Saunders added, “Kadell was excellent again, George had a good game despite not playing for us for a while so it was good for him to get 70 minutes. Jo has come off the bench and looked a real threat. For us to have those options is really good.”
Praise was also reserved for young right-back Jack Paxman who slotted back into the starting eleven whilst Connor Dymond was ruled out, serving the first of a two game suspension.
“Jack was excellent. To be fair to Pax, it’s probably been a bit harsh to him as he has had a really good season but I felt at the time with the teams we had coming up, Connor was suitable in that right back slot.”
“Pax has come in today, I said to him ‘It’s your chance come and take it’ and to be fair he has. You have to give him credit; he has trained well, when he’s been asked to do things, he has done it and done it well.”
“It was a strong display all over. Jordy and Rogo were excellent in midfield and whilst it was a slow start, once we got to grips with their shape, I thought we kicked on. To a man, I thought the boys were excellent.”
Speaking about the goal itself, Saunders felt it was the least Margate deserved for their attacking dominance.
“I panicked for a minute, as I thought he was going to set Rogo but to be fair, once Keds turned he was only ever going to shoot!”
“He’s had a lot of chances today but when I took over and worked with the forwards, I said I would rather us have 20 shots a game and be off target than come in and just have one or two real attempts. So that’s why they’re shooting from all angles and the law of averages tells you, one will eventually go in. It was one bit of real quality and a great finish.”
“Just before that, Joe enforced a brilliant save and you thought it’s just not going to happen but Kadell has given us real quality and we will miss that from him.”
Saunders was forced to name a young bench including recalled centre-back Ben Fitchett as he updated on the injury status of some influential members of the Margate squad.
“Flish has got a slight hamstring tear which is frustrating because he had five good games for us and it was great to have him back and he will be a big miss over the next four weeks.”
“Frannie has a groin problem which we thought had eased but he probably came back a bit too early so he has had a bit of setback, so we are not sure on him yet.”
“Liam Friend has a break in his hand. If they had put him in a cast then he wouldn’t have been able to play for a while but Timmy has strapped him up and he has got through it. It’s one of them that if he leaves it, we’re not sure how long it will take so fair play to him he’s gone and played.”
Saunders was also able to update on the situation with Saturday’s match-winner, Daniel, who returns to Crabble following his successful month’s loan with Margate.
“I’d love to keep Kadell and to be fair to him, he’d be interested in staying. He’s got an international coming up, so Dover are calling him back. He’ll play that and there is a possibility we might be able to get him back after that but for the moment he goes back as a Dover player.”
“We will certainly be without him for the next two weeks which is a blow because he is quality and has class at this level. I think he has enjoyed it here and the freedom we’ve given him in that role which allows him to do what he does best and that is cause problems.”
The final word of the day was reserved for the Margate supporters who Saunders credited for their part in the team’s recent turnaround in fortune.
“I thought the support was excellent, it looked like a good crowd today and I thought they really got behind the lads. As I said when I took over, if we can give supporters something to cheer about and something to come back for, that’s what we want to do.”
“In turn, the players have responded and we go six games unbeaten. Confidence is high and that is what you need as players. When I came in, it was a little doom and gloom because the team had gone a long while without winning a game and as quick as winning becomes a habit, losing becomes a habit and I think they just got into that spell where they couldn’t win a game and once we done that, we’re fortunate we’ve turned it around and long may that continue.”
Monday, 11 March 2019
By Charlotte Richardson