Well difficult to know where to begin with this one on an eventful and ultimately a very frustrating evening in this John West sponsored match.
We started off really well controlling the match, not giving away any chances and soon opening the scoring with a fine finish by Les. The second goal quickly followed after Margate tried a quick free kick that Les pinched off them and bore down on goal and promptly finished off.
So 2 up after 10 minutes and everything seemed to be going well. Plenty of efforts on goal followed with a fine attempt from Rob striking the inside of the post and somehow rebounding out at an impossible angle to safety. To be honest we should have got enough goals to be comfortably ahead but things where about to change, first was an appalling challenge on Rob with the opposition playing coming through him from behind and knocking him to the ground, unfortunately the referee deemed it no more than a free kick and didn’t get his cards out, shortly after Martin was intentionally pushed off the ball which broke to the Margate player who should have been serving a sin bin and his speculative shot sneaked in at the near post. Still a couple of chances came and went but 2-1 up at half time.
The second half started poorly for the strollers by conceding the equaliser after a rebound was tucked away to make the scores level. We had a few scary moments with Lawrence making one particularly fine save but gradually took control, but we just couldn’t find the net with the post coming to the home side’s rescue on more than one occasion. Midway through the half another really poor challenge resulted in Gordon being upended in to the fence by yes the same offender from the first half, again no card or sin bin. Thankfully one of the Margate management team saw sense and replaced the offending player much to his disgust and denial of doing anything wrong.
Bay City kept driving forward in an attempt to get a well deserved winner, the final moment of the game appeared to find a Margate defender encroaching in the area but unfortunately the referee didn’t seem to notice and the full time whistle was blown.
On the whole the Strollers put in a good performance and where unlucky not to claim victory playing the game in the right spirit and not getting involved in any nonsense, having said this it was only one player who seemed to be on a one man mission to play the game his way, better protection from the official on the night would have quickly altered this.
The game can be put simply- Day light robbery.
Many thanks to Margate for their hospitality after the game.