Margate match report
match report by Simon Grier
Hayden Bird had said that come the end of the season we’d be, “Where we need to be, when we need to be there.” And if he meant relaxing by the sea with fish and chips on a sunny if day, free from the pressures of a tense finale, he was right.
But with Ks’ promotion hopes long since extinguished it was a former manager’s catchphrase which seemed more apt. As Alan Dowson liked to say, eighth place was a realistic target for Ks; it would have been the reward for a win.
But instead it was Margate who came out on top and Ks had to settle for tenth – still their best finish for six difficult years.
The first half was largely uneventful, with neither side showing much energy or creativity. But halfway through it, quite out of nowhere, Walter Figueira powered a 25-yarder into the bottom corner of Ben Bridle-Card’s goal. A fine strike, worthy of a more important game.
Bridle-Card saved from Daniel Ajakaiye late in the half, while Margate had struggled to create clear-cut efforts.
But they came out far stronger after the break and found an equaliser on the 57 minute mark. Sam Oduadu fired against the crossbar and, yet again this season, Ks reacted slower than their opponents. Vance Bola pounced to equlise.
The equaliser finally breathed some life into the game with Ks looking to quickly restore their advantage. Nyren Clunis forced Bridle-Card to make a good save, before Figueira hit the post after being fed by Simon Cooper.
But it was the home side who got themselves ahead, Harrison Hatful’s low cross being converted by Louis Collins.
Ks had some late chances to equalise but they came to nothing. Kenny Beaney’s header was chalked off for offside, Gus Sow fired over after an Alex Addai cross and a Teo Kurtaran effort was easily saved.
It’s not quite the end of the season, with Ks fans still awaiting news of the Surrey Senior Cup. But the defeat was symbolic of how the league campaign has petered out over the last three months of the season. Bird will already be thinking of how he might reshape his squad over the summer ahead of challenging times in Mitcham.
Margate: Ben Bridle-Card, Harrison Hatfull, Crossley Lena, Montel Agyemang, Lewis Knight, Ben Swift, Benas Vaivada, Sam Odaudu, Louis Collins, Vance Bola, Ben Greenhalgh.
Subs: Joe Anderson, George Lamb, Fyn Rutherford (for Louis Collins, 90m), James Bessey-Saldanha (for Benas Vaivada, 59m), Ken Feyi (for Vance Bola, 90m).
Goal scorers: Walter Figueira (24m, 0-1), Vance Bola (56m, 1-1), Louis Collins (69m, 2-1)