Bump And Grind
Saturday 16th August 2014
—Harrow Borough 1 Margate FC 2—
I can appreciate that on first glance, this blog title might seem a bit odd (or possibly remind readers of that well known R.Kelly hit from the mid-90’s!) but I honestly felt that this title was also a fitting way to describe Margate’s two victories this week, leaving us second in the table, with maximum points from our first three games of the season.
For the game away at Grays Athletic (who are currently groundsharing with Aveley) I was lucky enough to be given a lift there by Wendy & Chris.
On the train journey to Whitstable, where I was due to meet Wendy & Finney, the main highlights were the over-enthusiastic British Transport Police surrounding a passenger who hadn’t paid for a ticket before he boarded the train, and the change of the weather from bright and sunny, to a torrential downpour, all in about five minutes!
Luckily for me, Wendy was there almost as soon as I got off the train, which prevented me from getting soaked! After picking up Finney, we carried on our journey to Medway services, where we met Chris.
After some brief banter about Wendy’s understanding of a sat-nav (which I won’t mention any more about, in case it gets me into trouble!) we were in Essex in remarkable time – so much so that Chris had time to pop to the nearest McDonalds to grab him & Wendy some dinner – he kindly asked if I wanted anything, but I had to decline due to a crippling toothache – thankfully it faded later on in the night.
On arrival at Aveley, it was great to see a superb turnout from the Gate faithful – my guesstimate was a good 50+ Margate fans who had made the journey up to Essex, many of these being the usual suspects!
I enjoyed catching up with Mel and her husband Steve, and it was particularly reassuring to see Larry Lemur there, being our lucky away day mascot – before long, he was sporting a Margate FC shirt, which Wendy had kindly made for him!
Not so reassuring was the state of the pitch – it really did resemble a cabbage patch (and had a few bumps / crop circles thrown in for good measure) which would make for an extra challenge for Margate – the state of the surface not being conducive to our fluent passing game.
The game started with Gate on the front foot, against a physical Grays side – luckily, our nerves were settled with about twenty minutes gone, as Charlie Allen seized on a poor clearance & hit a superb half volley over the giant Grays custodian (out of fascination, I later asked him how tall he was, to which he replied that he’d tell me at half time – as soon as the whistle went, he grinned at me & said “6’7!” before dashing off to the changing rooms)
With Anthony Riviere sadly having to limp off, Lewis Taylor filled in at right back and did an excellent job – Grays weren’t just there to make up the numbers though, Nikki Bull and our defence had to be on their toes to ward off the threats of Joe Benjamin, and the pacy Freddie Lapapo.
Gate had their chances as well, the main one involving the Grays goalie keeping his wits about him, as Sam Rents attempted to beat him at his near post, after some excellent build up play.
Half time came and went, and with Grays getting back into the match, it was with an enormous amount of relief that Gate went 2-0 up, with Sam Rents beating the keeper with a well placed free kick, that was curled into the bottom corner.
Although Grays applied some late pressure, the Gate defence (well marshalled by Jamie Stuart & Brett Johnson) held firm, to earn a ground out win on an incredibly bumpy pitch (I’m hoping the blog title makes more sense now!)
The journey home (with Mel and Steve offering to drop me back off in Broadstairs) was a quiet and satisfied one, save for the occasional bullfrog-like belch from Steve (which he blamed on his pre-match burger earlier) and the odd bit of serenading from Dan Boyle, who gleefully informed me that he’d be looking forward to watching Strictly Come Dancing this year, due to Frankie from The Saturdays being on it – some things never change!
Mel and Steve were also kind enough to provide the keeper’s backside and burger review respectively – the marks are below.
Mel’s Away Day Keeper Arse-O-Meter
“Not a bad arse, he had a bit of banter too – 6 out of 10”
Steve’s Away Day Burger Review
“Awful – all I could taste was the burger sauce! 0 out of 10”
And so to Saturday, and another away day – this time travelling up to London to play Harrow Borough. Meeting Dan at Broadstairs station and hearing how much he enjoyed the latest Interseptors gig was a pleasure – for my part, I regaled him with a YouTube clip of a guy that does possibly the best Shaggy impression I’ve ever heard – I’ll let you be the judge!
This kept us entertained up until we reached Tivoli Park – where I sadly suffered my first ‘blonde moment’ of the day – I still maintain that the large amount of green and orange bibs hanging on a goalpost looked like our new mascot Margator, from a long distance away…
Once aboard the fully boarded coach, I was lucky enough to have Mel & Larry for company for the second time in a week – unfortunately, she had to put up with my brand of humour for most of the journey, but she displayed the patience of a saint, and she also had Mark Sandwell and his lovely wife to distract her from my attempts at one-liners – a godsend when we were unfortunately stuck in traffic on the M25!
This led to a decline in communications, as a bout of selfie-taking swept the coach, the results of which can be seen below
We eventually got to the ground at half 2 – again, there was a great turn-out of Gate fans at the game – what with the 30 hardy souls who travelled up by coach (kindly organised by the Margate Supporters Club and Bayliss Travel) a fair few had made the journey up by car and train, as well.
It didn’t seem long at all before the game kicked off (with Tony Tipple cocking an ear and remarking that he could hear a Terry Scott-like yell of encouragement, all the way from Cornwall) and Margate started really well – as Gate coach Simon Pridmore later observed, it really was like Harrow were chasing shadows, for the first twenty minutes.
There were various breaks in play, while Tony Tipple & Chris Miles’ son kindly retrieved the ball for the Harrow custodian, as well as an unfortunate injury to Harrow left-back Danny Dyer (yes, that really was his name – although I originally thought that was their right backs name – thankfully, Alan Anstice made light of the situation by telling the eye-rolling defender that I’m rubbish with numbers!)
Gate took the lead midway through the first half – Luke Williams being crudely upended by a Harrow defender, and Charlie Allen decided to enjoy himself by telling the keeper that he doesn’t normally take our penalties, but his name was drawn out of the hat, to the amusement of the Margate fans!
Whether this was true or not, we’ll never know – thankfully Charlie slotted his penalty home to put Margate 1-0 up, before casting an apologetic look at the keeper and telling him “Well, everyone gets lucky sometimes, don’t they!” – a true legend.
Margate were creating chances almost at will, but we seemed a bit shot-shy, much to the general ire of Terry Brown. As the half-time whistle blew, I must admit to wondering if our profligacy in front of goal would come back to haunt us in the second half.
Sadly, this proved to be the case, as Simeon Akinola equalised with a curling left-foot effort, which gave Nikki Bull no chance.
Gate’s sense of urgency was apparent for the rest of the half, but a mixture of poor final balls and wasteful finishing looked like it would be our undoing – however, our performance deserved more than a point, and this was rewarded in the luckiest of ways, as a Kane Wills shot took the cruellest of deflections off the Harrow centre back – this wrong-footed the opposition keeper completely, as with a resigned look, he saw the ball trickle into the net, for what proved to be the winning goal.
They all count, and none more so than this one – as the final whistle blew, it was with a sense of relief that the travelling Gate fans (easily over 50 in number yet again) applauded the players off the pitch – Jamie Stuart’s galvanising yells were a great sight as well – the Margate skipper had been superb throughout, and was definitely my Man Of The Match.
Before our return journey, there was just enough time for me to suffer my second ‘blonde moment’ of the day – attempting to board the players’ coach by mistake and encountering a rather confused looking driver!
(Hey, if a chap with this physique can play for Luton Town in League Two, there’s hope for me yet!)
On boarding the correct coach this time, it was a happy and in some cases, sleepy journey back – the crowning glory of the day was Harvey Lockwood being a gentleman and driving Andy Payne & myself to Margate & Broadstairs respectively, but not before playing ‘Sexy Back’ by Justin Timberlake – he truly is a man of eclectic music tastes!
As ever, I was lucky enough to get both backside & burger reviews – this time from Mel & Dan respectively.
Mel’s Away Day Keeper Arse-O-Meter
“Too young for arse-rating, but he was very vocal, for such a young man! 5 out of 10 for his confidence”
Dan’s Away Day Burger Review
“The meat was good, the buns could’ve been better, but overall it was nice – 7 out of 10”
I realise that this has been quite possibly the longest of rambles, but I’d like to finish by recording my thanks to the MSC Committee, who kindly invited me to their meeting last Thursday – it was thoroughly enjoyable, and I look forward to helping them and the club in any way I can.
With that said, the Committee have come up with an excellent idea to attract younger fans along to away games (Mini Shark Lads, I’m looking at you – it’d be great to have the Hartsdown Park atmosphere at away games too!)
The offer is detailed below, and I urge our younger supporters to take advantage of it – it really is a great price for a brilliant day out in the best of company – this before watching our beloved Margate FC take on teams at different grounds!
With two home games against Essex opposition in East Thurrock United and Billericay next week, before a Bank Holiday Monday trip to Lewes, here’s hoping that Margate can keep up their superb start to the season, with the more support, the better.
Up The Gate!