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Saunders Credits Gate Character
Manager Jay Saunders credited his side for their dogged determination as a 95th minute goal from Kadell Daniel earned a hard-fought point against Carshalton Athletic at Hartsdown Park on Tuesday evening.
Assessing the 1-1 draw, Saunders said:
“I think we created some good chances but to be honest, I’m sure they will be disappointed that they didn’t put the game to bed as they had a great opportunity in the second half but we kept going which is pleasing for me. The boys didn’t give up, kept huffing and puffing and thankfully got something out of it.”
The Gate had gone behind after just four minutes as they were punished for a slow start to proceedings.
“Mike and I spoke and he mentioned how Carshalton tend to start really well and the preparations today were not ideal. There were eight players and I who only got here half an hour before kick-off, so some of the group only got a 10-minute warm-up.”
“When you’re playing against a team who are sharp and come out the blocks, it is difficult. I don’t think we got going for a good 20 minutes. I don’t want to blame that completely on the preparations but it is not ideal and it was a disappointing goal to concede.”
“We concede the throw-in, Connor has lost site of the ball in the lights and the lad is unmarked to tap it in. It was disappointing from us but I thought we grew stronger as the half went on. We started to ask a lot more questions of them and had a strong penalty call but we kept going and got a good point.”
Saunders tinkered with his line up in search of an equaliser and the positive attacking gamble paid off.
“You could see they maybe tried to shut up shop a bit, so we tried to take a gamble pushing Millsy up forwards and brought Pax on to try and get a bit higher and I thought those things worked.”
“We thought we could cause them problems by putting things into their box but they defended their box really well.”
Saunders added, “We kept going and going and luckily for the one Kads has gambled on, he has managed to get the flick and finish, and it was nice to keep the unbeaten run going for the boy’s confidence.”
The Margate Manager rightly anticipated a tough test from the visitors and revealed the Bostik League encounter enabled him to see other traits within the squad at his disposal.
“Carshalton are a good side and Peter has a good team. They won promotion last year and kept most of the squad together, they all know their jobs and are very good at what they do.”
“Were we good enough in possession tonight? Probably not. I would have liked us to get the ball wide and that’s why we took Joseph off, as I felt we couldn’t give him enough of the ball in wide areas and I thought it looked like our joy would come from crosses deeper and putting bodies in the box.”
“I thought we stood up to the physical test and held ourselves well against a good side. I’d have liked to have seen us be a bit braver on the ball but there are always things we want to improve on.”
“It’s nice to have the options with our front four, they’ll cause problems. Are we going to gamble with all four of them every week? Probably not but it was worth doing tonight and paid off. We take the point and move forward.”
Since taking charge, it’s been a busy few weeks for Saunders who reflected on the start of his managerial chapter at Margate.
“If you asked me before I took over would I be happy with this point return, I would have been. It’s always tough having a Saturday/Tuesday with the small-size squad we have got but the boys looked the fitter side in the end and kept going right until the 96th minute.”
“You cannot beat getting a point or a winner in the late stages and that shows me there is good character in there. I think a few weeks ago when the team was on a winless run, I don’t think we would have seen the bodies going forward into the box, I think they’d have given up.”
Focus now falls upon this Saturday’s trip against AFC Hornchurch. Another difficult prospect but one Saunders relishes.
“It’s a big game for both clubs as we are both down there. We want to keep our run going. They have some dangerous players down their Sean Marks up front who is a real handful and good National League player, let alone Bostik Prem.”
“George Purcell is a big threat, he bags goals every year, so up front they will cause us problems and we’ve got to be right but defensively we have been good. It will be a battle. I’ve played at Hornchurch myself so know what to expect. Stimmo will have them well-organised and wanting to climb the table.”
“So firstly, we’ve got to go there and be hard to beat and hopefully the lads in the final third can do the business.”
Wednesday, 27 February 2019
By Charlotte Richardson