By ‘blue-tinted specs’
Aylesbury United 0 Margate 1
The road to Wembley took Margate to leafy Buckinghamshire on Friday night to face Aylesbury in the FA Cup.
Aylesbury were evicted from a ground in their home town in 2006 and have been lodging ever since, almost exclusively at Chesham United. Despite this they maintain a loyal support and about 300 people witnessed this First Qualifying Round tie.
The home side are one level lower than Margate but it would have been a stretch to describe the visitors as favourites. Margate’s form so far this season has been patchy and Aylesbury had won their first three home games.
It was soon clear that Aylesbury would seek to exploit the space behind Margate’s defence and in striker Ezra Anthonio-Ford they had the man to do it.
It was a difficult first half for Margate with Amadou Tangara making some important saves.
Just as it looked like we would reach half-time unscathed, disaster struck. A conflagration between players on both sides saw pushing and jostling. Margate’s Montrell Deslandes was judged to have kicked out at an opponent and was shown the red card. At half-time it looked like a replay would be the very most Margate could hope for.
You’d be surprised how often ten men can get a result in football. Why is this? I guess minds become more focused, players work that little bit harder, and men are corralled behind the ball.
This is exactly what Margate did. Aylesbury now had a very different challenge – how to unlock the massed defence in front of them. They huffed and puffed, and created some chances, but were frustrated repeatedly.
Margate gradually became more confident and made the occasional foray into the opposition half. From one they gained a free-kick on the left. Ben Greenhalgh took it, crossing to Harvey Smith who forced the ball into the net.
Now Aylesbury knew they really were in trouble. They kept knocking on the door but without luck. Indeed, Ade Cole ought to have scored a second for Margate on a breakaway but fired high.
Whoops of joy from the visiting fans greeted the final whistle – a win that had seemed so unlikely for much of the evening.