By Blue-tinted specs
Hornchurch 2 Margate 3
A stunning goal by Ben Greenhalgh from the centre circle sealed an amazing second half comeback as Margate defeated Isthmian League leaders Hornchurch on Saturday.
Two goals down at the interval against a team unbeaten in 11 league games, even the most optimistic Margate follower would not have predicted what was to unfold in the second half.
In truth, Margate didn’t play badly in the opening period and should have taken the lead early on when Greenhalgh had a great chance in the box but put his shot well wide.
A few minutes later, Hornchurch called Margate keeper Dan Jinadu into action when he was needed to save a free-kick from just outside the area.
It wasn’t long before Jinadu was picking the ball out of the net when the home side were awarded a penalty. Sinn’Kaye Christie was judged to have fouled and Tom Wraight converted from 12 yards.
Margate were still posing a threat, however, and Nathan Wood headed wide from a Phil Roberts cross.
Yet it seemed that Hornchurch had landed a decisive blow a few minutes before half-time. The league’s top scorer, Sam Higgins, won a physical tussle before lifting the ball over Jinadu into the net.
Ellis Brown then surged clear down the right channel and only a plunging save by Jinadu prevented a third goal.
Margate took a more direct approach in the second period and it quickly paid off.
A Greenhalgh free kick from the left was flicked on by Sam Blackman and rebounded off the far post.
Moments later Greenhalgh took another free kick, this time from the right. It was met by Blackman’s head and went into the net.
Margate were level on 64 minutes, a Greenhalgh cross-cum-shot from the right curled over home keeper Joe Wright into the goal.
Hornchurch tried to reassert themselves but some dogged defensive work by Margate meant they were unable to pose a genuine threat to Jinadu’s goal.
With 86 minutes on the clock, Greenhalgh seized the points for Margate. Receiving the ball in the centre circle, he spotted Wright off his line. His swerving shot flew into the goal to cap Margate’s astonishing revival.
Hoorah! Up the Gate!