Clean sheet provides cornerstone for emphatic win
Margate 0 Enfield Town 3
Town overcame the disappointment of conceding two late goals three days previously to secure a first clean sheet since 20th November and send a hardy travelling contingent – bracing a stiff, cold breeze throughout – hope happy; with some reminiscing about an identical scoreline in March 2015.
With Ken Charles and Sam Youngs unavailable and Sam Hatton unwell, Nathan Livings came in for a rare start to bolster midfield with Ryan Blackman, Lyle Della-Verde and Junior Mubiayi all playing in advanced roles in support of Billy Bricknell up front.
There was an early storm from ‘Gate to negotiate, as had been promised by manager Jay Saunders in his pre-match notes, before Town could put any stamp of authority on proceedings, with Tommy Lamb putting a very presentable chance over the top following a low cross from the left and then former Towner Jay Porter driving in another dangerous low ball which the onrushing Elliott Reeves missed by a whisker. Nathan McDonald was then called into action to initially save from Adem Ramadan before a diving header from Reeves was cleared off the line by Joe Payne.
Ramadan blazed well wide, but Town’s confidence began to grow when, having forced a number of corners, a superb curling free-kick from Della-Verde after 25 minutes was somehow kept out by home keeper Joe Tupper before a Marc Weatherstone effort following a half-cleared corner was gathered by Tupper. The home keeper then saved from Bricknell after Mubiayi’s shot had been blocked. The final action of the half saw Tupper gather a Della-Verde effort in relative comfort.
Half-time: Margate 0 Enfield Town 0
The visitors began the second period on the offensive and the increasingly busy hosts’ stopper beat away a drive from Jon Muleba before a fine cross by Mubiayi was belted goalwards, but always rising, by Blackman.
Town’s luck was out when the outstanding Della-Verde found himself on the byeline on the right, and, at a tight angle, he somehow placed a left-foot shot against the inside of the far post. But, barely a minute later, the former Hayes & Yeading man was in the box again, this time squeezing a low shot in at the near post beyond the despairing outstretched hand of Tupper after 56 minutes.
With the visitors’ tails up, Mubiayi and Della-Verde had further unsuccessful efforts before Bricknell had the ball in the net but was flagged offside. Just beyond the hour mark, Kadell Daniel and Michael Abnett combined to set up Kieran Monlois with the eventual shot flying wide, but Town’s attacks were increasing in intensity and another excellent Della-Verde free-kick was tipped onto the woodwork by Tupper. The second goal arrived in the 73rd minute when Bricknell burst through an overworked home back line and forced the ball past Tupper, coinciding with a number of blue-shirted arms being raised with appeals for hands; thankfully ignored by the officials from a Town perspective.
Increasingly rushed home attacks were producing little to cause Andy Leese’s men undue alarms, although there were stifled yells for a penalty after a possible handball, but Town were admirably focused, and Della-Verde lashed an effort on the break off target. But it was game, set and match when a clearance fell to Blackman 25 yards out to hit the ball with venom into the bottom corner.
Margate: Joe Tupper, Michael Abnett, Jay Porter, Reece Prestedge (Noel Leighton 63), Liam Friend, Ben Swift, Adem Ramadan, Kieran Monlouis, Elliott Reeves, Kadell Daniel, Tommy Lamb (Jordan Robins 83). Unused subs: Craig Holloway, Chris Sessesgnon, Dan Johnson.
Enfield Town: Nathan McDonald, Jon Muleba, Joe Payne, Scott Thomas, Marc Weatherstone, Josh Urquhart, Lyle Della-Verde, Ryan Blackman, Billy Bricknell, Nathan Livings (Lewis Taaffe 84), Junior Mubiayi (Bobson Bawling 81. Unused subs: Glenn Wilson, Jack Hockney, Samson Esan. Booked: Thomas.
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