Scream, Drop, Repeat
Saturday 14th October 2013
—Margate FC 1 Bury Town 2—
Football really does have a way of bringing you back down to earth with a bump.
Although disappointed in not being able to attend the previous weekends fixture away at Wealdstone, due to a family commitment, the result more than made up for it – a 1-0 win against one of the favourites for promotion, who were previously unbeaten all season. The delight I felt at the result was heightened even more due to the highlights on YouTube (link at bottom of article) – a superb turnout from the travelling Gate fans, and a great feeling to see so many people I know on one video clip!
That impressive result lifted us up to 8th in the table, just outside the playoffs, as Margate prepared to host midtable Bury Town – who had conceded 8 goals in their last 2 matches. While not expecting a win (name me a supporter of any side that could have that luxury!) my gut feeling was one of confidence, even more so when I discovered that Craig Holloway & Simon Osborn had named an unchanged side from the Wealdstone game, with the exception of the subs bench – Joe Vines back in the squad after injury & joined by a new signing – Giannoulis Fakinos, a former Greek U19 international from Ebbsfleet.
It later transpired that ‘Cesc’ – a reference to his playing style rather than looks – had appeared in the Champions League for Olympiakos, playing alongside such household names as Rivaldo & Yaya Toure. A strong pedigree indeed, & I was looking forward to seeing him play.
Catching up with the usual core of die-hard Gate fans before kickoff was always a pleasure – Jim filling me on away game terrace etiquette / superstition (if we’re 1-0 up, you don’t move from your current spot) George telling me about passing his driving test (just when we thought the roads were safe!) & Ivesy’s views on Paramore.
Within a minute of the game starting, we found ourselves 1-0 down, having shot ourselves in the foot with lacklustre defending. Shades of deja vu, this side certainly like to do it the hard way at times! Credit where it’s due though – the players didn’t let their heads drop after a nightmare start, their attacking qualities forcing the slightly rotund Bury keeper – with a haircut that could politely be described as eccentric – to prove himself equal to a shot from Warren Whitely & a header from Phil Walsh.
In recent weeks on Twitter, one of our squad has frequently impressed me with his eagerness to learn & professional attitude. Step forward Jack Sammoutis, the Cypriot midfielder providing memories of his long distance strike against Ramsgate in July, as a surging run forward ended with him blasting a piledriver of a shot past the Bury keeper & into the roof of the net to equalise. 1-1 & still only 10 minutes played, giving the Margate fans every reason to believe that the lads could push on & get 3 points against a distinctly unimpressive Bury side.
Having been pegged back however, the opposition decided to revert to Plan B – scream, drop & repeat. Their number 6, a tall fellow with a strong physique, was particularly noticeable for this – never have I seen a grown man emit such a high-pitched shriek & drop to the floor (unless he’s caught his son listening to Justin Bieber or One Direction anyway) – a frequent part of his game, it seemed. Sadly, a lot of the other Bury Town players – particularly their left back – adopted this tactic. Worse still, the referee fell for it ‘Hook Line & Sinker’ (to quote a talented local band!)
This blatant playacting ensured a stop start game, the Suffolk based side clearly setting their stall out for a point. The first half, being so disjointed, was mainly notable for Charles Ademeno contriving to miss what would have amounted to a tap in (we’ve all been there though!) and Walshy winning his battles in the air, until the introduction of the Bury number 12 (You call that tall? We’ll show you tall!) limited his capabilities somewhat in the second half.
As with the conclusion of the first half against Leiston, I felt we were in with an excellent chance of winning the game, Bury being there for the taking.
Sadly, as with the conclusion of the second half against Leiston, I was left disappointed, even more so this time round – because a classic smash & grab raid led to the opposition retaking the lead due to some sloppy defensive play, and seeing out the remainder of the game introducing themselves to the Hartsdown Park turf via an anguished yell in the direction of the referee, whose whistle seemed to be triggered by Suffolk squeals.
Despite Gate putting Bury under pressure, a case visibly helped by the introduction of ‘Cesc’ – his quality becoming evident as soon as he entered the fray – the away side held on for an immensely frustrating win.
While annoying to lose the game in such a manner to a mediocre team, it must be noted that we’re still only 2 points from the playoffs, despite having dropped down two places to 10th in the table.
We seem to be very much a Jekyll & Hyde side so far this season, notching up impressive wins against high fliers like Maidstone United, Kingstonian & Wealdstone, only to drop points against the likes of East Thurrock United, Leiston & Bury Town – all of whom came to the Kent coast with the express intention of settling for a point.
Food for thought, although we have a distraction in the shape of a trip to Norfolk – playing Ryman League North side Wroxham in the FA Trophy, before a Tuesday night visit from struggling Wingate & Finchley – another chance to lay the ghosts of our sluggish performances against so-called ‘lesser’ opposition to rest.
Down but not out would be my personal view of the season so far – and it’s still only October!
New additions to forthcoming blogs this season will include Terry & Mel’s ‘Opposition Keeper Arse-O-Meter’ and ‘Grant Blay’s Away Day Burger Reviews’ – in the meantime, I hope this YouTube clip of our excellent away win at Wealdstone serves as a timely reminder as to what this squad is capable of achieving – a healthy dose of optimism for the week ahead!