Margate 1 Kingstonian 1
Margate rescued a last gasp point against Kingstonian in their opening game of the 2022/23 season at Hartsdown Park on Saturday afternoon.
James Bessey-Saldanha won the Blues a 90th minute penalty which was coolly converted by Captain Ben Greenhalgh to give the ‘Gate a share of the spoils.
Manager Andy Drury handed league debuts to Amadou Tangara, Taylor Fisher, Harry Hudson, Adeyinka Cole and Troy Howard. Margate burst into life as early as the 5th minute as Howard forced Kingstonian ‘keeper Rob Tolfrey to turn the ball wide of the post as Margate looked to get off to a flyer.
It was the hosts that certainly started in the ascendency as on 26 minutes the visitors had to clear a Greenhalgh effort off the line as Margate went in search of the opener. As the half wore on, Kingstonian began to grow into the game and had their first meaningful effort on 41 minutes as Gabriel Ajuchi forced an effort goalwards which was finely tipped over by Tangara in the ‘Gate goal.
Despite perhaps being the better side in the first 45 minutes, the ‘Gate fell behind on the stroke of half-time as a Kingstonian corner was headed home by Tyrese-Jordan Owen to give the K’s a 1-0 half-time lead.
The Blues seemed shell shocked and that appeared to linger in the opening stages of the second half as they almost fell two goals behind in the 55th minute as Sam Blackman was caught out in the box as Thomas Gogo snatched the ball off him, before smacking the ball against the post.
Blackman was nearly the hero moments later as he turned home a beautiful ball into the box, only for the linesman to raise his flag and adjudge the midfielder to be narrowly offside.
Margate appeared to be finding their rhythm as Bessey-Saldanha delivered a ball into the box which smacked off the bar and away to safety as the Blues went in search of an equaliser.
With time looking like it would escape them, Margate were handed a lifeline in the closing moments as Bessey-Saldanha was brought down in the box, allowing Greenhalgh to calmly step up and fire the ball home from 12 yards to earn the ‘Gate a point.
Margate Xl: Tangara, Hatfull (Topley 78’), Fisher, Knight, Hudson, Cole, Blackman, Greenhalgh, Howard (Oluwesemo 79’), Deslandes (McCann 67’), Bessey-Saldanha
Subs not used: Ojemen, Smith
Margate Goal scorer Ben Greenhalgh 90’ (Pen)
Margate Man of the Match Adeyinka Cole