Dartford (H) - 18th July 2023
By Josh Cole
The ‘Gate are back at Hartsdown Park tonight for our fourth pre-season friendly as we welcome National League South side Dartford FC!
‘Gate suffered a first defeat of the 2023/24 pre-season campaign away to Herne Bay losing 2-1 on Friday night and will expect a similar test tonight as preparations continue for the season ahead.
Margate will still be without Steve Cawley who is away, whilst the Blues fans will be hoping to see new signing Roberto Ratti in action as well as Montel Agyemang who featured for half an hour on Friday night.
Tonight’s opponent, Dartford, have played two pre-season friendlies so far against Charlton Athletic losing 2-1 and drawing against Dunston UTS 2-2, meaning Margate have an extra 90 minutes into their legs ahead of this fixture. Dartford had a strong season last season finishing 2nd in the National League South, however, were defeated in the playoffs missing out on promotion.
Margate and Dartford share a good partnership with both Ben Greenhalgh and Elliot Leveson part of the Dartford Academy.
Kick off is 7:45pm and the gates open at 6:30pm and you can purchase your tickets by clicking here.
If you are unable to make it to the game there will be match updates from our twitter account @margate_fc!
'Gate Overcome Dartford In PSF
Margate put on an impressive display as they beat National League South side Dartford 2-0 at Hartsdown Park on Tuesday evening, as the ‘Gate continue their preparations for the 2023/24 season.
Manager Reece Prestedge named a strong line-up as players continue to build fitness ahead of the new campaign, however he was missing Steve Cawley who was away and Roberto Ratti who continues to recover from an ankle injury picked up in training.
Both sides looked to find their rhythm early as Dartford striker Alex Wall sent a thunderous free-kick just wide, before Margate’s Phil Roberts tried an audacious effort with the visiting keeper straying off his line.
It was the Blues who had the best chance in the 16th minute to open the scoring as Ben Greenhalgh rifled a curling free-kick effort which smacked off the crossbar as Margate looked to get themselves ahead.
Two minutes later it was the visitors that hit the post themselves as Coulson let fly, however his effort bounced back off the post and away to safety as the game swung from end to end.
Just past the 30-minute mark it was the ‘Gate who opened the scoring as Greenhalgh played a wonderful through ball to Roberts who raced onto it before calmly sliding the ball past the ‘keeper to give the ‘Gate an advantage.
Margate almost doubled their lead in the 45th minute as Roberts played the role of provider as he split the Dartford defence open, allowing Harvey Smith to race through on goal, only to see his low shot brilliantly saved.
Dartford made several changes at the break, whilst Margate introduced Fyn Rutherford in place of Montel Agyemang, but it was the visitors who almost levelled in the 56th minute, only to be denied by a fantastic goal line block by Archie Johnson.
Smith was again fantastically denied with a low drilled effort, just a minute before the ‘Gate did double their advantage as some nice play led to Greenhalgh firing a wonderful left footed shot into the bottom corner to give the hosts some breathing space.
Margate introduced U23’s player Wes Hennessey for the last twenty minutes to gain some further experience in the first team as the Blues saw out the remaining minutes comfortably to secure an impressive victory.
The ‘Gate are back in action this Saturday as they welcome Isthmian South-East side Sittingbourne to Hartsdown Park with kick-off scheduled for 3pm.
Tickets for this game can be purchased in advance by clicking here, or alternatively at the turnstiles which open at 1:30pm.
Phil Roberts 31'
Ben Greenhalgh 64'