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|Mike Green reports from Homelands|
|Sutton United||1||Watkins 34|
We make the walking wounded look fit - KInnear
A GAME of
two halves if ever there was one – the first simply dreadful; the second
pulsating – and all in all a decent afternoon to end a good week for Margate
After an opening half dominated by the weather – a strong swirling wind making football almost impossible – saw Sutton lead at the break.
Top scorer Craig Watkins prodded home his eighth of the season after a corner had been helped on eleven minutes from half time. Too often Watkins was too isolated up front, but really must be credited for his tireless endeavors.
How much I wonder did he miss the suspended former Dover striker Joff Vansittart?
After the break the wind dropped and the tempo upped, with Margate upping a gear. Top scorer Che Stadhart was denied by a magnificent save by Sutton keeper Phil Wilson low to his right, after Stadhart had been played through by Aaron Barnett.
The giant defender then went close himself – flicking on Greg Oates' free kick; beating the flailing keeper and the post.
Skipper Adrian Clarke, who by now was running the game from central midfield, then forced Wilson to make a brilliant save away to his left. The skipper rode three tackles and the sticky pitch to bring the very best out of the Sutton stopper.
Afterwards the skipper admitted that the midweek announcement had been such a relief, “We’ve now got players looking forward to next season rather than wondering what will happen. The past months have been tough, but the situation has helped us become a better team.”
Watkins went close to doubling the lead with a “Nayim” style lob from half way, before the home side were deservedly level on 79 minutes.
Oates swung over another free kick, and sub Darren Watson powered home the header to restore the smiles to the Margate faces. Smiles that very nearly were wiped away again as Chris Nurse's shot came back off the inside of the right post following a neat free kick move in stoppage time.
The main thing on Chris Kinnear’s mind afterwards was his hope that the club’s transfer embargo would be lifted before their long trip to Weston-super- Mare next week. “We were poor first half, but wasn’t the second half exciting? But then look at the players,” Kinnear said afterwards, “we make walking wounded look fit! Greg Oates shouldn’t have played, but we just keep patching them up and sending them out. We don’t know yet about Ross (Smith – who hobbled off after only a quarter of an hour), but considering Aaron’s only just come back at least we had some cover. I couldn’t even sign on my own son because of the embargo” he said laughing as Chris Junior joined us in the Homelands PA room. “We thought that the embargo was being lifted last week and it wasn’t – I just hope it is this week.”
But at the end of Margate’s joyous week, a defeat would have been unfair! Maybe their luck has changed after all…
Margate: Trego, Oates, Edwards, Keister, Smith (Barnett 15), Benevides, Charalambous, Clarke, Stadhart, Baptiste (Watson 72), Jjunju
Sutton United: WIlson, Gray, Scarborough, Quinton, Gonsalves, Brake, Nurse, Corbett, Honey, Akamoah, Watkins