Honours Even After Six Goal Classic
Six goals, a stirring backs-to-the-wall second-half display, Rob Tolfrey mega-saves aplenty, an overhead kick [allegedly] from Alan Inns... this match had it all. Even the gutting Margate equaliser, when it eventually came, was at least a bitter pill coated in Ryan Moss-branded sugar.
A point may in retrospect not have proved enough to keep K's 2015 momentum going. Margate are dropping points all over the place, despite all the money spent on the team. The defence looks leaky, the players' faces waxy with moneyed indifference, Terry Brown [making a return to Womble Ground Zero] barking motivational slogans into a vacuum.
K's, on the other hand, started superbly and took the lead within three minutes when Sam Page capitalised on a loose ball from a corner. Brett Johnson, Gate's most impressive player [and another who is basically Conference standard and slumming it in the Ryman for the cash], equalised soon after before the referee made his first – and by no means his last – strange decision of the afternoon, awarding a penalty to K's for some minor back-post shenanigans. Pelayo Pico Gomez, cursed ever since becoming sponsored by Jaimour in February, converted with one of his carefully placed, slightly unconvincing, pass-curl-kicks.
Then something remarkable happened. Captain Alan Inns, Ryman beard of the year, schoolteacher, regular corner-battler, placed an overhead kick into the top corner. OK, there's some debate over this. Both feet were off the ground, his back arched, his left leg swung, a slicy loop of the ball after contact did the rest. He even leaped in celebration to prove his defiance of gravity wasn't an accident.
At 3-1, only a calamity could ruin things. Right on cue, the referee sent off Steve Laidler just before half-time for... well, no one's quite sure. By all accounts, the referee didn't have an explanation either. All the crowd could see was a mild, almost stationery 50-50 shoulder-to-shoulder. Margate made it 3-2 in the 45th minute, Charlie Wassmer taking advantage of a gift and the second period was all set up for The Great Escape.
Rob Tolfrey, after a week in which he wouldn't be blamed for shaking his head at life between the sticks, produced a sensational series of stops, including one from Moss that had the tattooed corpse-fitter laughing in disbelief.
In fact, it was K's who went even closer to scoring next, Josh Casey striking the post with a searing drive.
On 71 minutes, Moss got the goal he probably deserved, a deft header over an advancing Tolfrey. The final 20 minutes were not without incident and the celebrations at the end were of a point gained. Now, if only we could avoid defeat at Lewes, the play-off chase could officially be said to be ON... Oh.