Sittingbourne (H) - 22nd July 2023
By Josh Cole
We continue our 2023/24 pre-season campaign as we welcome Sittingbourne to Hartsdown Park on Saturday afternoon with kick-off scheduled for 3pm.
The ‘Gate stunned National League South side Dartford at Hartsdown Park on Tuesday night beating them 2-0 with goals from Phil Roberts (31’) and Ben Greenhalgh (64’) as they bounced back from their defeat at Herne Bay the Friday before. After the game, Manager Reece Prestedge said he was “buzzing” with the victory.
You can watch the full interview with Reece Prestedge on our YouTube Channel or by clicking here.
You can watch the highlights from Tuesday night’s win by clicking here.
Saturday’s opponents Sittingbourne’s have played four pre-season matches so far with a draw against Chatham Town (2-2), a loss to Ebbsfleet United (1-3), a win against Erith Town (0-2), and a loss to Faversham Town (0-1). Sittingbourne play in the Isthmian South-East division one step below Margate and last season they finished mid-table in 11th place.
The last time the two sides faced was in pre-season last year where the ‘Gate travelled to Woodstock Park and came away with a 2-1 win.
It’s a Big Football Day at Hartsdown Park with the Lionesses’ opening World Cup game being shown live in the Hartsdown Bar from 10am with the match starting at 10:30am. If you wish to stay for the pre-season friendly vs Sittingbourne you MUST purchase a ticket, which you can do by clicking here.
The ‘Gate have signed two new players, Daniel Duncanson and Skye Salmon formerly being trialists through this pre-season campaign so far. We also found out the draw for our defence in the DFDS Kent Senior Cup Final where we will play Hythe Town in Round one, and should we progress will have a home tie against Sittingbourne or Ashford United in Round Two!
Blues Defeated By Sittingbourne
A much changed Margate side fell to a 2-1 home defeat to Sittingbourne on Saturday afternoon on a wet day at Hartsdown Park.
With travel chaos causing disruption ahead of the game, Margate were forced to name a different starting eleven to originally planned. Ben Greenhalgh, Sam Blackman and Harry Hudson all started on the bench.
Margate started in a positive fashion with Harvey Smith firing a free-kick goalwards which flashed just wide. Sittingbourne took time to find their feet, however when they did they had two efforts which almost opened the scoring.
Sittingbourne were starting to take control as another goalwards effort was superbly blocked on the line by George Lamb as half-time approached. A minute later the visitors did take the lead as a corner was floated in which found its way into the net, despite claims from Damian Niemczycki that he was fouled in the build-up.
After falling behind, Margate looked to hit back immediately as Archie Johnson raced down the left before seeing his cross clip the crossbar as the referee brought the first half to its conclusion.
With Greenhalgh, Phil Roberts, Hudson and Blackman all introduced at half-time, Margate started much stronger, however Sittingbourne dealt with the few chances the Blues created, until the 63rd minute when a Greenhalgh free-kick was delicately headed home by Roberts to bring the game level.
Greenhalgh looked the difference as he drove at the heart of the Sittingbourne defence, however his shot trickled just wide. In the persistent rain, the game swung from end to end with Sittingbourne smacking an effort against the post.
With seven minutes remaining, the visitors won the game as they raced through one on one before striking the ball past the trialist goalkeeper.
Margate return to action on Tuesday evening as they travel to Corinthian for another pre-season fixture, with kick-off scheduled for 7:45pm.
Phil Roberts 63’