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'Gate Stun League Leaders
Margate produced a stunning second half comeback as they came from 2-0 down at half-time to win 3-2 away at league leaders Hornchurch on Saturday afternoon.
Manager Reece Prestedge was able to welcome back Sam Blackman and Phil Roberts to his starting eleven, however was missing defensive duo Harrison Hatfull and Harry Hudson who continued to form part of Margate’s injury list.
It was the Blues who started the brighter as they looked to peel away from the relegation zone as Nathan Wood and Ruben Soares-Junior had half chances as the ‘Gate went in search of an early goal. Ben Greenhalgh was next to let fly at the Hornchurch goal after some nice play between himself and Freddy Barton, however the scores remained level.
Despite the positive start, the hosts were awarded a penalty in the 23rd minute as Sinn’’Kaye Christie hauled down Ade Yusuff in the box. Tom Wraight struck the ball home from 12 yards, and despite Daniel Jinadu getting a hand to it, it wasn’t enough to deny Hornchurch the lead.
Margate looked to hit back immediately as Greenhalgh weaved his way through the hosts defence, only to be denied by another good save as Margate continued to cause the league leaders some issues. Margate were dealt a sucker punch in the 39th minute though, as a long ball from defence bounced through to prolific striker Sam Higgins who delicately lifted the ball over Jinadu to give the hosts a dominant 2-0 advantage at the break.
Despite trailing by two at half-time, Margate started the second half with some sustained pressure on the hosts goal as Sam Blackman saw a header flick back off the post from a Greenhalgh free-kick as the Blues tails were up.
Less than a minute later and Margate had reduced the arrears as an identical free-kick from Greenhalgh, this time was headed home beautifully by Blackman as Margate made it 2-1. Margate were in full flow and almost levelled three minutes later as another Greenhalgh free-kick caused issues, however the ‘keeper palmed to Wood who narrowly missed the target.
The ‘Gate were level ten minutes later though as their onslaught continued, and this time it was Greenhalgh with a fine effort after cutting in from the right and curling the ball into the far corner to spark wild celebrations amongst the away fans.
It was the Blues who now looked likely to snatch the points as Wood raced down the right, however his low cross was just too short for Greenhalgh as Margate went in search for an incredible winner. Despite having got level, there was no doubt that Hornchurch remained a threat as Higgins almost gave the hosts the lead with a fine header which whistled inches over the bar.
In the 86th minute, the unthinkable became reality as Margate turned the game on its head completely as Greenhalgh let fly from 40 yards as the whole stadium fell silent as the ball flew straight over the head of the ‘keeper before nestling in the net which sparked wild celebrations both on and off the pitch as Margate found themselves in front with only four minutes left to play.
With six additional minutes added on, Margate were defending for their lives, however in reality they never looked like conceding again as they saw out the game to spark wild celebrations whilst also moving themselves 12 points clear of the drop zone with only five games remaining.
MARGATE: Jinadu, Christie, Kasim, Blackman, Roberts (Smith 90’), Wood, Greenhalgh, Barton, Ojemen, Oke, Soares-Junior (Rutherford 87’)
Subs not used: McCarthy, Sutcliffe, Young
Sam Blackman 50’
Ben Greenhalgh 64’
Ben Greenhalgh 86’
Margate Man of the Match
Saturday, 25 March 2023
By MFC Media