|Monday 16 August 2004||Nationwide South||Stephen McCartney reports from Colston Avenue|
Kinnear pleased with spirited display
RESILIENT Margate notched their first Nationwide South victory of the season at Colston Avenue on Monday night, pleasing manager Chris Kinnear.
After joining the Kent club in May 1996, KInnear admitted he has had an "unbelievable close season" after his club lost their Conference status despite finishing a creditable 16th place in the top flight of non-league football last season.
And after losing 3-2 to Bognor Regis Town on the opening day of the season, at their temporary home at Ashford Town's Homelands ground, the manager was pleased with the spirit shown from his players - many signed 24-hours before the start of the current campaign.
On losing his top flight status, Kinnear admitted: "I was devastated really. It was probably one of the worse feelings.
"If your team's not good enough, you hold your hands up. But when your team has finished 16th, another six points we would have been in the top ten. Those points were dropped in the middle of the Christmas and New Year period really.
"When we lost the chairman when he walked out, we run out of money in effect, if was the end for everybody.
"But we rallied round and we turned it around after the New Year and I think we lost only three games."
And after groundsharing at Dover Athletic's Hoverspeed Stadium for two years, Kinnear hopes it's not too long before the club return home to Hartsdown Park. In the meantime, however, Margate will be playing their games at Homelands, although Kinnear admitted, there is no place like home.
He added: "It is difficult - the pitch isn't as good as Dover's but we get on very well with the Ashford people, and the ground itself is a lovely ground.
"We are in affect the away side as well, and it took us two years to get used to Dover - we finished the season really well, but hopefully it doesn't take us two years playing at Ashford."
Playing Carshalton for the first time in competitive action, Margate will be pleased with their first half display, however, they denied the Surrey side three goals, with three goal-line clearances in the 34th, 56th and 79th minutes.
Margate's first of many first half chances came after ten minutes when Greg Oates planted a header, from Adrian Clarke's corner kick, inches wide of the right upright.
Four minutes later, Clarkes' 20-yard effort was plucked out of the air by Carshalton goalkeeper Stuart Searle, who was playing his 194th game for the Surrey outfit.
Margate goalkeeper, Scott Ward, who was snapped up from Dulwich Hamlet in the close season, denied Bill Harding in the 21st minute, after heading Matt York's free kick straight at the stopper.
The visiting strike partnership of Che Stadhart and Rocky Baptiste worked tirelessly throughout the 90 minutes and Stadhart headed Ward's clearance into Baptiste's path, and the striker who scored at Highbury for Farnborough Town in their FA Cup tie against Arsenal, lifted the ball over the crossbar from 18 yards.
Margate, however, did take a deserved lead on 30 minutes. John Keister played the ball to Baptiste down the right channel and after cutting inside, his fierce shot was blocked by a defender. Clarke picked up the loose ball and showed composure, placing his shot inside the bottom far corner from 19-yards.
Four minutes later, the home side had their first chance cleared off the line, when steady defender Bill Edwards, acrobatically cleared off the line when Ward was beaten.
Searle flew himself to his left in the 37th minute only to see Stadhart's 20 yard shot whistle narrowly wide of the post.
Margate had more chances before the break, but Searle got his body behind Oates' shot. However, Oates retrieved the loose ball and lobbed the ball into the far post and Clarke was unlucky not to add to his tally, crashing his shot into the side netting.
Whatever was said in the home dressing
room by manager Billy Smith, who watched the game beside the stand on the
opposite side of the dug-outs, had the desired effect.
The home side came out with more purpose, but couldn't find the back of the net, as Margate showed resilience, during the onslaught, and even created chances to secure the victory.
Carshalton play maker Sam Saunders audaciously tried a lob to beat Ward from 20-yards inside the first minute of the half, but his attempt went well wide.
Margate were almost gifted a second in the 55th minute, when York played a routine back pass to Searle, but his clearance was charged down by former Gravesend & Northfleet striker, Stadhart, only for it to roll wide of the post.
Despite the early pressure, the visitors had a respite, and in the 64th minute, Mark Green flashed a shot wide of the far post.
Twenty-eight-year-old Carshalton skipper, Danny Carroll, who has signed from Stevenage Borough in the close season, and has played for Farnborough Town, Crawley Town, Dulwich Hamlet and Bromley during his career, drilled a low shot wide from 20 yards, after receiving the ball from the right from Saunders.
Another long clearance from Ward was met by Baptiste and his flick set up Stadhart but the striker blasted over from 22-yards.
The home side applied the pressure for the remainder of the game, but couldn't find the finish to beat Ward.
However, Stadhart had a superb opportunity to wrap up the victory in the 85th minute.
Latching onto a defensive splitting low through ball from Baptiste, he only had the orange shirted goalkeeper to beat. Trying to go outside the goalkeeper, Searle managed to take the ball away from the striker, and his chance went begging.
Kinnear added: "We know Carshalton start quickly - but we started very quickly - and we should have had the game dead and buried in the first half - and at the end we had some good chances.
"I think they had 3 chances in the whole game, so we are pleased with the way we played."
Margate make the long trek to Dorchester Town on Saturday, and the Gate boss said: "It's important we try and get a result. We've lost a lot of players and we are just starting again, Dorchester, however are trying to build a side up."
"It's been an unbelievable close season," Kinnear admitted
He added: "It just shows the spirit of the lads, after we should have got something out of Saturday's game against Bognor Regis.
"Everything happened too quickly and the lads and me to be fair had our minds on other things, and we lost direction, but today with them focused, we looked the part."
Kinnear, however, admitted it will be a struggle playing home games at Ashford, but urges his fans to continue their fantastic support, during troubled times.
He said: "It's still going to be a bit of a struggle playing every game away from home, while all the things are being signed up, and hopefully, with the vision that we've got , we have a light at the end of the tunnel."
He insisted: "We will move on - we are still looking to sign one or two others, and we have just to keep looking."
Carshalton Athletic: Stuart Searle, Mark Costello, Peter Wood, Billy Harding, Sam Saunders, Gary Elliott, Danny Carroll (Capt), Matt York, Adrian Stone, Nic McDonnell (Kevin Cooper 71), Colin Hartburn. Subs: Marlon Patterson, Des Boateng, Dale Marvell, Chris Head
Margate: Scott Ward, Greg Oates, Mark Green, Bill Edwards, Aaron Barnett, Darren Annon (Capt), John Keister (Pat Gradley 76), Peter Benevides (Alexis Charalambous 81), Che Stadhart, Rocky Baptiste, Adrian Clarke. Subs: Ian Pulman, Moses Junju, Nejdet Hussien.
Referee: Mr B McLaren
Assistants: Mr P Costello & Mr G D Mays
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