Sheppey United (H) - 5th August 2023
By Josh Cole
After a quick turnaround of less than 48 hours, our final game of the 2023/24 pre-season schedule is here as we take on Sheppey United at Hartsdown Park.
We drew 1-1 with Erith & Belvedere at Park View Road in South London on Thursday. The ‘Gate took the lead in the 22nd minute through Harvey Smith from the spot after Mo Cham was taken down in the box. Erith would strike back just twelve minutes as the two sides played out an entertaining draw.
Manager Reece Prestedge spoke afterwards about the importance of Thursday evening’s fixture being played on grass, as opposed to the 3G that the ‘Gate usually play on.
You can watch the full interview on GATEtv by clicking here.
Margate fans are likely to see striker Steve Cawley in action as the Blues look to go strong in their final pre-season game ahead of their league opener against Whitehawk next Saturday.
Sheppey United play in the Isthmian South-East Division and will look to build on a very good season last year albeit with an entirely new squad and management team after a big summer shake-up for the Ites. So far in pre-season, the Ites have lost to Maidstone United 1-0, but have seen wins over Canterbury City 4-0, Lordswood 4-0, Gillingham XI 4-0, and Snodland Town 5-1 and a 0-0 with Whitehawk.
Former ‘Gate player James Bessey-Saldanha will feature for Sheppey United having signed for them after featuring as a trialist during pre-season.
You can get your tickets for the game by clicking here or at the turnstiles from 1:30pm onwards!
Blues Finish PSF Schedule With Draw
Margate completed their 2023/24 pre-season schedule with a thrilling 3-3 draw against Sheppey United on a wet afternoon at Hartsdown Park on Saturday.
Reece Prestedge named a strong starting line-up ahead of Saturday’s league opener against Whitehawk at Hartsdown Park, including striker Steve Cawley and Captain Sam Blackman returning to the side.
It was Phil Roberts that looked liveliest in a blue shirt as he forced two opportunities for the ‘Gate inside the opening five minutes. Former Margate man James Bessey-Saldanha had the first effort for the visitors, however it was routinely saved from Reece Hobbs in the ‘Gate goal.
Margate had Hobbs to thank for remaining level moments later he made an incredible save from a Sheppey trialist effort which looked goal bound, before Hobbs intervention. Hobbs again was Margate’s saviour in the 20th minute as he made a point blank save to deny the visitors once more as Margate struggled to get going.
Against the run of play, Margate did take the lead in the 25th minute as a Harrison Hatfull cross was well headed by Cawley, only for the ‘keeper to palm the ball straight to Ben Greenhalgh who tapped home to give the Blues a 1-0 advantage.
1-0 soon became 2-0 as Cawley again posed an ariel threat by flicking on a front post corner to Roberts who hammered the ball home to give the ‘Gate a comfortable 2-0 advantage before the 30-minute mark. Eight minutes before the break, and after several corners, the visitors were back in the game as Bessey-Saldanha got in behind the Blues back-line to score on his return to Hartsdown Park to reduce the arrears to 2-1 at the break.
After a calm start to the second half, Margate were awarded a penalty in the 68th minute as Blackman was bundled over in the box leaving Greenhalgh the opportunity to grab his second goal of the afternoon to make it 3-1 to the Blues.
The two goal advantage lasted only four minutes though as a Sheppey trialist let fly from 20 yards which swerved and dipped past Hobbs to make it 3-2 with twenty minutes still to play. With eight minutes remaining the visitors did find a leveller as a free-kick was swung in, only for Harvey Smith to head home into his own net to bring the scores level at 3-3.
Margate did almost snatch a last minute winner as Archie Johnson sent a wonderful cross into the box which caught Blackman off guard as he could only poke the cross onto the post as Margate had to settle for a draw in their final pre-season friendly.
Greenhalgh 68’ Pen