Sing For The Moment
Saturday 16th November 2013
—Margate FC 0 Chesham United 3—
Although the result above looks like Margate took another pasting, the truth is that the scoreline was flattering in the extreme for the Calor Premier League leaders.
But perhaps I should start at the beginning.
As I woke up Saturday morning to blue skies & a sunny day, I found myself debating what players Margate would play, and in what position (a severely under strength side owing to injuries / suspensions awaited Messrs Holloway & Osborn – who’d be a manager?)
Meeting up with fellow Gate fanatics Stu & Mel before the game to take in the sights of Dreamland – plans are ongoing for its eventual reopening in 2015 – before a trip to Mel’s favourite sweet shop in the Old Town was a morning well spent – this being topped off by a beaming Terry who informed us that her U10 side had notched an impressive 6-2 win against Whitstable – excellent work, and always a pleasure to see Terry smiling away!
During the week leading up to this FA Trophy tie, we knew that we’d be missing Ryan Dolby, Joe & Paul Vines, & Scott Kinch through suspension (Dolbs & Kinchy picking up one match bans for the accruement of 5 yellow cards and Joe being a victim of a hideous refereeing decision at Lewes, which is mentioned in a previous blog)
With captain John Beales out through injury, as well as the late news of Elliot Cox also struggling, the defence was decimated to the degree that we had to field a left back from our U21 side (Sam Beale) and employ wing wizard Matt Bodkin as our right back. Richard Avery & Gary Borrrowdale were the men charged with leading our makeshift defence, and considering the odds stacked against them, with their opponents being very much in form (11 wins from a possible 12) I felt they put in a good shift at the back, although Avo did have some shaky moments.
An experimental midfield of Georges Ehui, Warren Whitely, Cesc Fakinos and Lanre Azeez were also on the teamsheet, Jack Sammoutis being named on the bench along with a youthful substitutes bench that included 16 year old George Whitelock, and U21 striker Gary Vizzard – Joint manager Simon Osborn was forced to name himself on the bench owing to lack of numbers – enough said!
Down to the bare bones was an understatement, and after 5 minutes, Gate’s depleted side found themselves a goal down – Holloway beaten at his near post via what seemed to be a deflection (or so I was reliably informed – my eyesight isn’t up to much lately!)
As the half wore on, Margate barely had a sniff against a well organised, in form Chesham, their number 3 impressing with his poise on the ball (if not with his Carlos Valderrama hairstyle!) Our efforts mainly involved Charles Ademeno (who showed a much improved display, battling & putting in a decent workrate) and Walshy, who was winning flick-ons as usual – sadly yet again there was no-one there following them up. Perhaps we lack a bit of pace up front? (Armchair management at its finest from yours truly there!)
That assessment of our first half being made, it must be noted that Ademeno can consider himself unlucky to see a towering header pushed onto the bar by the Chesham keeper.
Margate came out in the second half with much more purpose, reducing Chesham to a long ball game and giving their defence a few nervous moments – their full backs slicing the ball out of play under pressure – and as the game progressed, caution was thrown to the wind with the management bringing on Jack Sammoutis, George Whitelock – who stung the keepers hands with a rasping drive – & Gary Vizzard, all of whom battled well following their introductions (Ademeno, Azeez & Whitely the men to make way)
With 20 minutes left, the legend that is Ivesy (the only man I know with various chants specifically about his topiary trimming skills – now priced at £12.50 owing to inflation) urged the Choir & Mini Shark Lads to greater efforts. Maybe it was the coke bottle sweets that Mel had acquired for him, maybe it was the elation of his birthday spirit – but I prefer to think it was a mixture of those & his dedication to supporting the team, that inspired him to pull this superb effort out of the bag.
Pulling in more & more recruits, Ivesy inspired & conducted us to sing ‘Holloway’s Barmy Army’ for a good 20 minutes, if not more. Hartsdown Park was rocking, and from the silence of the Chesham fans, you could’ve been forgiven for thinking that the scoreline was the other way round!
Sadly, the Calor Prem side scored two late goals in injury time to add some gloss to the score line, but this didn’t distinguish our spirits – & indeed, the fans kept right on singing to the final whistle, led by the sheer genius & enthusiasm of Ivesy – whose feats were duly noticed by the Chesham fans as I wished them luck for the rest of the season.
There was a familiar air of doom & gloom on the MFC Facebook page – football, as ever, being a game of opinions – my own being thus –
“We were never going to win this Trophy, so concentrating on the League must be the priority now, with some very winnable home games coming up. I’m not going to get involved in arguments about how people support their team, that’s for the individuals to decide as football really is a game of opinions – my own opinion is that no matter how well or badly we’re doing, getting behind the team must always be the priority.”
I’ve deliberately highlighted the last part, as support really does make all the difference – a point highlighted by fellow Gate fans & players alike – Walshy being a case in point, urging us to get behind the team. While I respect peoples opinions, my own genuine feeling is that we will get nowhere by turning on the management and/or players – that old phrase “United we stand, divided we fall” seems to be a very apt one to put here!
With a Tuesday night home game against struggling Carshalton – who also exited the FA Trophy this weekend with a shock defeat to Ryman South side Whitstable Town – this represents an excellent opportunity to get some points on the board, and get our League form back on track. With the nucleus of our squad returning from suspension (John Beales return date from injury is, at the time of writing, unknown) there’s no reason why we can’t take advantage of Carshalton’s predicaments & boost our own confidence in the process.
Some wise words were spoken on Twitter yesterday evening, our player / manager Craig Holloway noting that Concord Rangers were midtable at this stage last season, only for them to end the season with promotion to the Skrill South, Lowestoft Town in the playoff final (Incidentally, we play the Suffolk side away on Saturday)
Much needed perspective there – and while always a shame to be out of the FA Trophy, the League really is our bread & butter. Currently sucking on a throat sweet in preparation for Tuesday night – I’m sure many other fans are looking forward to cheering on the lads to a much needed 3 points. Here’s hoping!
As always, Terry & Mel’s review of the opposition keeper is included below –
Terry & Mel’s Away Keeper Arse-O-Meter –
“7 out of 10 for thighs & arse – however, a distinct lack of banter dropped his rating down to a 5 – so a 5 out of 10”
I feel it somewhat fitting to include Stu at the end of this article – during our visit to Dreamland he became a local celebrity – notching a slot on BBC South East. Autographs from the man himself, I’m told, will be available on Tuesday night. His television appearance can be found via the link below.