Hastings United (H) - 24th October 2023
By Ryan Day
Margate welcome Hastings United to Hartsdown Park on Tuesday evening as they look to build upon a positive week in the Isthmian Premier Division.
After a run of four losses in a row, the Blues have had a better week after beating Chatham Town last Tuesday, before rescuing a point against Hashtag United on Saturday with Steve Cawley scoring a sensational leveller in the fifth minute of additional time.
Margate still sit 15th in the division, however having played two games less than the majority of teams around them. A victory on Tuesday could see the ‘Gate climb into the top half of the division.
Tuesday’s visitors have endured a torrid few weeks with four defeats in a row, albeit three of those defeats have come against sides currently residing in the league’s play-off places.
The ‘U’s’ dispensed of their manager Paul Barnes after defeat to Wingate & Finchley. The Club has also lost several key players over the past few weeks including Femi Akinwande, Quade Taylor and Knory Scott.
Last time these two sides met it was at the Pilots field in February, when a ‘Gate side battling relegation earned a valuable 0-0 draw in Sussex. The last time the two met at Hartsdown Park, it was the visitors who ran out 2-1 winners with a last gasp goal, which turned out to be former Manager Andy Drury’s penultimate game in charge.
Games between these two sides have been few and far between in recent years. Before last year’s league encounters, the sides hadn’t met since 2016 when they faced each other in the FA Cup, Margate eventually progressing after a replay.
The only other previous league meetings in recent history came in 2012, when the two sides both shared the points in both games that season.
Manager Reece Prestedge will hope that Lewis Knight can shake off a back injury he picked up in Saturday’s draw, otherwise there seems to be no further injury issues.
Kick-off at Hartsdown Park is 7:45pm with all Under 18’s admitted free into Hartsdown Park.
Tickets can be purchased in advance here; the turnstiles open at 6:30pm.
If you can’t make it, you can follow live updates on X @margate_fc from 7:15pm.
'Gate Let Lead Slip Against Hastings
Margate let a 1-0 lead slip on Tuesday evening as they were beaten 2-1 by Hastings United at Hartsdown Park.
Manager Reece Prestedge named the same starting eleven that had earned four points in their previous two games prior to Tuesday.
In an otherwise dull first half, both sides looked tense and cagey with neither side creating much in the way of clear cut chances. The main talking point of the first half was the Blues losing leading goal scorer Steve Cawley to a calf injury just two minutes before the break, as he was replaced by Fyn Rutherford.
The Blues started the second half on the front foot and created the first real chance of the evening in the 49th minute as Rohdell Gordon delivered a wonderful cross to Rutherford at the back post, however his scooping header flew inches wide of the post.
Two minutes later Margate thought they had the lead as a wonderful Ben Greenhalgh free-kick found Sam Blackman at the far post who nodded home, only for the assistant referee to raise his flag and chalk off the goal.
Margate were in the ascendency and did take the lead in the 58th minute as a well worked corner between Greenhalgh and Gordon saw the former deliver an enticing delivery into the box which was headed home by Blackman to give the ‘Gate a deserved lead.
Frustratingly for the Blues, their lead only lasted three minutes as a long Hastings United throw hit Harry Hudson on the head and fell into the net to level the scores almost instantly.
Margate felt they should have been awarded a penalty a few moments later as Rutherford was bundled over in the box, however the referee waived away their protest.
With twenty minutes remaining a wayward cross by Hudson hit the post as Margate continued to push forward to regain the lead.
With twelve minutes left on the clock, Hastings took a surprise lead as a long speculative shot snuck into the bottom corner to give the visitors the lead against the run of play.
Despite six minutes of additional time at the end of the game, there was to be no saviour this time around as the game drifted to full-time.
Margate return to action on Wednesday night as they travel to Whitehawk in the Third Round of the Velocity Trophy.
Margate Xl: Seaden, Hatfull, Johnson, Poku, Sterling, Hudson, Blackman, Cawley (Rutherford 45’), Greenhalgh, Gordon, Knight (Box 80’)
Subs not used: Hobbs, Salmon, Mazzone
Sam Blackman 58’