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Praise For Gate Youngsters
Joint Margate Manager, Steve Brown, was full of praise for the way his young team acquitted themselves against National League South side Concord Rangers on Saturday afternoon.
Reflecting on The Gate’s Emirates Cup exit, Brown said:
“They’re a league above, they’ve got lots of ex-League players within their structure and we’ve come here today, as the away side – a league below with Wynter, Rogers, Browny & Kane all out injured, we started the game with six under 21s - and I think if you paused the game at half time, you would have said there’s nothing between the two teams at all.”
“When we went out for the second half, we knew they would be a bit more direct, up the tempo and pressurise us quicker and utilise their height advantage from set pieces. They were much bigger than us aerially, and in my opinion, they should have been much more dominant from set pieces than they were, as we were short for genuine man markers.”
“It was just a shame we conceded from one and once you are behind it forces you to do things differently. The second goal doesn’t bother us regarding the scoreline, They were happy to defend the lead and late on they were happy to turn us around and play balls into the channels and for the second goal they managed to retain possession from it, get a cross in and and score from an unchallenged header. I don’t like to see that, no matter what level we’re playing at but we can only pat our boys on the back today for the effort and commitment to the performance”
Brown’s praise extended across the team who he feels will only get better with vital playing experiences in a Margate shirt.
“We’ve put a young, inexperienced side out there and there were some top performances. I thought Henry was terrific in goal, Pax at right back playing at this level for the first time had another excellent performance, George Brown worked his socks off from minute one to 90 and Chris Barnard is enjoying his first run of consistent games in his career and he battled away against three very experienced midfielders and put in a terrific performance. Stephen Okoh missed the entire pre-season and is playing catch up fitness wise and we know he will only get quicker and fitter as he gets more minutes on the pitch. Swifty has come back into the team and has hit the ground running, which is great to see, he’s had to be patient and hopefully he will have a good run in the side now."
“It goes without saying that we’re disappointed with the result, every time you get beat you’re disappointed, but we have to look at the performance and take the positives and learn from any mistakes that were made.”
Brown added, “In that respect, a major positive was our discipline and structure behind the ball in the first half, I thought we looked comfortable in that respect, Flish coming on after 16 months is a massive bonus and some great performances from the young lads who are gaining vital experience each week.”
The opportunity to benchmark against a side higher up the pyramid was a useful exercise for the Margate management team and Brown took encouragement from the display.
“Not to put anyone down, but the way they celebrated after the game, it was odd, it felt like we were the League above and they were the League below and it was a giant killing, I think the recent league results have put them under a little bit more pressure than they should be feeling and that’s probably why they chucked a second ball on the pitch to waste time near the end even when they were 2-0 up, showed a bit of a lack of class and dignity but each to their own, we wish Concord well and good luck in the next round and for the rest of the season.”
“Everyone’s well aware of the budget cuts we’ve had to deal with and that has changed our mentality on what to build moving forward. The dynamics of the squad have had to change and we want to introduce six or seven under 21 players into the team - they shouldn’t all be playing at the same time – but we’re trying to introduce them over a course of a season and the experience they gain from those games should stand them in good stead for Margate moving forwards. If we can blend those young players with good experienced players over a longer period then we should have a strong squad for the budget we have to work with.”
"We’ve competed with a team in the league above who have a good budget and the result aside we’ve performed extremely well today.”
“We can only concentrate on our boys and we go back to the League now ready to face Haringey Borough and want another performance like that with the right result at the end of it”
The final word of the day was reserved for Alex Flisher who made his long-awaited competitive debut for the club.
“It’s been extremely frustrating for Flish. He’s tried to come back at the start of the season and suffered with bruising, he’s had the cruciate replaced, then bone bruising so it’s a case of introducing him back into the team with a time scale he’s comfortable with. We didn’t want to give him more than 15 minutes, but he looked strong.”
“Underneath that shirt is a decent engine and a strong physical presence both aerially and with the ball at his feet, we all know he’s a good player and we hope he gets fitter and stronger in the coming weeks as he will play a very big part for us over the course of the season."
“It’s a case of making sure he is cast-iron ready to play football which the surgeon says he is and eventually getting that start and nursing him through the season. Overall, I think Margate will be stronger as a football team in the second half of the season."
Monday, 24 September 2018
By Charlotte Richardson