Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Margate 0 Tonbridge Angels 0

Match 18/17/1468 - Tuesday, 15th August 2017 - Bostik Premier

Margate (0) 0
Tonbridge Angels (0) 0
Attendance: 632

Entrance: £8 Senior
Programme: £2.50
Mileage: 106/1,211

Match Report

A visit to Margate Football Club is always taken when they are in the midst of one of two cycles, Boom or Bust. There is no centre ground with the Thanet club, their pot is either overflowing in riches or there isn't one to piss in.

We are now in Boom. A bright, new 3G pitch looks resplendent surrounded as it is by decaying infrastructure and temporary portacabins that have long since taken root by virtue of previous unfulfilled promises of hotels, casinos and a stadium to grace their aspirations of the Football League.

It remains to be see whether this era has any more substance than the previous booms, we only have history to draw our own conclusions.

The money is here now, and as usual, is being spent on the pitch, that being the playing staff, not the 3G that obviously cost a pretty penny.

The welcome is warm at Hartsdown Park and there is none of the garish boastfulness of their partners on the Bostik Rich List at Billericay. In fact, their supporters were downright nice, wishing us a good season at the final whistle and us to them.

Steve Watt has obviously decided the route to National League South is not only copying the model at Maidstone, but by employing about three-quarters of his team-mates from the Gallagher. Add in Sonny Miles, Craig Stone and Tommy Parkinson and the bar afterwards must have been like a school reunion.

Such is the reported investment, arrival on the east coast was much in hope rather than expectation. Still shorn of five recognised first team choices, admittedly Margate were short of a couple themselves, Steve McKimm’s selection virtually picked itself, with no changes made from Saturday’s opening day victory against Hendon.

Tonbridge had the ball in the net after seven minutes but this was ruled out, contentiously, with the referee deciding that Dan Thompson was interfering with play as Stone put the ball into the net.

It was the one moment of respite in a first half that was largely dominated by the hosts. Dave Martin, a championship player with Millwall and Derby County in a previous lifetime, was a constant threat and Liam Smith, at 17-years-old, was given a testing time but stood up to the examination.

The principle scare of the first half for the visitors came after 14 minutes when following a corner, Tom Wynter crashed a header against the crossbar. Angels’ goalkeeper, Jonny Henly was called into action soon after, palming away to relative safety a shot from Martin.

A lot of the pressure that was brought on Tonbridge was almost self-inflicted as their ball retention was considerably less than satisfactory.

The second half was a different story altogether. Tonbridge kept possession better and gained momentum although in the opening 20 minutes of the half very few chances were created by either side with Martin pulling a shot wide the only threat to the goal.

After 73 minutes of absorbing, but goal-less action, Sidney Sollis (as the stadium announcer formally introduced him) was introduced into the fray and that horrible feeling of fate was upon us.

But it was the Angels that upped the tempo and the chances fell to them with Nathan Elder having a shot blocked and Chris Kinnear blasting over.

Three minutes from time the ball fell nicely for Sollis to inflict the worst possible pain but he tamely shot over the bar.

As we entered time-added, the possible disappointment of losing a well-deserved but unexpected point made the heart race faster and when Matt Bodkin drove a shot marginally wide the old ticker nearly stopped completely.

Money is not everything, let’s hope for the sake of the Isthmian League in general, that those words apply also to Billericay, and perhaps a good old fashioned team spirit might just be enough to gatecrash the party.

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