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Season Review - January Edition
By Ryan Day
After a poor December Margate hoped the New Year would bring them some much needed rest from their slump in form as they travelled just a short distance to the Fullicks Stadium for a New Year’s Day battle with Folkestone Invicta who were harbouring their own play-off ambitions.
The New Year started miserably with the Blues losing on-loan winger George Brown in the warm up and the afternoon was not going to get any better as the ‘Gate fell behind on just nine minutes thanks to Johan Ter Horst header. Despite a valiant effort there was no way back for Margate who started the New Year with another defeat which left them four games without a win.
Another home game followed on the Saturday after their New Year’s Day defeat and the terrible home form at Hartsdown Park had no sign of shifting as Margate fell behind to Worthing, however, there was to be some sort of reprieve for the Blues as Sidney Warden, who was back in the squad after a spell in America was hauled down in the box in the 88th minute allowing Frannie Collin to step up and rescue a point for the struggling Blues who had one over their shoulder as they continued to drop towards the Bostik Premier League relegation places.
Margate were straight back on the road again the following Saturday as they travelled to North London to face high flying Haringey Borough. As like in most occasions this season the Blues fared much better against the better teams in the division, however a late strike by the home side sent Margate home empty handed and dropping closer to the bottom three.
After the early postponement of the away fixture earlier in the season, Margate began to the long trek to Sussex for a midweek encounter at Lewes. Margate matched their play-off contender opposition however after making three subs in the second half the Blues were forced to play with ten men as Alex Flisher limped out of the game with all possible substitutes having been used. Despite the numerical disadvantage Margate were resolute and kept the home side at bay until the 94th minute when the referee adjudged a challenge in the box to be excessive therefore awarding the hosts a last gasp penalty. For one of the first times this season luck seemed to be shining down on Margate as Louis Wells fantastically saved the penalty to send Margate home with at least a point in their pocket.
The final game of the month saw Margate welcome former Manager Nikki Bull and his Leatherhead team to Hartsdown Park with the Blues still desperately trying to shake off their torrid home form. Despite the poor home form over 500 fans again turned up to see the Gate fall behind as Leatherhead continued their search for play-off success. Margate battled away and again had the referee to thank for earning a point late on as David Martin converted a penalty late in the game to secure another point for Margate, however it was becoming clear that the Blues found themselves getting involved in a relegation battle to stay in the Bostik Premier Division having not won a game in eight attempts.
With no win throughout January and just three points collected throughout the month pressure was building on the Margate management team as the Blues looked to be embroiled in a relegation scrap. What would February bring to the ‘Gate? Could they shake their torrid home form and could they drag themselves out of the relegation battle?
Wednesday, 19 June 2019
By Charlotte Richardson