By ‘Blue tinted specs’
Bowers and Pitsea 0 Margate 2
The early weeks of the season can be confusing for supporters of non-league clubs. One of the features of football at this level is that many teams have a high turnover of players who come and go each summer.
Clubs at this level generally don’t have the financial security to risk offering long-term contracts to players. As a result many start each season with a squad unrecognisable to the one that had completed the previous campaign just three months earlier.
This is exacerbated when managers leave as well, which has been the case this summer with both Margate and Bowers – Margate now managed by Andy Drury.
This means for the average spectator it can take a few games to become familiar with all the new personnel. It also means that sometimes you cannot predict the outcome of early season matches with much certainty.
For this game Margate fielded five faces who played in 21/22. But the Bowers team had not a single name that featured in last season’s corresponding Isthmian League fixture in January, which Margate won 4-2.
Bowers have a tidy ground in an especially unglamorous part of Basildon, and, like Margate, they have a 3G pitch.
We’ve played here twice before and won both times. Hopes of a hat-trick of wins grew after just seven minutes when towering young Margate striker Harvey Smith forced the ball into the net from close range.
While the home side may have lacked quality at times, they showed no shortage of determination. It remained a hard-fought, occasionally spiky, contest throughout with Harry Hudson in particular redoubtable at the back for Margate.
As the match entered its final stages, Bowers ramped up the pressure in search of an equaliser. Ball after ball was pinged into the Margate penalty area.
With 90 minutes on the clock, Margate broke clear of their own box. Smith and Montrell Deslandes combined with the latter shooting low into the net to secure victory. A two-nil win and both goals by youngsters.