/ Match Report
/ U23s Record Seventh Win In A Row
U23s Record Seventh Win In A Row
Match report by Ant Coombes
Margate's youngsters took a huge step towards the BlueFin Insurance Development League South title with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Thanet neighbours, Ramsgate.
Jay Stubberfield's side went into the game 4 points adrift of leaders Hastings, who have already completed their fixtures. The win moves them to just a point behind, and still with 2 games to play.
With the first team match at Leiston postponed, Stubberfield was able to call on defenders Tom Mills and Ben Swift, as the pair continued their returns from injury. Patrick Lee was named in goal, having also been expected to travel with the first team squad.
If there were any early nerves, these went out of the window after just 42 seconds. Lee's clearance found Mills who helped it on to Ziyad Ghali, who sent a perfectly weighted ball for Sid Warden who clipped the ball over the advancing Luke Watkins and into the back of the net.
Then followed a move right off the training ground, with John Brown the next to go close - finding space on the edge of the box his drive looked destined for the net only to be denied by a crashing block, and he steered the rebound wide.
Ramsgate were gifted an opportunity to level shortly afterwards, Jack Bray horribly slicing his clearance allowing a shot to come in from the edge of the box which struck the bottom of Lee's right hand post.
However, it was not long before Margate extended their lead. A wonderful move ended with a one-two between Sid Sollis and Warden, with Sollis - another who may have been expected to be in Leiston - emphatically finishing from just inside the box in the 8th minute. Sollis went close to doubling his tally just three minutes later, but he headed narrowly wide from a fine Matt Robinson cross.
Niall Salisbury then got on the end of a cross at the other end. A good ball in from the right saw Salisbury launch himself 6 yards out, only to head the ball away from Lee's goal. It was a fine defensive header from the Ramsgate winger.
The game settled down following the eventful opening quarter of an hour. Robinson fired wide after good work from Warden, whilst Ben Swift got his head on a Tom Lindsey cross but Watkins saved comfortably. Salisbury found space in the Margate box and managed to get the ball in the right direction this time, but Lee was equal to it and able to save.
Despite the occasional scare, Margate were looking largely comfortable, and it was no surprise when they were able to add a third just before the half hour mark. Warden's free kick was whipped in from the left hand corner of the penalty box, going through a crowd of bodies and ending in the bottom corner. Sollis looked to have got the decisive touch, and his celebration suggested this to be the case, although Bray would later claim the goal. One for the dubious goals panel to decide in due course.
5 minutes later, and another wayward header, amid much controversy. The ball played into the Margate box and Swift heading the ball into the top corner of his own net. The former Maidstone and Aston Villa man was under pressure from a Ramsgate forward who was in an offside position, so whilst the appeal was that he didn't get the touch, there is no doubt that without his influence, Swift would not have buried the header and the goal was ruled out.
Sollis would again go close, trying his luck with an audacious chip from all of 25 yards which sailed narrowly over Watkins' goal, and then Lee was called into action shortly before the break. Former Margate talent Shusanta Rai was proving quite the playmaker for the visitors, and his clever slide rule pass released Sam Bradley who was denied by Lee at his near post.
HALF TIME: Margate U23 3-0 Ramsgate U23
There was to be no repeat of the early excitement, but it was a decent start to the half nonetheless. Mills, being afforded license to get forward, got to the byline, and his fine cross found the head of Warden who headed straight at Watkins.
Mills then linked up with skipper Bradley Rudd, who produced a fine turn to give him site of goal from the edge of the box but his curling effort was high and wide. More good football from the home side followed, with Sollis switching play from left to right, Robinson getting the cross in which couldn't be finished off.
Robinson's crossing skills again caused problems when a free kick was awarded down the right hand edge of the box - his teasing ball in caused all sorts of problems for the Rams' defence who were falling over themselves trying to get the ball away, before finally succeeding.
Stubberfield made a double substitution on the hour mark, with Tom Barton replacing Brown, and Jardell Conteh on for Mills. Margate continued in the ascendancy, a rasping Robinson drive was well saved by Watkins, and then Sollis let fly from distance after a fine run but his effort was closed down. Conteh was looking lively down the left hand side, and the visitors were struggling to cope with with his pace and energy, and he was twice upended as he surged forward with the ball. Neither free kick resulted to anything, with Sollis firing the first over the bar, and Warden's delivery then beat everybody.
Robinson then burst clear down the left hand side with quarter of an hour remaining, drilling his cross across the 6 yard box and just evading the onrushing Warden, Ghali got a sliding effort in on it from the right but it ended in the side netting. This was to be Robinson's last act of the game as Stubberfield made his final change, Oliver Wells replacing him.
Barton then produced a fine turn in the centre of the park to find himself in space driving forward before slipping Ghali through. Watkins did well to force him wide, and recover as Ghali's cross was poor and overhit. This was to be the last action of note, with Margate controlling the play in the closing exchanges, but being restricted to the central third with the visitors holding the line well as they sought to keep the scoreline respectable.
The two sides meet again next Tuesday at Hartsdown Park in the first of a League Cup double header, before returning to league action at Ashford in a fortnight, knowing a win would seal the title with a game to spare. With 7 wins on the bounce, it's hard to see them letting it slip.
FULL TIME: Margate U23 3-0 Ramsgate U23
Margate U23: Pat Lee, Tom Lindsey, Tom Mills (Jardell Conteh 60), Ben Swift, Jack Bray, Matt Robinson (Ollie Wells 75), John Brown (Tom Barton 60), Brad Rudd, Sid Sollis, Sid Warden, Ziyad Ghali
Subs not used: Tom Taylor, Tyler Dockwray
Wednesday, 21 February 2018
By Charlotte Richardson