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Kingstonian 3
3 Margate

Flood Gate open

Kingstonian emerged from a pulsating encounter with a point as they clawed their way back into the match with two second half goals as they came from behind to draw 3-3.

Kingstonian looked strangely sluggish from the start and were immediately put under pressure by a lively Margate team. In fact it only took the away side two minutes to take the lead . As a static defence looked on, Sam Long had time to wait for a bouncing ball to drop before he volleyed in from 20 yards. It was a well taken goal as he went for accuracy over power.

Margate continued to dominate, although McCollin went close with a header after good work by Goode down the right. However, this was a rare foray forward by the home team as Margate went two nil up in the twelfth minute. Dan Stubbs controlled well on the left and his drilled cross was expertly guided in from six yards by Tommy Whitnell.

It was now all one way traffic as Kingstonian creaked at the back as a confident Margate spilled forward. But somewhat against the run of play Kingstonian pulled one back with MacDonald scoring with a diving header from a Clayton cross in the eighteenth minute.

Margate soon bounced back though to restore their two goal lead as Tolfrey fatefully hesitated when he looked favourite to gather a cross. This misjudgement allowed the ball to be headed back across the goal leaving Whitnell with an easy finish from close in.

There were signs that Kingstonian were capable of getting themselves back into the game as the constantly dangerous McCollin and then Dean Lodge both went close before half time.

Dowson re-jigged the line up at the start of the second half with Murray and Pattison replacing Ofosu-Hene and Sankoh. The changes brought an immediate reward as an enticing cross from Pattison was turned in from close range by the alert McCollin in the forty eighth minute.

Shortly afterwards Lodge hit the cross bar with a sweetly struck volley from another Pattison cross. McCollin then almost chalked up his second goal with a wonderfully struck left footed shot from fully forty yards that went narrowly over with the keeper well beaten.

In a complete reversal of the first half it was now Kingstonian pouring forward with confidence. With Margate deciding to replace their combative centre forward Rook and double goal scorer Whitnell any remaining attacking threat from the visitors evaporated.

An equaliser looked increasingly likely as Margate survived a couple of close offside decisions against Lodge. The pressure finally told though as Sterling rose well at the back post to head back across goal where Murphy did well to score with a header under pressure from two defenders.

Kingstonian continued to press in a frenetic end to the game and had a big shout for a penalty turned down with a hint of hand ball from left back Pooley as he controlled a high ball with his chest whilst under pressure from Lodge. This proved to be the final piece of drama in a thrilling match as the referee blew the final whistle.

This was a game between two sides that were almost a mirror image of each other. Confident, inventive and dangerous going forward – hesitant, indecisive and vulnerable when defending. It is hard to see either of these teams being involved in many nil-nil draws this season.

On the evidence of the first three games of the season Kingstonian are going to have to keep scoring freely to win their games as they continue to concede at the back. McCollin was again outstanding upfront and Kingstonian will miss him as he soon starts his ban for his sending off at East Thurrock on the opening day of the season.

Published Wednesday 12th September 2018