Gravesend & Northfleet 1 Margate 0 - Daish: Jackson's injury takes shine off reaching final
GRAVESEND & NORTHFLEET 1
Luke Moore 20
Stephen McCartney reports from Stonebridge Road
John Ullman Kent Senior Cup Semi-Final
Favourites Gravesend & Northfleet booked their place in the John Ullman Kent Senior Cup final for the first time since 2002 - but their victory over Margate was marred by an injury to fans’ favourite Jimmy Jackson.
Fleet boss Liam Daish felt John Keister’s challenge on his midfielder was “not malicious”, after Jackson unleashed a fierce shot from 20-yards, which brought a fine save from Margate goalkeeper Charlie Mitten.
Although Jackson was stretchered off, Daish admitted after the game he doesn’t know the full extent of the injury.
“He’s gone off to the hospital in an ambulance and we’ll just wait to see,” he said.
“As I say it’s taken the shine off getting to the final because we all know what Jimmy means to this club, what he’s done for this club - but we’ll have more idea what happens (when we receive) the report from the hospital.”
The balance of power maybe heading back to Stonebridge Road. The Fleet lifted the Kent Senior Cup for three successive years before Margate dominance, when the Thanet side beat Welling United, Folkestone Invicta and Dover Athletic during a successive three year period.
But Margate’s players claimed goalscorer Luke Moore was “two or three yards offside” before scoring the only goal of the game in the 20th minute from 12-yards.
Margate manager Chris Kinnear said: “The lads are adamant, and I can’t see from the half-way line, but he was two or three yards offside.
“People down that side of the pitch said he was - but that was the only chance Charlie probably couldn’t get to, but that’s the way it goes.”
It was, however, the Ryman Premier League side that started brightly and they should have taken the lead inside the first four minutes.
Second choice goalkeeper Aaron Kerr denied Berti Brayley after defender Robert Watkins failed to cut out Danny Hockton’s low centre from the left.
But after Moore netted his fourth goal of the season, Bradley Johnson drove just wide of the left upright and he headed wide early in the second half.
Fleet striker Mark Rawle, whose on loan from Woking, was denied his third goal for the club after 56 minutes, after rifling the ball into the top far corner, Simon Finnegan’s offside flag was raised.
The Thanet side, however, created a couple of good second half chances to force extra time.
Hockton latched onto Keister’s ball over the top, leaving three defenders in his wake, but his right-footed shot from just outside the box went wide.
Then the highly-rated former Billericay Town striker was played in by Lawrence Yiga but this time he was denied by a smart save from Kerr.
Before those chances, at the other end, Watkins rose to head Ashley Fuller’s corner over the bar but Daish, who must take credit fielding strong sides in two of the three rounds, was pleased that his charges got through to the final.
“We’ve treated the competition, as it is a proper competition, and given it the most respect and (I’m) very pleased,” said Daish.
Praising his goalscorer, he added: “He’s put a lot of effort in and I’m glad he’s got his goal today because he works hard and it’s been a hard season for him. It’s his first season really playing against men.
Daish, however, felt his side didn’t perform well during the first half, but things improved later on.
“I was a bit disappointed first half, although we went a goal ahead,” he said. “I wasn’t really happy with the performance.
“The players weren’t happy and we had a chat and decided we needed to be a bit more positive and enjoy having the ball.
“I thought second half we looked a bit more positive and dangerous and controlled the game a lot better.”
Daish explained he has had to field strong sides against Dover Athletic and Margate as he has no other options.
“We’ve got to get a trophy,” he insisted. “We came very close last year. I’ve had no real choice with playing the players that I’ve got. We’ve treated it, against Dover and against Margate, with a bit of respect and we’re just glad to be in the final.”
Kinnear, meanwhile, admitted he was disappointed that their successful run in this competition has come to an end, having came against a Fleet side that made just four changes to the team that started their 2-0 Nationwide Conference win over Tamworth on Saturday.
“Disappointed but at time we played not bad, but other times we could have done a lot better,” he admitted.
“They weren’t that far from their full strength side but we’ve got a few experienced players in there as well.
“As I said to the lads, we’ve got some players that have played in the Conference already so they should try and compete at that level and there’s some that are very young that we’ve got that want to play in the Conference - so they’ve got to show that they can.
“As you say there wasn’t much difference, but it was a bad goal to give away and that seemed to win it didn’t it?”
* The other semi-final between Bromley and Ramsgate takes place at Hayes Lane on Tuesday, 4th April.
* The Fleet have today (Wednesday) issued the following statement concerning Jimmy Jackson. "The good news about Jimmy is that following his visit to the hospital last night, his leg is not broken but is badly bruised." www.kentishfootball.co.uk wish him a speedy recovery.
Gravesend & Northfleet: Aaron Kerr, James Smith, Robert Watkins, Scott Gooding, Jay Saunders, Bradley Johnson, Danny Slatter, Jimmy Jackson (Justin Skinner 79), Mark Rawle, Luke Moore, Ashley Fuller (Bobby Bowry 71)
Subs: Craig Holloway, Steve McKimm, Lee Protheroe.
Margate: Charlie Mitten, Greg Oates, Dean Standen, Bill Edwards, Robin Trott, James Donovan, John Keister, Lawrence Yiga, Bertie Brayley, Danny Hockton, Tom Ziepe.
Subs: Paul Egan, Ian Hilaire, Anthony Allman, Kola Okikiolu, Pat Gradley
Referee: Mr M McCoy
Assistants: Mr S Finnegan & Mr M Staveley