Margate 2-0 Herne Bay - Margate boss Steven Watt: There's always a non-league success story - why can't it be us?

Saturday 30th September 2017
Margate 2 – 0 Herne Bay
Location Hartsdown Park, Hartsdown Road, Margate, Kent CT9 5QZ
Kickoff 30/09/2017 15:00

The Emirates FA Cup Third Qualifying Round
Saturday 30th September 2017
Stephen McCartney reports from Hartsdown Park

MARGATE boss Steven Watt says he wants the club to be the non-league success story in The FA Cup after booking their place in the Fourth and Final Qualifying Round for the third successive season.

Both Kent coastal clubs went into this FA Cup tie with 15 points on the board from their opening eight league games, although ninth-placed Bostik South side Herne Bay gave seventh-place Bostik Premier hosts Margate a scare in the first half.

Herne Bay were the better side before the interval as they played an impressive passing game on the artificial pitch, although they only called Margate goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley into making one real save.

Margate upped their performance for the second half and broke Herne Bay’s hearts courtesy of two goals in five minutes.

An unlucky own-goal was scored by visiting goalkeeper Benjamin Hunter after Jordan Chiedozie twice hit the woodwork from a corner, before the Margate striker notched his sixth goal of the season on the break to extend Margate’s unbeaten run to nine games and are now 90 minutes away from reaching the First Round for the first time in 15 years.

“Yes, good, through to the next round, another win, another clean sheet,” said Watt afterwards.

“We were made to work for it. The boys have come off the back of two very, very tough games in the league and one being Wednesday night away to Leatherhead, so we’ve got to be pleased.

“We tried to stress the importance of starting fast, the players just needed time to get into the game today.  I mean there were a few leggy players out there but what this team does, it restricts teams, it frustrates teams and it restricts them to very little opportunities and I think that’s what we did today.  We kept ourselves in the game and with the quality we have up front, we were always going to score goals.”

Herne Bay joint-manager John Embery, who runs the side alongside Jermaine  Darlington, said: “We was unlucky in the first half. We controlled the game, done really, really well.

“I thought we should’ve had a penalty, my only gripe of the first half was that we didn’t get enough shots in. We got into great areas and we over-played a little bit in front of the keeper where we really should’ve pulled the trigger.

“First half, it was pretty much one-way traffic but they couldn’t deal with us because we were moving the ball well. We went about things in the right way. We just kept it down, kept us playing, kept the good decisions. We should’ve gone in front but that’s football.”

With both clubs only 12 miles apart, Margate attracted their largest crowd of the season as 1,009 fans flocked through the turnstiles and the Margate faithful will be hoping their side can get through one more game after losing to Forest Green Rovers and Harrow Borough at the final hurdle.

“Hopefully, third time lucky for the club. It’s been 15 years since we were last there, made the first round proper, here’s hoping,” said Watt.

“Hopefully the draw is kind on Monday and gives us another winnable tie and who knows?

“I said to the boys before the game started, there’s always a success story with a non-league club each year and I put a question to the players today, why can’t it be us?”

Herne Bay’s only shot on target arrived with 118 seconds on the clock.

They like to play the ball out from the back and Jack Stevenson, who was on the right of three central defenders, collected the ball in midfield before running forward with the ball before forcing Pidgeley to step to his left to push the shot around the post from 20-yards.

Embery said: “It was a good effort to be fair but I do feel that we had other times where we had better options, better opportunities and we didn’t pull the trigger so that was a personal gripe for me today, that we got into some great areas and didn’t hit the target enough.”

Watt said: “Look, it’s something that we spoke about, their centre halves are capable to come out with it and Jack’s done well and stepped in but it’s an effort from 20-yards that I expect Lenny to save comfortably.

“That’s the only shot I can remember him saving in the first half really, there were no other shots, no other opportunities really.

“There were some good exciting play and they got into some good areas but the way we look defensively we matched and nullified opportunities on our goal and it was important we got to half-time so we can re-energise the players and we got the win.”

Five-goal Margate striker Frannie Collin whipped his right-footed free-kick towards the near corner from 35-yards, but Hunter dived to his right to tip the ball around his post.

“Great effort from Frannie, he’s capable of putting the ball in the net from anywhere,” said Watt.

“A lot of people were expecting him to cross but it was a great effort. It’s a great save from the keeper again, it was on target.  Their keeper did well, he made two or three good saves.”

One of those surprised was Embery, who added: “It was a good save, it was a good free-kick. It was a long way out his free-kick, he’s bent it, it was decent and I was surprised to be fair. It was a decent strike, the keeper’s six foot eight, he’s stretches brilliantly, his athletic and he’s pushed it around the post.”

Herne Bay then took control of the game – but they failed to score during their dominant spell.

Steventon played a diagonal ball out of defence, the ball was chested down by striker Jake Embery and Junior Efosa Aikhionbare’s left-footed low shot from 20-yards lacked conviction and rolled into the keeper’s hands.

Embery saw his side buzz around the Margate penalty area on many occasions during the first half but Pidgeley watched on without being tested.

Embery said: “That was one of those things but you’ve got to take all the good things from what we’ve done. 

“We’re a young group and they’ve stepped up to a higher league today and we’ve shown them that we can easily be at that level.”

There was no gulf in class during the first half and Herne Bay went close again in the 27th minute.

Left wing-back Nassim Dukali played the ball into Aikhionbare, who let the ball roll across him before Bradley Shafer, Tom Carlton and Danny Leonard all linked up outside the box and set-up Dukali, who curled his shot around the far post from 18-yards.

Collin was left in despair after he was booked for diving in the 33rd minute.

Winger Dave Martin split the defence with a low pass, Collin skipped past keeper Hunter and went to ground outside the box and referee Jacob Miles pulled out a yellow card for the Margate striker.

“I’d love to see it again,” added Watt.

“My initial reaction was Frannie’s a player that prides himself on goals. He scored 33 last season. My argument to the linesman (Jamie Wells) was why would he not tap the ball in the back of the net? I didn’t understand it.

“I’ve played with Frannie many, many times and I’ve known him for years and he’s not that type of player that goes down easily, especially when he’s going to roll the ball in the empty net.

“If I’m being honest, the ref got it wrong again. I’ve got to see it again knowing the character Frannie is, he wouldn’t go down in that situation.”

Embery added: “He’s been booked for diving and our goalkeeper’s honest. He didn’t make no contact with him whatsoever. He said his touch was over-hit and he just dived over him.”

Martin whipped in a free-kick towards the bottom near corner from 28-yards from the left, which Hunter initially spilt before gathering the loose ball at his near post.

Steventon threw the ball down the right channel for right wing-back Shafer, who shrugged past Martin, before he cut the ball back to Steventon, to whip in a cross and Jake Embery’s overhead kick from a couple of yards inside the penalty area bounced harmlessly wide.

But Herne Bay had claims for a penalty turned down on the stroke of half-time.

Dukali cut towards the corner of the penalty area and it was a borderline decision whether Tom Wynter made contact inside or outside the penalty area.  The referee chose the easier option and awarded Herne Bay a free-kick, which Tom Carlton swung in and skimmed the top of the far post.

Embery said: “He was in the box, even their manager said to me ‘that was in the box.”

“We had one in the second half as well, which was even more in the box from Jake (Embery).

“These things happen, referees have to make a split decision. It’s hard for them at times.

“If we had gone in 1-0 at half-time, I think we would’ve won the game, simple as that. That would’ve been game over for them.

“I think when we get in front we’re very good at putting more pressure on and I just think even if we had got back to 1-1 it still would’ve given us that mental belief that we’re still in the game. We can nick one and we’ll win the game so I think I would’ve fancied us to win it, if we had scored a goal at that time.”

Watt, inevitably said: “I didn’t think it was a free-kick, I think he just ran into Tom.  He just ran into bodies and it happened later in the game as well.  I thought the ref was very, very weak in that respect.

“I thought he knocked the ball in between two players, he was never going to get on the end of it. He just ran into the back of Tom Wynter.  I didn’t understand the free-kick at all.  I didn’t think it was a penalty or a free-kick, it was neither.  It was just good defending so these decisions go for you, or go against you at times, but luckily enough it wasn’t a penalty.”

Both managers were asked what they told their players inside the dressing room at the break.

“Nothing really, the players knew. I didn’t have to go in and lose temper, it wasn’t that type of situation,” said Watt.

“I stressed the players have had a very, very tough week, they’ve had two tough games and we have to take that into consideration at half-time.

“We re-energised the players and reinforced and made a tactical change and I think it gave us a platform then to go on and win the game.

“Chris Sessegnon had a knock on his knee so we looked to protect his knee today. I just felt there was nothing against Liam Friend, I thought Friendy had a good half.  I think he’s been brilliant for us this season, he’s been fantastic.

“We needed that little bit more aggression back there a little bit more of that final third defending, which Sessegnon does ever so well and Tom Wynter as well.

“I think their most dangerous player in the first half was Nassim Dukali. I think Sessegnon completely nullified him second half and he didn’t do much at all.”

The Herne Bay boss replied: “Not a lot, just keep doing what you’re doing. Other than that when you’re in the right areas, take shots.  There were too many times when we’re just overplaying in front of goal. If you have your shots away we can win this game. That was pretty much how we felt.

“They tried to double up on Nassim because he was tearing them to pieces and they had to deal with him and they put Sessegnon on and he’s a big lad and he’s quite strong.

“We’re a young side and we’ve got to start understanding if that happens and they start doubling up, we just have to keep it one-two touch because if you keep it moving and keep it away from you, you get two players on one, we should have the spare player on the park elsewhere that we should be able to use and manipulate on the park, which we didn’t do well enough.”

Margate could not afford to repeat their poor first half showing in the second half and Watt made a tactical substitution which paid off.

Central defender Liam Friend was substituted and Chris Sessegnon added steal at right-back, while, Wynter slotted in beside Ben Swift at the heart of defence.

It had the desired effect as Margate woke up from their sleep and showed exactly why they are in a higher league.

Swift hung a free-kick into the Herne Bay box, the ball was knocked down by Chiedozie but Martin smashed his volley high over the bar from 15-yards.

But Margate made the breakthrough, taking the lead with seven minutes and 22 seconds on the clock.

Collin swung in a corner from the left towards Wynter’s head at the far post and Chiedozie’s header came back down off the crossbar before Chiedozie’s shot bounced off the same post and bounced off Hunter’s back and rolled over the line for an own-goal.

Ryan Day, the public address announcer, gave the goal to Chiedozie and so did his manager - but when a shot comes back of the woodwork and hits the goalkeeper and goes in, it can only be classed as an own-goal.

“I think it’s Jordan’s goal,” said Watt, who then explained how the ball went in.

“Jordan has two shots at it, he hits the bar with the initial header, it falls down and then he gets another shot, which I believe goes off the keeper then off the post and in, so I think Jordan will maybe have an argument there whether it’s an own-goal or not.

“Certainly from my side it’s Jordan’s goal because he has the second crack at the cherry but great delivery, a great header from Tom and that’s what Jordan does, he's lively in and around the box and he scores goals.”

Embery added: “It hit the post, came back and hit the goalkeeper on the back and went in, it was an own-goal.

“That happens, it’s just a kick in the, I won’t say it, proverbials, nether regions. That’s what happens, that’s your luck, that’s the FA Cup for you. There’s not a lot you can do about it.  But that’s football, you’ve just got to bounce back.

“You’ve just got to try to get back on the game and concentrate and focus on getting back into it, which we did do.

“We had a five minute period after they scored, we were a bit scrappy but after that I thought we were good again.”

Margate doubled their lead with 12 minutes and 52 seconds on the clock, which killed off Herne Bay.

Dukali looked to break down the left but he was robbed off the ball by Sessegnon, who released Collin down the right channel.  The striker cut into the box and instead of shooting, he rolled the ball across for Chiedozie to rifle his first-time drive into the roof of the net from 10-yards.

“That’s what Sessegnon does, that’s why he’s been brought on, to win that ball back, to be aggressive, which he did. He plays it into Frannie, that’s what Frannie Collin does, he makes great decisions in great areas.  Lesser players, lesser strikers go for glory themselves in that instance and have a shot but he saw Jordan in a much better position and just past the baton for Jordan to be the hero today.

“Sessegnon has got immense credit for the goal but again Frannie equally, his decision in the final third to help us go 2-0 up.”

Embery added: “Nass got caught and they punished us. We’re all going the other direction, there’s not a lot he can do about that. We’re very attacking so we commit bodies forward and when we made a bad decision we’re almost a three-on-three and they’re running at our back three and they pulled the ball across and finished.”

Margate were now in full control of the game and used their experience as Herne Bay’s youngsters couldn’t get past a, now solid Margate outfit.

Orlando Smith cut the ball back for James Rogers to cross for an unmarked Martin, who guided his free header past the far post from 10-yards, before the former Bromley winger was substituted.

Lee Prescott floated a free-kick into Herne Bay’s penalty area and Hunter caught Wynter’s looping header at the halfway point.

Rogers fed Smith down the left and he cut inside and tried to bend his curling shot into the bottom near corner, but Hunter got his large frame down swiftly low to his right to tip the ball behind for Margate’s fifth corner.

“That was a good save, he jinked inside, he’s hit the ball well and it was a good shot, but a good save, the keeper done what he’s needed to do,” added Embery.

“I thought second half we completely nullified everything they had. It was a comfortable afternoon,” said Watt.

“It was a shame we didn’t do that from the start. If we got an early goal, we could’ve got a lot more but we should have scored four or five goals. It would’ve been harsh on Herne Bay, give them credit, I thought they done well but when you look at actual chances created I think we created a hell of a lot of chances today and deserved more goals.”

Collin over-hit the resulting corner, the ball was retrieved by Wynter and his deep cross was headed wide by Swift.

Herne Bay missed a glorious chance to make the final nine minutes interesting.

Connor Wilkins played the ball into Aikhionbare, who shrugged off Tom Mills down the right and cut inside before drilling a low right-footed angled drive, which flashed across goal and past the far post.

“He’s done every so well but he’s got to hit the target,” came Embery’s response to a great chance.

Margate substitute Harry Stannard cut in from the left and cleared the crossbar from just inside the Herne Bay penalty area.

Stannard then put Collin through, but the ball got stuck unbeaten his feet and his left-footed shot sailed into Hunter’s hands for a comfortable catch.

Tricky Herne Bay striker Aikhionbare got in down the left channel and cut the ball back from the by-line but Carlton lacked composure to sky his right-footed shot over the crossbar from the edge of the D.

Herne Bay suffered another borderline penalty decision when Smith appeared to have tripped Jake Embery inside the penalty area after the striker cut in from the left.

“It was inside as well on Jake. He’s come inside, he’s got the ball on the corner, and he’s gone past the pair of them and he’s tripped him and he’s gone down.

“Two massive decisions. I thought the second one was more, from where we were, the second one was more in the box than the first but the first one was in the box, I thought the second one was a good yard in the box.”

Margate continued to carve out chances as the game reached its climax.

Collin hooked his shot into Hunter’s hands from 25-yards before substitute winger Matt Bodkin hit a right-footed drive towards the top right-hand corner, which Hunter palmed over the crossbar, high to his left.

“That’s going to happen, we’re chasing the game and we have to get back in because we’re behind so we have to commit bodies forward so we’ve got to take it that we are going to be left open and chances are they’re going to have another opportunity,” said Embery.

The 24 National League club’s (including Bromley, Dover Athletic, Ebbsfleet United and Maidstone United) come into the FA Cup in the next round, while Margate are joined by Dartford and Folkestone Invicta in the Final Qualifying
Round in two weeks’ time.

“A home winnable draw would be good,” said Watt.

“There’s some fantastic clubs come into the mix now, with some great ties away, like big, big clubs, National League clubs which enter now, which would be fantastic but on the other hand you’re 90 minutes away from the first round proper, so it’s a stage this club has been starved of that success for the last 15 years and hopefully we can be the squad that gives them that and the squad
that rewrites history at Margate and we can reach that first round.”

Margate travel to eleventh-placed Tonbridge Angels on Tuesday, while Herne Bay host third-placed Sittingbourne on the same night and Herne Bay folk should attend the game at Winch’s Field to watch a decent, passing side of talented young players, ironically, many are playing against their former club.

Margate have now banked a total of £15,000 after beating East Grinstead Town (3-1) and Kings Langley (1-0) and Herne Bay, while the Bay defeated Chessington & Hook United (2-1), Walton Casuals (3-1) and Horsham (5-2), banking them £9,425 in prize money.

Embery said: “It’s been a good run and it’s good for the lads because they’re only young and most of them haven’t probably played in front of a thousand people before so that’s good for their careers moving forward and getting used to playing in that atmosphere and that amount of people watching.”

Margate: Lenny Pidgeley, Tom Wynter, Tom Mills, James Rogers, Liam Friend (Chris Sessegnon 46), Ben Swift, Orlando Smith (Matt Bodkin 90), Lee Prescott, Jordan Chiedozie, Frannie Collin, Dave Martin (Harry Stannard 67).
Subs: Patrick Lee, George Brown, Jack Bray, Seth Crabbe

Goals: Benjamin Hunter 53 (own goal), Jordan Chiedozie 58

Booked: Frannie Collin 33, Tom Wynter 45, Orlando Smith 88

Herne Bay: Benjamin Hunter, Bradley Schafer (Ryan Catmull 82), Raphe Brown, Connor Wilkins, Jonathan Richardson, Jack Steventon, Tom Carlton (Jarred Trespaderne 90), Danny Leonard (Josh Wisson 82), Jake Embery, Junior Efosa Aikhionbare, Nassim Dukali.
Subs: Danny Rumbol, Harry Farls, Alex Mulrooney-Skinner, Jardel Bunds Kamara

Booked: Connor Wilkins 68

Attendance: 1,009
Referee: Mr Jacob Miles (Peacehaven, East Sussex)
Assistants: Mr Jamie Wells (Worthing, West Sussex) & Mr David Ellis (Portslade, East Sussex)

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