Monday 25th August 2014
—Lewes 1 Margate FC 5—
Firstly, I’d like to thank Terry Scott for her help with the latest blog title – with my mind and imagination slightly frazzled by a long day out and a celebratory kebab, she kindly stepped into the breach, & gave me some inspiration.
My Bank Holiday started in familiar fashion – meeting Dan Boyle at Broadstairs station, while silently hoping the game would still be on, owing to the rain in Sussex (and pretty much everywhere else – two Ryman Premier games were postponed yesterday – Kingstonian v VCD, and Met Police v Hampton & Richmond)
Compared to recent excursions, the journey up to Hartsdown Park was pretty uneventful, if truth be told – this mainly owed to us not carrying Gary Gator (Terry kindly offering to escort him) and me not mistaking any bibs on goalposts for Margator.
We were grateful to board the very executive-looking coach, and get in out of the rain – there was a brilliant turnout of fans on there, as the coach was pretty full – although credit to Terry for landing Gary Gator a seat – he had a better view than I did!
As we left at half 11, we were barely into our journey (although there was still time for Ted Pittman to do the football team scratchcard draw, and be accused of fixing it by the otherwise jolly chaps known as Luke, Brad, Justice & a guy who I only ever heard addressed as ‘The Major’ – all top blokes though) when disaster struck.
A loud bang was heard as we were leaving Thanet, which left many of us puzzled – my first guess was that either Rik Waller (or the slightly portly lady from TOWIE* that reminds me of Miss Piggy) had spontaneously combusted.
* Disclaimer – I don’t watch the aforementioned show*
Sadly, it turned out to be coach related – I’ve forgotten the details already, but I think it might’ve had something to do with a gasket.
Either way, the end result was that we had to spend some time at Farthing Corner services in Medway, while a replacement coach came to meet us.
This appeared in what seemed like no time at all, leading Luke & Brad to loudly wonder if it was being driven by The Stig, of Top Gear fame.
And so our journey continued, with Terry continuing to look for llamas, and Ted (allegedly) yet again fixing the scratchcard results.
In all the excitement, by not looking at my phone for a while, I had missed out on the thrilling adventures of Ivesy, Alex & Sarah, who were making the journey up by train – with a beach ball that Ivesy had purchased, seemingly on a whim.
Within no time at all, the beach ball had managed to commandeer Ivesy’s phone, and create itself a Twitter account – some of its adventures and meanderings are detailed below.
As the beach ball enjoyed a morning beer and meeting MFC Chairman Bob Laslett, we continued to make our way into Sussex – although time was sadly not on our side, and the weather appeared to be worsening outside, leading to speculation that we might miss the kick-off.
Thankfully this wasn’t the case, as we arrived at 2:45, at a rather wet Dripping Pan – home of Lewes FC.
Making our way down the rather steep terracing, Terry kindly entrusted me with looking after Gary Gator, while she took the chance to grab a well deserved beer and a burger.
Yet again, there was an incredible turn-out of Gate fans – by my estimate, I’d say between 80 and 90 hardy souls made the journey to Sussex – these included Stu, George & their respective dads – George’s dad Nik showed me his purchase of a drum, but sadly remarked that it didn’t come with drumsticks – however he improvised superbly with his umbrella!
Martin Parrish was also there with his family, and a mini version of Gary Gator, who definitely looked the business – there was even time for a couple of Gator selfies before kick-off!
As the teams came out, cheered on by the vociferous Gate faithful, before long we were underway.
It must be said that I don’t have fond memories of The Dripping Pan – purely because a nonsensical decision early on in this fixture last season reduced us to ten men, and we ended up losing 3-0.
Thankfullly, within five minutes, these memories were starting to be erased, as a clinical finish from goal machine Ryan Moss put us 1-0 up – sadly, this was cancelled out about five minutes later, as some slack defending allowed a Lewes Fellaini lookalike to equalise.
Despite the conditions, Gate were continuing to play their brand of stylish passing football, and we deservedly went 2-1 up, with Moss again on the scoresheet, after expertly flicking home Kane Wills’ well placed free kick.
Controversy was to follow after, as Lewes this time were reduced to ten men – their number 4 being perhaps harshly dismissed for a professional foul – the referee seemed to play advantage as Jason Prior managed to stay on his feet, but eventually pulled play back and sent the protesting defender off.
This only added to Margate’s domination (and obligatory chanting of ‘Super Bob’) at a cheerful and dapper Mr Laslett, although we couldn’t turn our possession and chances into goals, as the half-time whistle blew.
Nonetheless, it was a very happy Gate crowd that made their way to elsewhere in the stadium to watch the second half – most of the sensible Margate faithful took cover in the seated area, but exhilarated at being 2-1 up (that’s my excuse, anyway!) I made my way to the uncovered terrace behind the goal, with Terry, Gary and what ended up being a large number of hardy souls.
I must confess to being slightly worried about us throwing away our lead again, although Charlie Allen eased these fears, as he shot through a defenders legs past an unsighted, surly and short-sleeved Lewes custodian to put us 3-1 up.
By now, Ivesy reckoned, it was time to bring out the aforementioned beach ball.
Sadly, those who live hedonistic lifestyles seem to die by the sword (or in this case, the dog) as Finney mistook the ball for a tasty treat, and promptly deflated it with her teeth.
I decided to serenade our inflatable friend with a ditty of my own making, entitled ‘Viva The Beach Ball’ but this seemed a hollow gesture – nonetheless, the words are included below for your pleasure (or anguish!)
“Viva the Beach Ball
Viva the Beach Ball
It was Ivesy’s joy
But it got destroyed
Viva the Beach Ball”
(I’m available for weddings, birthdays & bar mitzvahs, should you need me!)
Fortunately, our midfielder Tom Phipp distracted the Gate fans from my singing with a superlative effort that flew into the top corner, to put Margate 4-1 up.
By now, although it continued to pour down, it didn’t dampen our spirits, with Ivesy, Nik, George & Stu dictating various tunes, accompanied by the drum – Brad, Luke et al were welcome accompaniments, as well as Terry’s patented Banshee Shriek!
The rest of the game seemed to finish at a canter – I even had time to point out some corporate beach huts to Terry (I’ve got to say, I like the way Lewes think!)
There was still time for Ryan Moss to crash in a superb strike, following a beautiful assist from Ivesy, to make it 5-1 for the second game in a row.
As the final whistle went, I felt confident enough to start rubbing my hands together and plan my roly-poly down one of the grass banks – an ambition which I had informed many people of – unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to do this due to health and safety reasons (although the Lewes chap did cast me a sympathetic look – I like to think he understood my disappointment!)
I was also foiled on another ambition, as the electronic scoreboard was promptly reset at full time – fortunately Don Walker came up trumps again, with another terrific photo!
After a brief sojourn in the bar for many of the Gate supporters, I was lucky enough to catch up with Gareth and Alan Anstice, as well as meet a couple of really friendly and good-natured Lewes fans – I wish them all the best for the season (apart from when they visit Hartsdown Park, of course!)
To say it was an elated and musical coach back would be an understatement – with Andy Payne leading chants of “We are top of the league, say we are top of the league!” (accompanied by a couple of the younger lads screeching “Say whaaaat?” as well as indulging in some toilet karaoke, it made for a cheerful journey back – and hearing that the unholy trinity of Maidstone, Dover & Ramsgate had all lost really did top it off – not to mention the gingerbread man that Terry kindly gave me!
I’d like to thank Terry & Andy Payne for helping Dan and I get back to Broadstairs, via cab – as well of course, the Margate Supporters Club & Bayliss Travel for an amazing day out, in the best of company.
Apart from providing Terry’s buttock & burger reviews, what else is there to say but…
Up The Gate!
Terry’s Away Day Keeper Arse-O-Meter
“I’d say about a 5, as he didn’t really have a huge amount of banter – what WAS with those sleeves?! 5 out of 10”
Terry’s Away Day Burger Review
“Burger was very tasty, and prepared with somewhat of a flourish – excellent cheese (might have been Emmental?) Salad was good, and the gherkin was a nice added touch – 9.5 out of 10”