Margate 2 Enfield Town 5
Report by Andrew Warshaw
Anyone leaving the ground after 20 minutes at Margate yesterday – or even at halftime for that matter – could not possibly have imagined how the game would pan out.
We simply hadn’t been at the races, didn’t get close enough to the opposition, especially in midfield, and Towners fans feared the worst.
But as the old cliché goes, goals change games and once we levelled for the second time on the Kent coast, there was only going to be one winner as the hosts collapsed in spectacular fashion.
Missing the likes of Lyle Della-Verde (still suspended) and Jake Cass (injured), the fact that we managed to score five – albeit one an own goal – backs up the theory that we have goals all over the pitch despite Mo’s departure.
And there were a stack of positives, with Adam Cunnington simply outstanding in the air, a hungry Andre Coker again looking like a new player and an excellent debut on the right wing for Wraynal Hercules.
But it was an ominously worrying start.
Not once, not twice but four times in the opening period, we escaped by the skin of our teeth as Margate came charging out of the blocks, prompted by their captain Ben Greenhalgh who actually has a Champions League medal on his CV.
It was no surprise when they took the lead on 22 minutes, Cameron Brodie rifling home from 20 yards after pouncing on a loose ball.
Our response was immediate with our first effort on target and a stroke of good fortune. Hercules mishit a cross-shot, bamboozling the Margate keeper who saw the ball squirm into the net at his near post.
Coker almost gave us the lead with a sublime strike that clipped the top of the bar but Margate had certainly been superior in the opening half.
We needed to up our game but within two minutes of the restart, we fell behind again as Greenlagh’s low, left-footed freekick was touched home by Harry Hudson.
But instead of capitalising on their chances, Margate again left the door open at the back and Joe Payne, who had another fine game, was left unmarked to lash home our second equaliser.
Now the whole pattern of the game changed as the momentum switched. Within a minute, James Dayton’s excellent cross was side-footed home by Coker to put us 3-2 up and as the home defence panicked, Hudson’s own goal gave us a fourth.
The best was still to come courtesy of two substitutes. On 79 minutes, Marcus Wyllie showed great control to set up Bilal Sayoud for the sweetest of curling efforts (pictured) that had the purists purring.
There was still time for Nathan McDonald to make a flying stop from Greenhalgh but by then we were out of sight and celebrating a well-earned, hard-fought three points that can only boost confidence.
It’s not easy replacing so many quality players and although we may not look totally settled yet, we are now sitting in seventh with back-to-back home games to come, starting on Tuesday against Horsham.
“I thought we were dreadful for the first 25 minutes,” conceded Andy Leese. “It was a hard-earned 5-2 win but I thought the way in which we saw the game out was top class.”
“If you look at their results at home we knew it would be difficult down here. But really pleasing to come away and score as many goals as we did. That 35 minutes in the second half we were excellent. We are slowly getting back to how I want us to play.”
McDonald; Spencer, Bray, Wilson-Braithwaite, Payne; Dayton, Thomas, Youngs, Hercules (Wyllie 72); Coker (Sayoud, 78), Cunnington (Urquhart 81)