Feel Good Factor 5
Friday 25th July 2014
—Margate FC 5 Wolves 1—
After a hard-fought 3-2 victory at the Fullicks Stadium against Folkestone (highlights included a 30 yard thunderbolt from striker Luke Moore, and Ivesy asking if I was in a boy band – not to mention suggesting the blog title ‘Beer, Burgers & Backstreet Boys’)
Margate’s attentions turned to a glamorous Friday night fixture against Championship side Wolves.
Although the Midlands side bought down what amounted to their U21 team, I feel it’s worth mentioning that after glancing at the programme (another terrific read – thanks again to Jake Boyd, Gareth Anstice & Ryan Day!) that two of the players that lined up against us were ex-Barcelona youth players, and there was a youth player signed from Chelsea in the Wolves ranks as well – by no means an easy test for the Blues.
Walking up to the stadium in sweltering conditions is always a great way to start an evening – thankfully I had time to cool down & to chat to a young fan that was attending his first game at Hartsdown Park – I’m sure he enjoyed it!
After buying a programme, my next port of call was the club shop, where in an unusual display, I thought I’d treat myself to the new shirts for the season ahead – I really couldn’t resist the away shirt!
I bought both shirts in size L, only to discover that the home shirt was slim-fitting (and rather accentuated my portly figure) while the away shirt was loose-fitting, and made me look like I was wearing an American Football top, of some description.
Thankfully, the mother & daughter combo who work in the club shop (Sadly, I’ve not caught their names yet) were really helpful – I ended up with the right sizes in the end, and they honestly couldn’t have been more patient with me.
After that, I spent some time in the bar catching up with the usual suspects – Dan, who’d bought his grandad to the game, Stu, who was accompanied by both his dad & Shannon, & Mel, who had her husband Steve & Larry Lemur in tow – all this before Terry & Arthur turned up, too!
I was lucky enough to enjoy catching up with Rick as well – unfortunately I’d bought my dodgy cap yet again (it’s just to keep the sun off my head, honest!) but he was kind enough to pretend not to notice.
Before long, the ground was packed out – at the new-look Coffin End, a dapper cricket hat wearing Ivesy planted some mini blue & white chequered flags, to add to the general ambience!
The atmosphere really was amazing, and Margate couldn’t have given the 1,000+ crowd a better start, Jason Prior putting us 1-0 up within 30 seconds – sadly most fans (including myself) missed the goal due to the mad dash to the Coffin End, but luckily Dave Cocozza (no relation to X-Factor lothario Frankie, I’m told) had captured the goals in all their glory – it really was a composed finish by Jason, and it was great to see him get on the scoresheet.
Better still was to come, as some relentless Gate pressure saw us go 2-0 up, with Ryan Moss notching a well-taken header. Some of the football we were playing really was superb – a fast-paced passing game that was a joy to watch – even more so after Lewis Taylor added to his midweek goal against Folkestone – putting Gate three to the good after the young Wolves keeper could only parry a Ryan Moss shot into his path.
Wolves did pull a goal back just before half-time, Nikki Bull pulling off a superb save, only to see the rebound slotted in by one of the Wolves strikers – but as the half-time whistle blew, there were smiles all around Hartsdown Park (with the exception of the opposition keeper, who clearly didn’t appreciate my yell of “You’re pink, aggh!” – a reference to his rather garish keeper’s kit – as he took a goalkick earlier in the half)
With a melee of half time substitutions (Charlie Allen, who bowed to Anthony Riviere before giving the ball to him for a throw-in, in the first half being amongst them) Gate continued where they left off – constantly harrying the Wolves side & showing some superb attacking play.
This led to a penalty after a scorcher of a shot from Luke Williams rattled the bar, and one of the Wolves players tried to stop Zac Attwood heading in the rebound by parrying the ball away with his hand.
The aforementioned Allen stepped up, and blasted the ball past the helpless Wolves custodian to make it 4-1 to Margate.
In truth, the atmosphere by this point was like nothing I’d ever heard before – The Choir & Mini Shark Lads were belting out various Gate-related anthems with gusto, joined enthusiastically by stalwart fans such as Andy Payne & Chris Miles, to name just a couple!
(All credit to James Anderson / Thomas Brown / The Isle Of Thanet Gazette for the video clip below)
Zac Attwood rounded off the night in style, by curling the ball round the keeper after a mazy run to make it 5-1.
As the final whistle went, the Margate faithful serenaded the players & management – chairman Bob Laslett got a chorus of ‘Super Bob’ in both halves – & the Gate fans appreciation of the players effort & performance – which was well reciprocated by the players, as they applauded the crowd – just added to the feel good factor that is present amongst the club.
A fair few fans stayed behind in the bar to savour the night that little bit longer – it really had been a success both on & off the field – with the travelling Wolves fans being friendly & good humoured, not to mention the efforts of Sarah Egan & her staff being superb throughout the night – it truly is an honour to be a fan of such a friendly, well-run club.
Exciting times still lie ahead, as Margate take on Conference Premier side Barnet at Hartsdown Park tomorrow night, before defending the Thanet Cup against local rivals Ramsgate, at Southwood.
After those games have been & gone, we move on to the start of what looks to be a promising season!
Up The Gate!
*Match Highlights are below – all credit to Ryan Day / Dave Cocozza / Gate Player*