Vanarama National League South
Saturday 6 August 2016 - Hartsdown Park - kick off 3.00pm
||Phillips, Rigg, Ball (c), Batten, Monthe, Hemmings, Diallo (Murphy 65), Marshall (Hutchinson 83), McCootie (Fleetwood 76), Morgan, Watkins. subs not used: Bowman, Hunter.
|man of the match:
||L Wood, R Claussen, I Searle
|league position: 15th
||next match: Weston Super Mare (H)
Report taken from
Margate's Alex Osborn gatecrashed Bath City's trip to the South Coast with a 90th-minute crisp strike to win the game for the hosts.
The much-travelled Margate debutant netted the only goal of an entertaining contest at Hartsdown Park, where City will feel hard done by to not have earned at least a share of the spoils.
Osborn was one of eight men making their bow for the Kent side, who ended the last campaign with a defeat at Twerton Park which nearly cost them their National League South status.
They created the first opening with Cypriot Michael Thalassitis dragging a shot wide early on as the players tried to adjust to the stifling temperatures on the South Coast.
Andy Watkins was first to warm the gloves of Lewis Ward, who showed soon after that he's just as capable with his feet as well as hands. Nick McCootie's through ball carved the Margate defence open and left Marvin Morgan in the clear, but the alert goalkeeper slid out of his box to rob the front man. The number one also had time to backtrack and pluck Morgan's eventual shot from just under the bar.
Within a minute Margate reacted when Stuart Cash's cross from the right was partially cleared by Ball onto the boot of Osborn, whose first time volley was cleared off the line by the retreating City captain with Phillips beaten.
Naby Diallo, making his second debut for the stripes, was impressing in midfield and his efforts were nearly rewarded when he danced his way around the hosts' backline before placing his shot agonisingly wide of Ward's left hand post with half-time approaching.
In truth both sides were probably grateful for a break, with a few mistakes creeping in as players re-adjusted themselves back after the summer hiatus.
Margate flew out of the blocks in the second half, with Phillips forced into patting away Cash's hanging cross with Elliott Buchanan looking to pounce.
City, without a win at Hartsdown Park for nearly 38 years, cursed their luck once again as the crossbar denied them an opener just before the hour. Andy Watkins, lively throughout, unlocked the key to the 'gate defence by running in behind and squaring the ball to the onrushing McCootie, who thundered a shot against the bar from eight yards.
The home side introduced Marcel Barrington for Thalassitis, and the former Guyana international added a further pinch of creativity with a series of testing runs against City's defence. Diallo was also withdrawn, moments after picking a yellow card, by Billy Murphy for the visitors.
It was Barrington who set up Margate's clearest opportunity to this point on 78 minutes when his cross from the right was met by the unmarked Osborn, whose sizzling first-time effort was superbly palmed away by Phillips.
Stuart Fleetwood and Josh Hutchinson, who both impressed at Torquay in City's final friendly, were thrown into the fray with eight minutes remaining for McCootie and Lee Marshall respectively.
Hutchinson nearly added to his brace in Devon when Morgan's barnstorming run, after a suspicion of handball, saw his dangerous low ball just evade both of the City substitutes.
The game appeared to be petering out into a goalless draw, but Osborn was determined to not be denied for a third time. As the City defence momentarily switched off, he collected Luke Moore's lay off and deliciously stroked the ball low into the bottom corner from 18 yards, giving Phillips no chance.
Yet there was still time for City to try and snatch a point. Hutchinson's pull back found Chas Hemmings in oceans of space in the penalty area, but the midfielder's composure deserted him as he blazed off target.
It was swiftly followed by the final whistle, which saw a brief melee between the dugouts as Gary Owers expressed his disapproval to his opposite number, Nikki Bull, for a few incidents including comments in the matchday programme. The City chief will be sure that if his players show similar fighting spirit against Weston on Tuesday, they should pick up their first points on the board.