Saturday 15th March 2008
HORNCHURCH 2 MARGATE 0
HFC- Dale Brightly – Donny Barnard – Jim McFarlane – John Purdie © - Richard Goddard – Elliot Styles – Frankie Curley – Mark Janney - Kris Lee – Simon Parker – Dean Green
Subs – Jamie Richards for Janney 75 - Harry Elmes for Kris Lee at half time - Michael Brothers– Andy Tomlinson for Parker 82 - Danny Glozierl
MFC – Scott Chalmers-Stevens - Ryan Peters – Ricardo Josephs – Ryan Martin - Louis Smith – Robin Trott – Steve McKimm © - Dan Young – James Pinnock – Charlie Side – Jimmy Jackson
Subs – Keiron Morris – Mark Goodfellow – Roberto Curbishley for Peters 64 – Rob Haworth for Trott at half time – Alex Krunic for Chalmers-Stevens 76
Scorers – Simon Parker 31, Simon Parker 53
Officials – D Margetts with G Tilley and D Raval
Duration – 46.04 + 47.13
Bookings – Haworth 49 (M) - Barnard 60 (H) – Josephs 70 (M)
Weather – overcast 13 degrees, wind speed 10 mph, heavy rain in second half
HORNCHURCH 2 MARGATE 0
Such was the interest in this match that there was full and exclusive live commentary broadcast jointly with GATE RADIO in collaboration with AFC Hornchurch, with thousands listening in. Margate brought a coach load of supporters to the Bridge, but they had a bit of a scare when the coach driver decided he could not go down the Bridge Avenue as the coach was too heavy. This caused a traffic jam which stretched all the way back to Romford, but eventually they got inside.
Today’s referee was Mr Dave Margetts who took the league cup match at the Bridge against Maidstone. For the second match in succession the start was held up as the officials were not satisfied with the way the nets were hung. On a dull and overcast day, Urchins put on one of their best displays of the season to convincingly beat promotion chasing Margate, despite a first minute scare when Dale Brightly had to tip Jimmy Jackson’s swirling cross over the bar for a corner. Brightly cleared the corner, pumping the ball up field, and it was the visitors keeper, Scott Chalmers-Stevens, who saw the most of the action, being forced to race out of goal twice in quick succession to kick away, first from Dean Green, who ran on to Styles’ pass, and then from Kris Lee, who also homed in onto a Styles pass. ‘Gate came back well, and were awarded a free kick a few yards outside the area. Ryan Martin stepped up to fire the ball low past the wall, and it rolled harmlessly out of play just wide of the post. This proved to be Margate’s only real sortie upfield in a first half dominated by the Urchins, who were kicking towards the windmill end of the ground.
Simon Parker was in almost unstoppable form, and when he ran on to Frankie Curley’s neat pass, his goal bound shot was well saved by Chalmers-Stevens with his feet, the ball rebounding back to John Purdie who promptly sent Parker away once again, with Josephs doing well to get in a tackle to prevent a shot.
A Styles throw found Parker, who was thwarted by Peters, at the expense of a corner, which Mark Janney took, playing the ball short to Parker and then sending the return pass behind the goal as Trott came in rapidly. A long ball from Dale Brightly saw Elliot Styles in a good position, but the ball bobbled and Elliot’s cross went behind. A Purdie free kick, after Parker had been chopped down, the referee taking no action, saw Jim McFarlane go close with his header, but intense pressure brought a reward when another Brightly inspired long ball came out to SIMON PARKER, out on the left side and well over 40 yards from goal, Simon looked up, saw keeper Chalmers-Peters out of goal, and calmly chipped the keeper, the ball moving almost in slow motion on its trajectory towards the net, to send 400 Urchins delirious, though the same could not be said for the many away supporters who had made the trip.
Urchins were rampant, and Janney’s free kick saw Donny Barnard speed in from the right, his low cross finding Curley, who flicked on to Parker, whose header went inches over the bar. Smith conceded a free kick and was fortunate to escape a booking from an incredibly lenient referee, the ball behind just ten yards outside of the area and right in the middle. Donny Barnard stepped up to hammer in a shot which Chalmers-Stevens did well to save at the foot of the post. A Styles throw caused havoc in the away defence, and the ball was hacked out for a corner, which Janney took and found Parker, who was tackled by Peters. Just on half time another free kick by Janney looked dangerous until Trott nipped in to tackle as Barnard moved forward, and although Smith managed to clear, the ball came back to Curley, who touched sideways to Barnard, thence on to Kris Lee, whose shot skimmed the bar.
Half time and many Margate supporters did venture into the mecca of non league football, and the remaining stock of Urchins badges were snapped up, along with all the Harrods (Roneo Corner Branch) steak pies. Never had Margate supporters sampled such hospitality and bonhomie (whatever that means). Max tried in vain to hand over the £100 jackpot, but the winner did not step forward.
Kris Lee, victim of an atrocious tackle in the first half, failed to reappear, Harry Elmes coming on, with Urchins retaining their 3-4-3 formation, whilst the visitors introduced Rob Haworth who played at centre forward, but whose first touch of the ball was in fact a non touch, as he was booked for what could be termed a misunderstanding between himself and the referee, leading to him kicking the ball away needlessly after conceding a free kick which he felt should not have been awarded. The free kick was right in front of the knowledgeable EastSide, every single one of whom agreed with the referee. Barnard took the free kick, and Dean Green dribbled past three players before losing the ball to a well timed tackle by Charlie Side. Despite the non stop efforts of Side and Pinnock, they could not prevent the Urchins forging forward, and goal number two followed when Dale Brightly hit a long ball down the middle, Harry Elmes headed on, to SIMON PARKER, thirty yards out of goal. Simon looked up, saw keeper Chalmers-Stevens off his line, and calmly chipped home for what is now Simon’s trademark goal. Max announced the goal as only Max can, and the entire EastSide ululated as one.
Back came the Urchins, Janney crossing to Curley, on to Elmes, on to Green, another weaving run and a cross, with Simon Parker cracking his shot inches wide. A long Brightly kick found Elmes, and Smith tackled, conceding a free kick in so doing. Janney took the kick, and Simon Parker tried to chip the keeper with a header, the ball rebounding off the bar, to Curley, whose shot was blocked, and back to Green, whose shot crashed inches over the bar, with the away defence now hanging on desperately. Green again, past three defenders, and Dean turned the ball back into the middle to Parker, who touched back to Curley, who again hammered the ball inches over the bar. In what was now a rare breakaway, Young played a long ball to Haworth who tried a solo run through the middle, Brightly saving comfortably. Styles from Goddard, and on to Parker, then out to Janney on the right. Mark raced clear but hit his shot over the bar as Chalmers-Stevens came out to narrow the angle. As the rain began to teem down, a bad tackle by Josephs led to a an incident when an away player clearly felled a home player with what appeared to be an unprovoked punch. Referee and both linesmen raced towards the incident, but the culprit, whose name and number was chanted loudly by the entire EastSide, remained unpunished, as none of the officials had seen it, and the yellow card was instead waved at Joseph. Margate, who simply had to come forward, almost created an opening with a centre from the left, which Goddard turned out for a corner, the header from Haworth then going well wide of the goal. And what happened next left he entire ground speechless. With one substitution remaining, two goals down, and time running out, why did Margate choose to substitute their goalkeeper?
No idea, but it certainly inspired the Urchins. Green made a long pass through to Parker, who was just beaten to the ball by Krunic, and Tomlinson, who came on for Parker shortly afterwards, then sent a long pass out to Richards on the right, whose centre was turned behind by Josephs. Tomlinson’s corner saw McFarlane just fail to reach the ball, which was cleared upfield. With seconds remaining, Tomlinson floated a free kick over, and McFarlane’s shot skimmed the post. Three more points, rain pouring down, and everybody happy.
And for Margate, many of their supporters made a full day of it and went to the seaside, to the joys and delights on Southend.