Wingate & Finchley 1-3 Margate - We're having a season where we're kind of midtable so why not go half strong and try to win some games of football, says Margate boss Jay Saunders

Tuesday 21st January 2020
Wingate & Finchley 1 – 3 Margate
Location Summers Lane, Finchley, London N12 0PD
Kickoff 21/01/2020 19:45

Velocity Trophy Knockout Stage Two
Tuesday 21 January 2020
Stephen McCartney reports from Summers Lane

MARGATE manager Jay Saunders says he is pleased to get through to the Quarter-Finals of the Velocity Trophy following a comfortable win over struggling Wingate & Finchley.

Margate went into this League Cup tie sitting in thirteenth-place in the Isthmian League Premier Division table with 30 points from 24 games, while Spencer Knight’s side are rooted to the foot of the table with 13 points from 25 games.

Wingate & Finchley beat Bowers & Pitsea 2-0 in the First Stage, while Margate thrashed Carshalton Athletic 5-0 at Hartsdown Park.

Saunders made five changes to his starting line-up after coming away from Bishop’s Stortford with a 2-2 draw at the weekend, while Wingate & Finchley made eight changes to their side that lost 3-2 at Carshalton Athletic and this defeat extends their winless run to 11 games.

Margate completely dominated the first half and only had one goal to show for their efforts with winger Kadell Daniel lashing the ball in following a corner.

Daniel scored a classy goal to put Margate into a two-goal lead early in the second half to notch his 11th goal of the season before striker Noel Leighton drilled in his 11th goal of the season to send Saunders’ men through.

Wingate & Finchley had centre-half Alieu Njie sent-off with 10 minutes remaining after picking up his second yellow card from referee Joseph Gray, before the home side scored a deserved late consolation through a tap-in from substitute midfielder Charlie Ruff to score his eight goal of the season.

“Pleased to get through. I thought it was a little bit more comfortable than the scoreline sorts of says, especially first half we really dominated,” said Saunders.

“Second half we maybe took our foot of the gas a little bit and let them back into the game.  It looked when we need to step it up a gear, we could.

“I know Wingate mixed it up a little bit and we gave people some minutes that needed minutes, the likes of Ben Swift, Jordan Robins and people like that so all in all pleased to score some goals and get through.”

When it was put to Saunders that he is taking the League Cup seriously, by sending a strong side to Summers Lane, he replied: “It’s two reasons. One, we haven’t got the squad to make loads of changes so the ones that didn’t start the game (on Saturday). 

“We’re missing Kieran Monlouis, he just took a knock on Saturday, nothing serious but at the same time I didn’t want to risk him. Jordan Robins needed minutes after a long injury lay-off; Michael Abnett has been out and I thought he was excellent tonight so it was an opportunity to give some of the boys some minutes.

“Listen, I won this before when it was the Ryman League Cup (while I was Maidstone United’s manager) and I just think we’re having a season where we’re kind of midtable so why not go half strong and try to win some games of football. I think people need to get some consistency in their game so hopefully you give them a chance and we get that.”

Margate signalled their intent after just two minutes and 36 seconds when a big kick from goalkeeper Joe Tupper was flicked on by a towering Leighton but the ball bounced harmlessly wide of the right-hand post.

Margate produced a slick passing move down the right involving striker Roman Campbell, midfielder Jordan Robins and winger Daniel, before Robins floated a deep cross into the box but a towering header from Leighton from eight-yards out was comfortably plucked out of the air by debutant goalkeeper Jake Edwards-Alley.

“First half especially, I thought we played some good stuff,” said Saunders.

“With Noel and Roman up there, they’re aerially a threat and they’re both good technically as well.  I thought we made some good patterns, maybe should’ve done better with the header but it was a good move.”

Edwards-Alley, 18, who was making his debut having arrived on loan from Ipswich Town, produced a brilliant save to frustrate Margate at the halfway mark.

Daniel easily skipped past Wingate & Finchley centre-half Sean Grace before slipping the ball into striker Campbell, who cut inside to curl a beautiful left-footed shot towards the top far corner from 15-yards, only for Edwards-Alley to dive high to his right to push the ball over the bar with a strong right-hand.

“A good save! I’ll be honest when it left Roman’s foot I thought that was a goal and with Roman unfortunately tonight, he could’ve played until tomorrow and not got his goal,” said Saunders.

“Like I just said to him in there, I’m not too worried with that. His effort was there and he got into some good positions and on another day he probably ends up with two or three goals.”

However, Margate took a deserved lead, from the resulting corner, with 22 minutes and 46 seconds on the clock.

Left-winger Adem Ramadan, who took all of Margate’s nine corners (the home side also won nine corners) and he swung the ball in from the left towards the near post and Leighton’s bullet-header from eight-yards was parried by the keeper and Daniel pounced to lash his right-footed shot into the top right-hand corner.

Saunders said: “I’ve been disappointed lately with our set-piece delivery. I thought it was a good ball from Adem.  The first one he took tonight he hit the first man but it’s a good ball into the box and I think Noel has to score to be honest. Normally Noel in the six-yard box with his head will put that away but he didn’t but what was pleased Kedell was quick to react to it and get us a goal.

“I thought at that point we might get two or three in the first half but it wasn’t to be. It was nice to get a goal and give us that little cushion and it allowed us to put relax a little bit and play some good stuff.”

Robins played the ball out to Ramadan, who cut the ball onto his right-boot before whipping in a cross for centre-half Ben Swift to jump up and send his free-header over the crossbar from eight-yards at the far stick.

Edwards-Alley pulled off his second great save for the home side in the 36th minute.

Tommy Lamb played the ball into Leighton, who dropped deep and on the half-way line before he split open the Wingate & Finchley defence to release Campbell, who shrugged off Grace before drilling a low left-footed angled drive across the keeper, who got swiftly down low to his left and used a strong hand to push the ball towards safety.

“Another good save!  A great little bit of movement between Noel and Roman, a great ball by Noel. I suppose in a way Roman done what you ask him to do, he’s hit the target and worked the keeper and it’s a great save,” added Saunders.

Wingate & Finchley created just the one chance during a poor first half showing from them and that came with 38:38 on the clock.

Left-back Kane Farrell swung in a left-footed free-kick from the right into a crowded penalty area and Grace came up from the back to flick his header across goal and just past the far post from penalty spot distance.

Margate left-back Chris Sessegnon sprinted towards the by-line before he pulled the ball back towards Campbell at the near post but the physically strong striker swept his first time shot just past the foot of the near post.

Margate’s dominance should have seen them score more than the one goal before the interval but the woodwork saved the home side in the 43rd minute.

Ramadan floated a free-kick into the box from the left, Campbell rose to flick the ball towards the far post and Leighton flicked his header against the far post.

Saunders said: “I spoke to Noel at half-time and he said it came to him so quick. I think Roman got the slightest of touches and it came to him so quick that he could only get his head to it and unfortunately it’s come off the post. It was a great delivery from Adem, which was pleasing because I’ve been a bit critical of that of late.”

Saunders felt his side should have been winning by more than one goal at the break.

“I thought maybe we deserved to go in two or three but we didn’t.  The big thing for me we did the same thing on Saturday at Bishop’s Stortford and we went in first half after playing really well and dominating the game and we came out second half and we were poor.

“My concern was we would do that tonight. I thought the first 10 minutes we didn’t really get going. You expect a reaction from the other team, especially when they’re at home and I thought they did have a reaction but my message at half-time was keep trying passing the ball and be positive and if we did that I think we’d score more goals.”

Teams are allowed to use five substitutes in the Velocity Trophy and Knight made a couple of changes at the interval as he attempted to bring life back into his struggling team.

It had the desired effect as Wingate & Finchley created their first shot on target after 75 seconds.

A deep cross from right-back Jake Eales was cleared out to substitute Bilal Sayoud and his drilled left-footed shot from 15-yards stung Tupper’s fingers as he gathered the ball low down at his near post.

However, Margate immediately raced up the other end and doubled their lead after 125 seconds of play.

Leighton drove straight down the heart of the pitch before playing the ball on his outside over to Daniel, who produced a sublime finish with the outside of his right-boot, curling his shot into the bottom far corner after he cut into the box from the right to score from 16-yards.

“A great finish! It’s a great finish! He’s got that quality and once he got into that position you just want to leave him one-on-one because you know he’s a threat,” said Saunders.

“He took it really well, he come inside and found the far corner and left the keeper was no chance!

“At that point, I thought we’d kick on there and score a few more but it wasn’t until later on when we got another one.”

Edwards-Alley made a comfortable save in his midriff on his knees to ensure Ramadan didn’t score from a central position from 30-yards.

Ten minutes in and Margate’s defence started getting sloppy as Wingate & Finchley started clawing their way back into the game.

That was a result of the home side making their third change with Ruff playing down the right wing and switching their formation to three centre-halves; Grace (left); Eales (centre) and Njie (right).

Ruff shifted the ball onto both of his feet before teeing up diminutive nippy striker Tage Kennedy, whose left-footed angled drive from 16-yards was meat and drink for the Margate keeper, on loan from Premier League Crystal Palace.

Margate centre-half Ben Swift lost the ball to Ruff, who switched the play to find substitute left-wing-back Bilal Sayoud, who took a touch before drilling a low shot past the near post from 15-yards.

Wingate & Finchley were now dominating the game as it appeared that Margate had declared as soon as they scored their second goal.

The impressive Kennedy went agonisingly close to pulling a goal back in the 64th minute.

He cut through a crowd of players on the left hand side and cut into the middle of the pitch where space opened up in front of him before he drilled his right-footed shot against the right-hand post from 25-yards.

Saunders said: “It’s a great strike from the lad but I’ve got to look at it from my point of view, defensively. It wasn’t good enough! We’ve allowed him to come in and come outside and come from out to in. He’s come across DJ (Daniel Johnson) and once he’s come across DJ I think a midfielder has got to try to effect it or Ben Swift has got to come out but he didn’t. He stood off him and allowed him a shot. Luckily for us it hit the post!”

Margate goalkeeper Tupper pulled off a fine reaction save as the second half approached its halfway point.

Sayoud’s corner was recycled back to him and he took a touch before whipping in a deep cross into a crowded box.  An off-balanced Njie tried to hook the ball back across goal and substitute central midfielder Johnville Renee’s left-footed shot on the turn was destined for the bottom left-hand corner, only for Tupper to grab hold of the ball low to his left at his near post.

“Tupper is a very good goalkeeper and we’re fortunate to have him on loan from Palace. He’s been excellent for us and I was desperate for him to get a clean-sheet for us because he deserves it but it wasn’t to be,” said Saunders.

“I thought we allowed them too many shots in the second half but it was because we were so comfortable, we took our foot of the gas and we’ve got to get that out of our system and stop doing it!”

Saunders admitted he was relieved when Tupper collected a yellow card from referee Joseph Gray, despite a handball a yard outside his penalty area in a central position.

A back-header from just outside the box by Margate centre-half Daniel Johnson saw Tupper jump up as substitute striker Bradley Woods-Garness was in between the two Margate players but Tupper overstepped the line and gave away a free-kick.

Ruff whipped his right-footed free-kick from inside the D and Tupper flicked the ball onto the top of his crossbar and behind for the home side’s sixth corner of the night.

“Listen, it’s confusion between DJ and Tups and I expect better but luckily enough the ref hasn’t sent him off so we got away with that one,” admitted the Margate boss.

Margate killed the game off by scoring their third goal with 31 minutes and 30 seconds on the clock.

Robins stroked a first time pass which split open Eales and Grace and Leighton cut into the box and clinically drilled his right-footed shot into the bottom near corner from 16-yards.

“Great finish! Noel in these positions is good, he gets his shots off and finished it off really well, which was pleasing and it gave us, that killed the game off, I guess,” added Saunders.

Wingate & Finchley kept plugging away, despite this defeat extending their winless run to 11 games after tonight.

Ifill and Ruff linked up inside the final third before Kennedy’s right-footed shot on the turn was straight at the visiting keeper.

However, Wingate & Finchley were reduced to 10 men with 33:59 on the clock when Njie was sent-off, having committed two bookable offences for fouls on Ramadan and substitute Elliott Reeves.

Saunders said: “I thought they’re both yellows to be honest. I thought the first one was on Adem off the pitch, it was reckless. I thought on another game the ref might’ve looked at that a little bit harsher.  I think the second one, he’s done the same again. I think once you’re on a yellow you can’t dive in like he did but he has and I think it was the right decision and I don’t think he left the ref with a lot of choice.”

The home side hit Margate on the counter-attack inside the final 10 minutes when Woods-Garness released Kennedy, who cut onto his right-boot and tried to find the bottom near corner, only for the impressive Tupper to grab hold of the ball, low down to his left, at his near post.

“Good save! I kind of expect that and take that for granted from Joe. It’s good reactions from him but second half we dropped, we went off a bit,” said Saunders.

“Ben Swift’s coming back, he’s been out, not played a lot of games this season, so he’s been back after a three or four week lay-off so he’s a little bit rusty so maybe fitness played a part second half.

“I just thought we allowed them too much space in and around our box second half, which is not good and on another day you get punished.”

Wingate & Finchley deserved their consolation goal when it was greeted by silence with 42 minutes and 7 seconds on the clock.

The ball was worked out to right-wing-back Ifill, who whipped in a deep cross towards Sayoud, who knocked the ball back across goal and Tupper was appealing by the time Ruff had the simplest of task of tapping the ball over the line from a yard out.

Saunders said:  “What I’m disappointed with, down in the bottom corner we were in possession of the ball, we played the ball off their player and it was our throw and the ref gives it to them and they break the other end and scored.

“I’m disappointed but I didn’t think we deserved to concede tonight, or shouldn’t have conceded really, which is a better word to say, so I’m disappointed with the refereeing point of view there and I said that to him at the end.

“Listen, it’s a mix-up, I can’t really see, there were so many bodies in the box and you’re going to expect them to throw bodies forward as they’re 3-0 down and they’ve got to have a go so you’ve got to expect there to be a bit of carnage in the box.

“I’ve just said to my boys in there, on Wingate’s second half performance they probably deserved a goal because due to the amount of shots they had and stuff. It wasn’t like they opened us up, it was just silly mistakes that we’re allowing them opportunities.”

Margate had the final chance with the last kick of the game when Ramadan’s through ball split open the home side’s defence and put Campbell through on goal and his stinging drive was parried by Edwards-Alley, who easily gathered Leighton’s poor follow-up shot.

Margate welcome 12th-placed side Haringey Borough to Hartsdown Park on Saturday (15:00) – a side that are one place above Margate in the table but they do have three games in hand on the Kent coast outfit.

“Listen, if you’re coming all the way to Wingate on a Tuesday night, a cold Tuesday night, you don’t want to turn up and get nothing from it,” said Saunders.

“That’s what I said to them before the game. Let’s go and try to progress and we’ve done that. We’ll see who we get next and go from there.”

On their next league outing, Saunders replied: “Haringey are always a good side.  It’s a tough game.  I think they’ve had a big turn-over of players’ this year, they had a great season last year and lost a lot of their players’ so it’s been a bit of a rebuild for them, like it has with us really. I think that dictates why both clubs are where they are.  We’ve had a complete turnover of players, there’s only two here from last year and I think they’re similar.

“Both teams have suffered from consistency, for us, that’s why I wanted to come here and get a good win because we want to get the consistency going. 

“We got a draw on Saturday, I felt we should’ve won at Bishop’s Stortford. We get a result today and now we want to back that up with another win on Saturday and that’s what we try to do, especially at home.”

Wingate & Finchley: Jake Edwards-Alley, Jake Eales, Kane Farrell (Charlie Ruff 50), Phil Lowen (Johnville Renee 46), Alieu Njie, Sean Grace, Luke Ifill, Olumide Oluwatimilehin (Emmanuel Omrore 63), Alan Fleming (Bradley Woods-Garness 66), Tage Kennedy, Alfie Bartram (Bilal Sayoud 46).

Goal: Charlie Ruff 88

Booked: Olumide Oluwatimilehin 42, Alieu Njie 58

Sent Off: Alieu Njie 80

Margate: Joe Tupper, Michael Abnett, Chris Sessegnon, Jordan Robins, Daniel Johnson, Ben Swift, Adem Ramadan, Tommy Lamb (Reece Prestedge 77), Roman Campbell, Noel Leighton, Kadell Daniel (Elliott Reeves 71).
Subs: Owen Kallmeier, Jay Porter

Goals: Kadell Daniel 23, 47, Noel Leighton 77

Booked: Joe Tupper 71, Elliott Reeves 90

Attendance: 44
Referee:  Mr Joseph Gray
Assistants: Mr Michael Ibbenden-Smith & Mr Alphie Ibrahim