Blues 2 Margate 2
Late drama as the Blues are denied all three points
It was almost a match winning debut for Blues new boy Jake Reed but his new side were pegged back deep into stoppage time as Margate claimed a point in a MATCH SPONSORED BY JET PROJECTS. The hosts looked set for three points after fighting back from an interval deficit to deservedly lead only for Evans’ late intervention to secure a second 2-2 draw this season. Back in August it was the Kent side that suffered a late heartbreaker, this time that fell on Leiston as ironically, the visitors scorers (Bodkin and Evans) were also on target in that August fixture.
Glenn Driver chose to include Jake Reed, signed on Monday, in a three pronged attack and he could have put Leiston in front in the opening 90 seconds, but his header was clawed away at full stretch by ex-Chelsea ‘keeper Lenny Pidgeley. Joe Jefford headed wide from Byron Lawrence’s free kick, before Kyle Hammond fired straight at Pidgeley after a great diagonal pass from Byron Lawrence as Leiston began to turn the screw. But second placed Margate, looking to take over the leadership of the Bostik Premier Division, slowly but surely found their way in the game and in the final quarter of the half, began to threaten. Blues keeper Marcus Garnham thwarted two well struck efforts and was on hand to punch clear a trio of Margate corners but in first half stoppage time he was left stranded by a brilliant volley from Bodkin. The Blues failed to properly clear their lines and quick thinking Bodkin some 40 yards out, hit a tremendous half volley that flew over Marcus Garnham who was on his six yard line.
As the second half resumed it was still Leiston as the more dominant team and their pressure told on 54 minutes. Byron Lawrence delivered a teasing free kick and Dominic Docherty, on as a first half substitute for Chris Henderson, jumped ahead of Pidgeley in a ruck of players to head home much to the delight of the home fans. The Blues kept the pressure on and Margate were working hard in defence putting their bodies on the line blocking shots with Pidgeley also denying Byron Lawrence from long-range. With two minutes remaining the hosts thought they had sealed the points with a brilliantly crafted second goal. A great move down the left saw a clever touch from substitute Christy Finch to pick up the run from Byron Lawrence who took his time before finding Jake Reed whose movement created the space to fire home from ten yards to cue ecstatic scenes all around Victory Road. Margate’s attacks were limited and their chances of getting anything from the game took a turn for the worse when Blackman was booked for simulation adding to an earlier yellow card resulting in an early bath. His boss Steve Watt was soon to follow, dismissed from the dug out for something that was said. However, and to the dismay of the 200 or so Leiston fans in the crowd, Margate grabbed an equaliser. A long ball into the left hand side of the Blues box found Evans whose first touch set him up to skip a challenge and drive home to the right of Marcus Garnham. There was still time for Chiedozie to receive his marching orders, collecting a second yellow card for what appeared to be for pulling back Jack Ainsley swiftly followed by another member of the Margate bench for his protests. From the resulting free kick the Blues earned a corner that was forced home but the Referee’s whistle cut short the celebrations as an enthralling fixture closed.
FT – Blues 2 Margate 2
Blues – Garnham, Hammond, Dunbar, Ainsley, Jefford, Bullard, Lawrence, Henderson (Docherty 44 mins), Blake (Finch 68 mins), Reed, Mills (Trotter 79 mins). Subs not used – Brothers and Marsden.
Margate – Pidgeley, Evans, Wynter, Rogers, Friend, Swift, Bodkin (May 67 mins), Blackman, Chiedozie, Collin (Prescott 76 mins), Martin (Mills 67 mins). Subs not used - Le and Simpson.
Match Sponsors JET PROJECTS Man of the Match – Byron Lawrence
Attendance - 202