Monday 14th March 2005

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Margate face biggest League Cup test

MARGATE travel to former Southern League rivals Crawley Town to play for a place in the quarter-finals of the GLS Cup on Tuesday 15th March (7.45pm kick-off). The winners will be away to Stevenage Borough and just two games from the final, writes Steve Wells.

When the sides last met during the 2000/01 season, Margate took four out of points on offer with a 0-0 draw at the Broadfield Stadium and a 3-0 win at Hartsdown Park on the way to the Southern League title. Bill Edwards and John Keister are the only survivors in the Margate squad of that last encounter with the Reds.

Gate’s current league form looks good at Homelands, but less convincing away from home. Depending on whether you are a glass half full or half empty person, it is either just two defeats in 10 games in all competitions, or just one win in five Nationwide South league games.

Margate’s journey to the fourth round of the GLS Cup competition has seen them record wins over Welling, Thurrock and Dagenham & Redbridge. But away at Crawley could be their toughest test yet. And this could prove to be a match that Gate really don’t need right now – given fitness doubts over Greg Oates and John Keister (both flu) and Che Stadhart (dead leg). All three played at Hornchurch, with Oates particularly looking off the pace. A return to first team action looks to have been put on hold for midfielder Pat Gradley after picking up a knee injury in training.

Crawley made the fourth round of the competition following a 5-4 penalty shoot-out win over fellow Conference side Canvey Island after a goal-less 120 minutes. But the Reds fell at their second FA Trophy hurdle when Burton Albion ran out 1-0 winners at Eton Park in last Saturday’s 6th round tie. In the league, Crawley have performed well following their promotion from the Southern League. Currently 9th in the Nationwide Conference, the Sussex side have lost just twice at their Broadfield home this season. Current form sees them ranked 15 overall, but home form reveals a ranking of six – achieved by taking 13 from a possible 18 points including wins over Carlisle, Canvey, Tamworth and Morecambe.

Top scorers for the Reds are Alan Tait and Charlie Macdonald, with close to 20 goals between them. Tait is in his second spell with Crawley after playing for both Deal Town and Folkestone Invicta. MacDonald had a spell with Margate three season ago – scoring once. Two other Crawley players have Margate connections: Sean Hankin joined Margate from Torquay United for a short spell, before signing for the Reds in December 2003; and keeper Phil Smith signed from Margate in July 2004 after an impressive season with the Blues.


Crawley Town v Margate
GLS Cup Fourth Round
Tuesday 15th March 2005
Kick Off 7:45pm
at Broadfield Stadium, Brighton Road, West Sussex