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Margate 1
Rents (20')
2 Kingstonian
Sweeney (42'), McCollin (75')

Gate-way to a recovery

The phrase 'must-win game' is much over-used. But this really was a vital three points for a K’s side struggling since January.

It was crucial not so much for the mathematics – even a draw would have kept us a mere two points from the last playoff place – but for the confidence the side obviously needs to prevent this season drifting into inconsequence.

That this victory came at Margate, usually an unhappy ground (that 3-3 draw in 2011, the dismal FA Cup defeat in 2013 etc) made it all the more enjoyable. Oh, and the sun was out.

Reasons to be cheerful: Daniel Pappoe, on loan from Chelsea, played in central midfield and looked tough, mean, careful, professional and thoughtful on the ball… presumably all things taught at an elite Premier League academy.

Andre Da Costa started on the right-wing and immediately looked like the winger we’ve been missing, comfortable with both feet and, significantly, able to cross with accuracy.

So the 4-5-1, with Drage and Page restored to centre-back, looked the part once again. Daniel Sweeney and Josh Casey dominated and broke forward more than we’ve been used to in recent weeks. And there was generally an air of resurgent belief. Or at least fearful intransigence.

The match: Sam Rents gave Margate the lead with a fine free-kick. If they’d held on till half-time, well, they probably would have won - but Sweeney headed an equaliser before the break that proved crucial.

It was a curious goal, headed down into the ground, bounced high, with the keeper failing to move at all as it sailed in. Ryan Moss also flew across to avoid elbowing it in.

The second-half was all K’s – mostly – without too many chances being created. In fact, it took a terrible error from Gate centre-half Charlie Wassmer to decide the game. He passed across the pitch, straight to Ryan Moss, who unselfishly squared to substitute Andre McCollin to tap in from two yards out.

McCollin then got a straight red for lunging at a Gate player, after being wound up by a different defender.

Margate then gave man of the match to Wassmer, much to the amusement of the away fans. Manager Terry Brown had a couple of tantrums. We reminded him of who he used to manage, the theft of Tim Sills, and other historic misdemeanours.

As for K's, this still isn’t a fluent, fluid side. But there were signs on Saturday that we’re going to return to being effective. With 12 league games left, that could be enough

Report: Taimour Lay

Published Wednesday 12th September 2018