Jekyll & Hyde
Tuesday 21st January 2014
—Margate FC 2 Dulwich Hamlet 4—
This really was the stereotypical game of two halves – I still feel slightly shell-shocked writing this now, the morning after. Firstly, due to some anxiety-related issues that I’ve been having (all part of being a Margate fan, one might say!) I wasn’t expecting to be able to attend this game. But thanks to the kindness of Terry, Jim & Alan, I was able to – I’m truly grateful for the help in getting to the game, it really did mean the world. A big thank you to all concerned.
After a conversation with Terry, in which she advised me about keeping the fundamental things in the club going – in my case, to bring the inflatable alligator Margator – I decided to take her advice, & duly took him along for the ride. On a freezing cold night, we arrived at Hartsdown Park to be told that Dulwich were slightly delayed – which would mean a later kickoff.
Terry was selling SuperDraw tickets with her customary friendliness & beaming smile, even in sub zero temperatures, & it was also good to see Cliff Egan again too. Hartsdown Park really does feel like my second home at times, & I really enjoy catching up with & talking to people there. After a brief catchup with Peter Cove – or Mr Slinky as he’s otherwise known – the Dulwich players came in (track)suited & booted – and apologising for keeping us waiting, what a gentlemanly bunch!
We were attacking the Coffin End in the first half, with Walshy seeming to play as the lone striker – a slightly baffling tactic as it didn’t seem to have much success against Hendon – however, we all like to think we’re managers & Mr Brown has won slightly more honours then me! (Although did I ever tell you about the time on Championship Manager when I got Notts County into the Champions League?)
Margate started brightly, some flowing attacking football nullifying Dulwich’s crisp passing game – and reaped their just rewards when Anthony Riviere ran at the defence, and slotted a low precise shot past Yannick Nlate in the Dulwich goal. 1-0 Gate, & my attempts to sound cultured by remarking on the irony of a guy called Yannick playing for Hamlet were shot down by Terry, who promptly informed me that the character in the Shakespeare play was called Yorick! So much for being a culture vulture…
After some half chances for Dulwich, which were well dealt with by Holloway & the Margate defence, further euphoria came in the shape of a second goal – Sam Rents cross seeming to loop over a panic stricken Nlate, although the goal appears to have been attributed to John Beales – who must have got the faintest of touches. Margate saw out the first half fairly comfortably, and there was a positive air around the chilly stadium as we changed ends.
Dulwich were out first, after an expected rollicking from their manager – and it came as no surprise that they were on the warpath straight away, attacking Margate at every opportunity. They soon got the goal their pressure deserved, Kevin James being put through one on one with Holloway, & finishing clinically.
Try as they might, Gate couldn’t seem to get their first half performance going, & the defence looked distinctly uneasy under the pressure they were put under – right back James Folkes was sent off for a second bookable offence, which put us under the cosh even more. As attack after attack was desperately repelled, we resorted to playing hoofball – with no-one supporting Walshy however, it didn’t do us much good.
Jack Sammoutis worked tirelessly as ever, but the ball kept going forward into Margate’s box, and the somewhat inevitable equaliser came, Kevin James notching again for Dulwich.
After the attendance & sponsors Man Of The Match were announced ( this was awarded to Craig Holloway, for keeping Dulwich at bay virtually one-handed) the Margate faithful were hoping & praying that we held on for the draw – however these hopes were dashed when Xavier Vidal netted in the 87th minute, and Erhun Oztumer adding insult to injury by scoring a fourth in added time.
As the colourful & charismatic Dulwich fans celebrated down the other end of the pitch, the final whistle bought mutterings of discontent & even boos from some of the Margate crowd. This annoyed me a great deal, as I’m very much of the opinion that you never boo your own team off, no matter what the result. Worse still were the remarks that I heard, criticising the management & remarking that we’ll be ending up in the Kent League. Indeed, I was even told to stop applauding the players off, as they apparently ‘didn’t deserve it’
To hell with that – I believe in sticking with your team through thick & thin, and although the result was undoubtedly frustrating for players & supporters alike, there was no excuse for the things I heard last night, & I can only hope that it was a one-off, borne out of frustration at the manner of our capitulation. With players coming & going each week (Ryan Dolby being the latest player to be released, along with Elliott Cox & Joe Vines) and the recent signing of George Artemi – this is very much a new look side that will take time to gel.
Although outpourings of venom were conspicuous on Facebook, these were distinguished rapidly by the more knowledgable (and less knee-jerk) section of our fans, who echoed their disappointment at the booing & negative comments, & stated that things would come right, given time.
I have every faith they will, and will always support Margate whatever the circumstance & League they are in. Booing helps nobody, so to those who did last night, I urge you not to do that again – it was out of order & the players and club both deserve better.
As I wished the Dulwich fans I’d met earlier in the season all the best – one of them remarked “I bet you’re sick of the sight of us, aren’t you?” to which I replied ‘Would it be OK if we never played you again?’ Wendy’s Margate attired dog took fright at Margator – I can only apologise! Had no idea that inflatable alligators weren’t canine friendly…
After a tough away trip to Suffolk side Leiston, we face two home games against sides with little support in Thamesmead Town (who sprung a surprise result last night, beating Maidstone 4-1) & Met Police.
Now is the time to cheer the lads on and make your voices heard – things will come right, just keep the faith!
Terry’s Away Keeper Arse-O-Meter –
“Another 4 out of 10“