Margate wary of Stones' striker Beckford

Friday 24th February 2006

Margate travel to Northwood to take on Wealdstone in the Ryman League Premier Division on Saturday, writes Steve Wells -

When the two sides met at Hartsdown Park back in October, the Blues recorded just their second win of the season – a result that took Gate up to 13th in the table and represented a nine game unbeaten run.

The Blues probably just did enough to merit the win, although the goal did come in controversial circumstances. Margate had the upper hand throughout most of the opening half, with the visitors creating a number of good chances in the second half that saw them adopt a more physical game-plan. But despite this, they couldn’t stop Margate taking a decisive the lead on 79 minutes.

Following a long clearance from the back, Adolph Amoako and Russell Ling both challenged for the ball. Amoako got there first – managing to get a foot to the ball ahead of the on-rushing keeper. The Margate striker managed to steer the ball goal wards and despite the desperate attentions of a covering defender the ball bounced over the line. Wealdstone players immediately surrounded the referee claiming the Margate man had unfairly challenged the keeper, but despite their protests the goal stood.

Gate are on a good run of form. In all competitions, Margate remain unbeaten in six games – with three wins and three draws. League form sees the Blues ranked 11 with two wins, three draws and just a single defeat. In fact, there is very little between the two sides. Wealdstone are just two places and two points ahead of Margate, so a win in Middlesex would see the visitors leapfrog their hosts.

Manager Chris Kinnear may well start with nine of the eleven that finished against Braintree in last week’s draw at Hartsdown Park. Hasim Deen could come back into the starting line up in place of Pat Gradley who limped out of last week’s game with a hamstring strain, and Bill Edwards misses out through suspension after his red card at AFC Wimbledon.

The Stones almost inevitably score – particularly at home, but they also have a tendency to concede, so this could be an entertaining encounter. Wealdstone’s current league form - nine points from a possible 18 from three wins - ranks seven, but is only ahead of Margate on goal difference. But the home side have won a greater proportion of their points away from their Northwood home, so it could be Margate that start as slight favourites.

But Margate will be wary of Jermaine Beckford. The former youth team player is the Stones’ top scorer this season and has attracted the interest of Reading and QPR.