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Margate 1
Leighton (19')
0 Kingstonian

Grier's Guide to Margate

When: Saturday 30 March 2019 - 3.00pm kick-off

The town: Seaside town immortalised by Chas 'n' Dave and the Jolly Boys' outing in Only Fools and Horses. Like many British seaside towns its tourist trade suffered in the late 20th Century as low cost airlines meant people increasingly favoured more reliably sunny climes for their holidays. But the town is enjoying a strong resurgence with the Turner Gallery, a renovated Dreamland and new micropubs drawing hundreds of people from London and beyond both to visit and to live - journalists have given it the rather cheesy label 'Shoreditch-on-Sea'.

The ground:  Hartsdown Park, Hartsdown Road, Margate, Kent, CT9 5QZ. It has a decent terrace behind one of the goals but little on two sides of the ground after problems with planning permission curtailed a redevelopment in the mid-2000s. 

Directions:  The high speed line from St Pancras is a little faster than the regular line from Victoria, but also more expensive. It's about a further 15 minutes on foot from Margate station. By car it takes about two hours from Kingston.

Our record there: Our most memorable visit was in 2011 and not for good reasons, as we flushed a playoff berth away on the last day of the season by losing a 3-0 lead to draw 3-3. Of all our near-misses for a chance at promotion into Conference South it was definitely the most avoidable.

Recent form: Margate have had a tough season but new manager Jay Saunders has breathed life into them - they're unbeaten in his first six games in charge.

Players to watch: Margate have used 56 players this season, almost as many as Ks, which probably goes a long way to explaining why both clubs are in the bottom half. Striker Frannie Collin is a veteran of the Kent non-league scene and midfielder/right-back Connor Dymond has established himself as a first team regular since leaving Ks before Christmas.

Crowd: Generally well-supported and capable of making some noise despite their difficult season, although neither side is likely to have much to play for in this one.

Drinking: Traditional backstreet boozer The Northern Belle used to be the main real ale favourite, while Barnacles provides pleasant outside seating to enjoy your fish and chips. But Margate now has an array of newer places to try since we last got to visit on a Saturday (the 'Beast from the East' snowstorm having ruined last season's plans). The Lifeboat, The Harbour Arms, Fez, The Cinque Ports and the Two Halves are all craft-focused pubs that look well worth trying.

Food: Firmly fish and chips by the beach territory, our long standing favourite being Peter's near the Turner Gallery.

Published Wednesday 20th March 2019