/ Returning Friend Bolsters Gate
Returning Friend Bolsters Gate
Margate defender Liam Friend's early return from injury could not have been more timely, as the centre-back returned to the starting eleven to help The Gate earn back-to-back clean sheets.
With the loss of Captain Ben Swift for three games through suspension, Friend's recovery from a thigh strain meant Manager Jay Saunders could call upon the experienced player to slot back into the Margate back four.
And it's been a positive start to the month, with two 1-0 victories obtained at HDP in the space of four days, after a winless February.
Speaking following Tuesday's 1-0 win against Wingate and Finchley, Friend admitted it was good to get a winning feeling back in the dressing room.
"It has been a positive few days, it was important to get a win on the board because whilst we've been on a decent unbeaten run, we probably should have taken a few more points than we had."
"I thought we were unfortunate to lose against Horsham in the Trophy but still you look back on the month without a win so there was an onus on us to come back to Hartsdown Park and string some together, which we have done."
Friend added, "But that's just part of the job done, as a group we feel we are due a bit of a run of wins. It was around this time of year last season that we went on a great winning run. I can see no reason, with the players we have at the club, why we can't do the same again."
"It's been difficult with the niggling injuries and suspensions but there is a lot of quality in the group, hopefully now we can build upon it and climb up the table where we need to be."
Back-to-back wins combined with back-to-back clean sheets is especially pleasing for Friend and his team-mates.
"We were conceding a few cheap, late goals which has meant rather than three points, we had to settle for one quite a few times last month but in the last two games, as a team we've managed to correct that. Joe made a couple of great saves on Tuesday evening and on Saturday was less busy which is what we want."
Focus now turns to Saturday's trip to Wingate and Finchley. It's an opportunity to extend Margate's unbeaten run in the League and Friend is looking forward to the outing.
"It's good after all the recent postponements to get back into the swing of it with games. Tuesday's game is almost forgotten now, Wingate will want to get one back over us, they'll have a home advantage so we need to try to come out the blocks early."
"I'm confident we can go there and get a result and the boys should be too. We know on our day we are a match for anyone in the League and we want our League position to reflect that more. We can still have a say on how the League finishes this season and who knows, each year there is always one team who makes a late charge, why not let that be us."
Wednesday, 11 March 2020
By Charlotte Richardson