Wealdstone made it an Easter Saturday to remember as they put Margate to the sword in what ultimately proved to be a comfortable afternoon’s work.
Build up play
The build up to the game was largely dominated by a huge social media effort to get more youngsters through the gate as professional football took a sabbatical for the international football weekend. Meanwhile the home camp was still ruing two tepid displays that had left the Stones languishing close to the trap door.
It was an interesting week for the visitors, Margate, who lost their wealthy chairman, Bob Laslett, who stepped down after two years at the helm. And finally in other news, TalkSport pundit Ian Abrahams, or “The Moose” to you and I (below), made an appearance at the Vale.
On to the game…
Margate thought they might have had an early penalty when on loan debutant Dembie-Ferris’s centred ball was slid away from danger by Elliott Godfrey – television replays seemed to indicate the ball struck the arm of the Stones midfielder (decide for yourself, below).
But it was Wealdstone who would strike first blood…
Stones skipper Wes Parker opened the scoring for the hosts after just five minutes when Margate failed to clear their lines following successive Scott Davies throw-ins. The latter of the two was headed out for a corner which Davies dropped invitingly into the box; the ball attacked first by Hamblin and then by Parker who smacked home on the turn. 1-0.
The visitors eased their way back in and had two good chances to equalise but the resilient home defence snuffled them out on both occasions. First, Urquhart turned a whizzing cross behind for a corner and then minutes later Hamblin hacked clear to stifle a quick break. However, Gate sensed a goal and the impressive Danny Green wriggled through midfield to strike a sumptuous 20-yarder past the outstretching arm of returning home favourite Jonathan North to give the visitors a merited equaliser. 1-1.
And it might have got worse for the Stones when Gate debutant Corie Andrews found himself through on goal moments later only for Wes Parker to come flying across to divert his shot to safety – the Margate fans optimistically protesting for handball. The momentum soon swung again in Stones favour and when Bradley Hudson-Odoi persisted on the break just after the half hour mark, the ball fell invitingly for Scott Davies to grab his second assist of the afternoon; neatly squaring to Wright who made no mistake at the far post. 2-1.
Green might have equalised again for the visitors on the stroke of half time but after another mazy foray into the Stones box Parker was able to block his goal bound effort as the Stones, playing in front of a bumper Easter attendance of 750, were pleased to see out the half ahead.
If the first half was an even contest, the second half was one-sided and on 51 minutes Stones effectively put the game to bed. McGleish and Wright combined on the edge of the Margate box and when McGleish, perhaps somewhat fortuitously, found himself in on goal his effort was well saved by Lewington. Wright was on hand to follow up and with the net gaping Lewington somehow recovered to throw himself in the way but unfortunately could only divert the ball into the path of Hudson-Odoi who slammed home the rebound. 3-1. Game over?
McGleish, yes(!) the 42-year-old veteran, put in a good shift was withdrawn for Jefferson Louis – another of the Dad’s Army brigade. Louis was instantly in the thick of it and may have been awarded a spot kick in the 80th minute had it not been for an overly theatrical fall. Two-minutes later and the game was unquestionably put to bed when Hudson-Odoi raced on to a loose clearance from Lewington but his laboured touch allowed Wilson to clear for a corner. Davies, delivering a man of the match display after the Twitter twatery, was in fine form and another cool centre was met by the towering presence of Hamblin who’s header looped over Lewington and into the net. 4-1.
It was a long way back and a long way home for Gate and when Wilson and Wassmer embroiled themselves in some internal verbals it was clear to all on the terraces that the reality of Margate’s plight was beginning to hit home. It’s now six defeats on the trot for Nikki Bull’s beleaguered side and their form will need to be arrested quickly if they are to avoid plummeting straight back to the Ryman.
For Wealdstone, on the other hand, it represented a sweet victory in an otherwise drab game. It might not have been pretty to watch but the points edge Stones closer to their survival target as they swap places with Margate in the process.