The marching song Sussex by the Sea is something of an anthem for the county. This jaunty tune extols the joys of coming from this part of the world.
But Margate have yet to hit the right note on their travels to Sussex this season. Already we had suffered defeats at Horsham, Worthing and Bognor before Tuesday night’s trip to Isthmian League play-off contenders Lewes.
On top of that Lewes had battered us at Hartsdown in October. Despite leading 2-1 at half-time that day, we lost 6-2. The second half saw us concede four goals in 18 minutes and five in a half for the first time in at least 30 years.
One of our main tormentors on that occasion was young Ollie Tanner, who scored twice and generally caused havoc on Lewes’ left flank. Since that game he has attracted the interest of Spurs but turned down a transfer, thinking that a lack of regular first-team football would not help his career.
The good news was that he would miss this game. The bad news was that Joe Taylor, formerly of Margate and a prolific scorer at this level, started.
Margate welcomed back centre-half Ben Swift after his three-match suspension. Recent signing Louis Collins played as a lone striker as Margate sought to hurt Lewes on the counter attack.
Lewes began brightly and showed their intention to get the ball wide at every opportunity. It took 12 minutes for them to open the scoring when Taylor turned the ball past Bridle-Card in the Margate goal following a corner.
After that shaky start Margate found their feet, working hard to keep a slick Lewes side at bay while trying to feed Collins during occasional attacks of their own.
However, Lewes doubled their lead on the hour when they won possession in midfield and broke quickly. The move finished with Razz Coleman De-Graft shooting into the top corner from the edge of the box.
Realistically that was game over but Margate did have a couple of good opportunities after this. A shot from sub Bessey-Saldanha was saved, Greenhalgh collected the ball and set up Blackman, but he skied his shot well over the bar.
Collins then raced away from the home defence down the right channel but his shot thudded against the far post and bounced out.
Lewes saw out the rest of the game for a win that takes them into the play-off positions.
At least we don’t have to travel to Sussex again this season.