By Blue-tinted Specs
Horsham 4 Margate 0
So many cup final traditions have fallen by the wayside in recent times: Cup final singles, all-day TV coverage and marching bands.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that, in the modern era, the league is all that matters to the average football fan. You’d be wrong. They still love a day out and a chance to win a shiny pot.
Take the Velocity Trophy. “The what?” you might say. This is the league cup competition of the Isthmian League. It is true the earlier rounds are played in front of attendances that are not much bigger than supermarket checkout queues, but the final itself is a very different matter.
Margate had qualified for this year’s showpiece against Horsham. The venue was in Essex at Aveley FC’s smart new ground, not far from Lakeside shopping centre.
Both clubs brought hundreds of fans with Margate better represented numerically among the 809 crowd.
As kick-off approached, Aveley’s bar dealt impressively with the queues of thirsty supporters. The expectation was growing.
Then the game began and it all went horribly wrong for Margate. Our best moment was early on when Vance Bola hit a venomous shot from an angle against the post. It was so powerful that the goal (portable on a 3G surface) actually moved and had to be positioned back on the goal line.
Then the goals started. 23 minutes: Lee Harding scored for Horsham with a low shot. 33 minutes: Jack Brivio doubled the lead following a corner.
Any hopes of a Margate revival in the second half were dashed within four minutes of the restart, Brivio scored again. A fourth by Charlie Hester-Cook came just after the hour mark.
Horsham declared at this point and both sides made a variety of substitutions as the clock wound down.
Both league games between these sides this season had been very close, both going to the home side with a last minute goal. Margate could even have claimed the status of favourites pre-match by virtue of a higher league position. So the one-sided nature of this game is a mystery.
This season has been relatively successful for Margate compared with recent campaigns and the expectation is that 2022/23 will be when we make a real push for honours. The events of this game suggest there is plenty of work to do before that becomes reality.