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Report: 1-3 v Margate

It was a day to forget for Wingate & Finchley, as they travelled to the Kent coast in need of points against one of their lower mid-table rivals, Margate FC. 

Margate had taken all three points when the sides met at the Maurice Rebak in November, thanks to a 90th minute winner on that day. And it was they who bagged the points once again on a sunny winter’s day in Kent. 

The game started tentatively for both sides, with neither really being able to assert control. And such was the way until Margate won a corner from nowhere in the 17th minute. The Blues switched off for a second and allowed midfielder Sam Blackman to get in front of his man and nod the ball past a helpless Ben Goode to put the hosts one up. 

The goal sparked Wingate & Finchley into life, and the response was a number of half-chances, the first falling to Luke Ifil, who dragged his shot from inside the area past the keeper’s right post; and the second from on-loan striker Quaine Bartley, who held the ball up well, turned his man on the edge of the area and fired his shot over the bar. 

But for all the positive intent, the Blues were the architects of their own undoing for a second time, as Ben Siggers’ backpass had nowhere near enough power on it, and the Margate striker Roberts nipped in to round Goode. He could only find the outside of the post, however, but the result was a flurry of chances for the hosts, three times driving the ball low towards goal, and three times being denied by a well-placed Wingate foot or leg. Eventually, the pressure told and the third clearance found it’s way to midfielder Cole, who wrapped his right foot around the ball from outside the area and picked out Goode’s top left hand corner beautifully. It was a classy finish and good enough to put Margate up 2-0 before half time.

As with the first goal, Wingate again came back with intent, but as with earlier, they were unable to find the pass or the finish, and the half-time score remained in favour of Margate.

A slight change of shape at the start of the second half once more sparked the visitors into life and the first 10 minutes after the break saw a familiar pattern, Wingate keeping the ball, looking to unlock the Margate defence, but ultimately being unable to find the right key. 

A repeat of Tuesday night’s last minute heroics looked on the cards, when Dernell Wynter pulled one back for the Blues with 20 minutes to go. Antonis Vasiliou won the ball well on the right flank, laid the ball to Academy player Luc Acherman-Stanfield near the corner flag, whose high ball into the box fell to Wynter at the back post to nod the ball past the scrambling keeper.

But hopes of a comeback were effectively extinguished just two minutes later. Roberts collected the ball for the hosts 30 yards out, beat a couple of players and found enough space 20 yards out on the right edge of the penalty area to get his shot away. It was driven low and hard, and nestled in the bottom left corner to make it 3-1. 

The final whistle sounded shortly after to scenes of jubilation from the Margate fans, followed by chants of “Sack the Board”. Clearly some unrest at the seaside club which Wingate & Finchley were unable to capitalise upon.

It was a disappointing defeat for the Blues who, for all the possession and intent, were ultimately unable to break the opposition defence down. An opposition who, while being limited in their chances, took what they had well and reaped the rewards. 

Wingate and Finchley are next in action on Tuesday 1st February on the south coast, as they face Lewes at the Dripping Pan. The next home game is on 4th February versus high flying Cray Wanderers.

By Chris Cummings


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