Three And Easy
Saturday 22nd March 2014
—Margate FC 3 Lowestoft Town 0—
This day was a momentous day, for many reasons. Mainly because I woke up slightly confused as to how half of my leg hair was missing, before I realised I’d offered my services for the Sports Relief leg waxing after the successful Fans Forum, in which it was a pleasure to listen to chairman Bob Laslett & Terry Brown, who were disarmingly open & honest about their plans for the club.
Although work on the ground has been delayed due to Bob’s preference not to include a hotel, and various lease issues, his reasons all made perfect sense, and everyone present seemed to accept those reasons without doubt.
He also announced who the new shirt sponsor would be (sadly I’ve already forgotten their name!) as well as informing us about his plans for the pitch, which is thankfully staying as grass and not 3G!
A pre-season friendly with Wolves was also announced, as well as the news that we would be keeping the blue & white hooped shirts for next season, which I was particularly delighted with.
On the playing side, Terry Brown proved to be a mine of useful information, and he explained his long term vision for Margate – he also gallantly said that he’d heard the booing at the end of the games (something which I’m strongly against) but that if there were any complaints, to direct them to him, rather than the players.
He was also extremely friendly & approachable, to the extent where I believe he was roped into a trip to the Britannia with those incorrigible playboys who go by the names of Pridders & Winkle.
I think it’s fair to say that everyone left the Fans Forum in a good mood, which carried right on to the next day.
Terry was kind enough to pick me up Saturday morning, and in what seemed to be no time at all, the 5-a-aside changing rooms were full of grumbling blokes (myself included) who were heard to utter phrases that mostly included “How do women get into these things?” and “Can you zip me up?” – we were all much obliged to Terry & Mel for helping with dresses & tutus.
As we kicked off, I soon realised that I was very unfit, and that the blonde wig I donned would be a hinderance, rather than a help (that’s my excuse anyway!) – various highlights of the game included a booking for Nick (I still maintain that was down to the fake boobs!) and Margate manager Terry Brown turning up – possibly to scout for new players, or more likely just to enjoy the game, which had attracted a fair sized crowd.
I’d like to say I impressed Mr Brown, but with my wayward shooting, my dreams of playing for Margate were effectively ended.
Ivesy however, did his chances of being snapped up no harm at all, with a dazzling display of skill & finishing. His showboating included going past me like I wasn’t even there, before completing the trick with a cheeky nutmeg that left me for dead. Negotiations to obtain his signature before the Met Police game on Tuesday are, I believe, still ongoing.
Sadly, I ended up on the losing side – being on the wrong end of a seven goal thriller (it’s just a shame we didn’t score any of the seven!) but a great morning was had by all – credit to Terry for coming up with the original idea, and all those who played. Mel’s managing skills also deserve a mention, as did Jo’s refereeing performance, which was superb throughout – all in all, a good-natured game!
It was a happy & sweaty bunch of fans that made their way into the bar afterwards, and Dan particularly enjoyed himself, a solid performance at right wing earlier, was later compounded with watching his beloved Chelsea (although Margate are still his one true love!) obliterate Arsenal.
In truth, most of the time spent before the match was a blur, although I did wander down to the club shop, where I enjoyed catching up with Poppy – who kindly saved me a hoodie & offered to knit my baby son (due in August) a cardigan, before we discussed her career in theatre. A woman of many talents, and always a pleasure to listen to.
Before long, George & Stu turned up, whose girlfriend Shannon implored me not to mention anything about the Arsenal score – no danger there – and after a brief catch up, we made our way onto the terraces where birthday boy Arthur Scott & his friends were enjoying his Margate FC VIP Football Party.
After a bit of crackling from the tannoy, the teams were out – followed by our customary mad dash to the Coffin End. Margate made a good start, and in truth – Lowestoft being playoff finalists three seasons in a row – I would’ve taken a draw before the game. Yet again, the players proved me wrong.
With barely five minutes gone, a superb cross from Bods was headed in from skipper Jamie Stuart, who was vocal & instrumental throughout in keeping the defence well marshalled throughout – a superb effort.
Aside from a penalty appeal from Lowestoft which was turned down by the referee, the promotion chasing Suffolk side had a relatively quiet half, with Margate creating chances almost at will, to the consternation of their goalkeeper Ashlee Jones (who had faced us when we played out an entertaining 2-2 draw with Canvey Island last season) – the best of these fell to Daniel Wishart, who somehow contrived to miss what amounted to a tap in – it does happen to the best of us though!
Just before halftime, a moment of genius from Jefferson Louis gave Gate a two goal cushion – curling a delicious shot into the top corner of the goal, leaving Jones standing helplessly. In truth, his expression, if summed up in a phrase, would be ‘Well, you don’t save those ones!’
As the whistle blew for halftime, the Margate faithful were still murmuring their pleasure in witnessing such a superb finish, and we walked up to the Hartsdown Road end – otherwise known as the Thanet Cars South Stand, in preparation for the second half.
Positioning myself slightly to the left of the goal, Lowestoft started brightly after undoubtedly receiving a rollicking for their lacklustre performance in the first half – although Nikki Bull was rarely troubled, he made some excellent stops to preserve his clean sheet record.
A mazy run from Jack Sammoutis was unceremoniously ended as he was taken out by one of the Lowestoft players – although I much prefer Gareth Anstice’s take on the incident, which was mentioned in the match report on the official website – superb journalism and a name-based gag! The quote below was from Gareth’s article.
“With the away side struggling to make their mark on the game, frustration told with Robert Eagle lucky to avoid a red card. Swooping in late on his prey, Sammoutis, in front of the stands, Eagle incensed the Margate fans but walked away with just a yellow”.
As the game went on, Lowestoft’s frustrations grew, especially with the officials for some unknown reason – they seemed pretty competent for a change – and Margate’s dominance continued to grow, resulting in what surely must be a contender for Margate’s Goal Of The Season Award.
After yet another corner was earned, the ball was half cleared into the path of Jefferson Louis, who unleashed a venomous volley past the Lowestoft keeper, before he had time to blink.
With four goals now in his last two games, Gate fans are beginning to see the best of the striker, who has given me a huge slice of humble pie after my previous criticism – all credit to him.
Lowestoft were well & truly beaten dockets, and as the game neared its conclusion, Margate could have had a fourth, with Omar Beckles seeing his header well pushed over by the keeper, who also stayed alert to delay Charles Ademeno late on.
With the tannoy announcing that the match sponsors had given Jefferson Louis the MOTM award, a slight commotion seemed to occur outside the changing rooms, which led to the officials & players making a hasty bee-line towards the benches.
In my euphorically dazed & happy state, my mind somehow translated this to there perhaps being a fire drill – this turned out to be nothing more then a bout of handbags from the Lowestoft bench, & also led to the appearance of a towel-clad Tom Phipp – much to the delight of Terry & Mel!
Shortly after, the final whistle blew – to complete a memorable day and what I consider to be Margate’s best performance of the season so far – the result & effort from the side were nothing short of superb.
As the players came over to receive their well deserved applause & plaudits from the ecstatic Margate faithful, it really did complete what proved to be one of the best days I’ve ever had the fortune to enjoy.
With two midweek home games, here’s hoping Margate can continue in this vein of form – we face Met Police on Tuesday, before playing Grays Athletic on Thursday night – all this before another Essex trip at the weekend, where we come up against Canvey Island.
I’d like extend my thanks to everyone who participated in Sports Relief – whether that was the ladies match organised by Terry, or the leg waxing & raffle that was organised by Sarah Egan – with Michelle being the waxer of legs on the night. Every credit to you all, and I’m proud to be part of such a terrific group of fans & friends.
As always, the best way to finish the blog is with Terry & Mel’s Away Keeper Arse-O-Meter.
Terry & Mel’s Away Keeper Arse-O-Meter
“Wasn’t much of an arse, but he did have a bit of banter – 4 out of 10“