Monday, July 22, 2024

Football: Millers ship four as Margate march on

FA Cup Second Qualifying Round

Aveley 1 v 4 Margate

By Scott Hately


A SPIRITED Millers display wasn’t enough to see them past Ryman Premier League leaders Margate, as Aveley went out of the F.A. Cup.

With the sides looking destined to go into the break goalless, after an even first half, the Millers received a sucker-punch right on the half time whistle, when Ryan Dolby nodded in from a corner deep into first half stoppage time.

The goal right on the break meant that the second goal of the match was going to be huge in deciding the outcome of this match, and unfortunately for the home side it was Margate who got it just past the hour mark when Sam Long prodded the ball in from close range at the far post.

A third goal from Mark Corneille just five minutes later was cruel on the home side, who had been more than a match for their Premier League opponents for large spells of the game, with the goal all but ending the tie as a contest.

Although Alfred Kamara nicked a goal back for the home side with just under 20 minutes left on the clock, it appeared to be a case of too little too late, with Aveley’s misery being compounded when Alex Rhodes tucked in Margate’s fourth in the last five minutes.

Manager, Justin Gardner, though, was left ruing two refereeing decisions that saw two disallowed goals for his side, both of which coming before Margate’s opening two goals, which arguably could have changed the outcome of the match dramatically.

Coming off the back of a crushing defeat away at Royston Town last weekend in the F.A. Trophy, Justin Gardner could not have asked for a tougher test for his side, as they hosted the Ryman Premier League leaders at Mill Field.

Gardner, though, would have been pleased with the start his side made as they carved out the first opening of the game when a Jack Stevenson corner from the left was headed wide by Jordan Cox after just 10 minutes.

Cox had another chance just two minutes later which he will feel he should have done better with. After good build-up-play between Junior Dadson and Paul Burnett – who was filling in at left back for the injured Lee Sontag – Burnett whipped a delicious cross into the box and onto the head of Cox who once again headed wide of the target.

After seeing Aveley waste their opening opportunities, it was Margate’s turn to have a period of dominance in the game, creating a few good chances of their own midway through the half.

Sam Long saw an effort cleared off the line after heading towards goal from a corner. His header looked destined for the bottom corner before Ellis Sands retreated to hack the ball away after 23 minutes.

Three minutes later and Ryan Dolby was played clean through after a clearance from the Margate back line. The striker decided to take his shot early, from outside the area, only to blaze it sky high over the bar.

Just past the half hour mark, Long again went close after nicking the ball off Burnett after a heavy touch from the defender. The striker found himself clear, but in trying to beat goalkeeper, Dave McCartney, at his near post he could only succeed in finding the side netting.

With Margate in the ascendency, Aveley thought they had stolen the lead with 41 minutes played when Dadson’s strike from just inside the area was deflected in by a Margate defender. However, to the frustration of Gardner and the home supporters, the whistle had already been blown, as the referee adjudged there to have been a foul by Cox in the build-up, meaning the goal would not stand.

After that scare the status-quo resumed and Margate came agonisingly close to taking the lead when a clearance from the Margate back line turned into an attacking opportunity with the ball bouncing kindly for Dolby. McCartney hesitated before deciding to try and get to the ball first but came nowhere near as Dolby rounded him with ease before scuffed an unbelievably tame effort towards the empty net, allowing Sands plenty of time to trot back and clear off the line.

Dolby didn’t have to wait long to make up for his missed chance as with seconds of added on time left to play he gave the away side the lead. A corner from the left was swung out towards the far post where it found the head of Richard Avery. Avery’s header back across goal was met by Dolby who headed in from six yards with the final touch of the half.

With the contest being a fairly even affair up until that point, you got the feeling the second goal was going to be massive in deciding where this contest was going to go, and Aveley can feel aggrieved that it wasn’t them picking up the equaliser as once again they had a goal disallowed.

A long throw from Marcus Rose from the right was headed on towards the far post by Cox. Billy Holland was there to meet the header, before the ball fell kindly for Dadson who put the ball in the back of the net on the volley. However, it was adjudged by the referee that Holland’s challenge on two Margate defenders, whilst winning the header, was too robust and Dadson’s goal was once against scratched off.

Just three minutes later and Margate got the all decisive second goal to put one foot well and truly into the 3rd qualifying round of the F.A. Cup.

A cross from the left was latched onto by Tommy Murphy, but his header didn’t quite get enough purchase on it to steer it towards goal, but it turned into a perfect assist for Sam Long who was lurking at the far post to stab home the away side’s second, despite the best efforts of McCartney to keep it out.

After the disappointment of going two behind, the game was all but ended five minutes later when Margate scored their third, when substitute, Mark Corneille, scored with seemingly his first touch of the game. A cross from the left from Murphy was beautifully curled into the far post where Corneille was, and the midfielder’s header back across the face of goal landed perfectly into the bottom corner.

Aveley, to their credit, continued to work and managed to get a consolation through Alfred Kamara with 72 minutes on the clock. Dadson found space on the left of the Margate area, before playing a low cross into Kamara who had the simple task of tapping from close range, whilst off balance, to reduce the arrears to two.

Gardner kept asking for his players to believe that could get back into the game, but as the clock wound down the inevitability sunk in, and defeat was confirmed when Margate stuck away their fourth with five minutes left of normal time to play.

After Dadson lost the ball in a 50/50 challenge just inside the Margate half the ball was picked up and brought forward by John Beales who had Matt Bodkins for company down the right. With Bodkins peeling off to the right, the Margate captain played to ball out to Bodkins where he had time and space to pick out a low cross into the area towards Alex Rhodes who stroked the ball home from six yards. McCartney managed to get a glove on the effort, but couldn’t prevent the ball from nestling into the bottom corner.

Despite a second heavy defeat in as many weeks, Gardner was not too disappointed with the team’s display saying after the match “first half I thought we did quite well, disappointing obviously to concede the goal with the last kick of the first half, but we had a few players missing today and you can tell that we’re a team who can’t afford to have players missing.”

He continued by saying “overall I’m not too disappointed, 4-1 is not good, but they (Margate) aren’t sitting top of the Ryman Premier for no reason.”

After three weeks of cup action, it’s back to the “bread and butter” of the league games as Aveley travel to Cheshunt on Tuesday night. Speaking about returning to the league campaign, Gardner said “I’ve got to get them (the players) up and ready for Tuesday. At the end of the day if we win Tuesday, in my eyes the losses (in the cup) are forgotten about.”

Aveley: Dave McCartney, Marcus Rose (Jamel Willer 88’), Paul Burnett, Jack Stevenson (Sheldon Sellears 58’), Jay Leader (c), Ellis Sands, Mark Sontag, Alfred Kamara, Jordan Cox (Shane Oakley 71’), Billy Holland, Junior Dadson


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