Margate 0-2 Fleet

Clark and Parkes left their mark on Hartsdown Park as their strikes earned Fleet another three points and saw them go top of the Vanarama National League South table.

Daryl McMahon was able to name an unchanged side once more as Fleet sought to extend their 100% away record against a luckless Margate side still searching for their first win this season.

The home side featured three former Fleet players in Kane Wills, Brett Johnson and our homegrown Luke Moore and it was Wills who caught the eye in the first half, alongside Gate’s left back Nathan Green.

And it was a somewhat tepid first half with neither side carving out chances of real note, though Margate made most of the running and passed the ball around nicely as they looked to break down the Fleet defence.

The blues first gave Fleet something to think about inside the first two minutes when a long ball saw Freddie Ladapo burst through and though Brandon Hall was out quickly to thwart him, the Fleet goalkeeper needed two attempts to get the ball under control.

Nathan Green was proving a good outlet for Margate down the left and Matt Fish had to be mindful of venturing too far as he was responsible for Fleet’s supply from the flanks on his own forward runs.

It took Fleet 17 minutes to get a shot on goal and it was from a long ball forward by Tom Bonner. Danny Kedwell laid it into Jordan Parkes’ path but his effort was blocked in the six-yard box. Four minutes later John-Paul kissock drove  a low shot through a crowded penalty area but Nikki Bull made the save.

Margate, though, were looking more dangerous as the half progressed.  Kane Wills fired over on 25 minutes as the home side put Fleet under pressure and the midfielder went even closer six minutes after that with a dipping shot that just cleared the bar.

Five minutes before the break and Margate were on the attack again. A quick break with Nathan Green and Christian Jolley down the left saw Green drift inside and finish the move with a solid shot that Hall did very well to push away.

But Margate haven’t scored at home since the opening day of the season and it showed as Fleet then took a somewhat fortunate lead on 43 minutes.

A Parkes free-kick into the danger area saw Matt Godden perform a superb overhead kick that ricocheted off the bar. It landed sweetly for Kenny Clark to see the rebound home and Fleet were ahead.

With their manager’s words no doubt ringing in their ears, Margate attempted to turn purpose into goals in the second half. But the Fleet defence remained resolute as the home side began the half industriously. Wills continued to create for Margate and he supplied Nathan Green with an opportunity to try his luck with a long-range shot before Danny Green headed one across goal.

Johnson received a yellow card for clipping Godden as the Fleet striker ran through and the  resulting free-kick to the far post saw Gate in disarray but Kedwell couldn’t quite finish. The Fleet No.9 should have done better moments later when one-on-one with Bull but the goalkeeper saved well and Parkes lashed the loose ball over the top.

This was the best spell in terms of excitement in the game to that point and another fine move on 65 minutes saw Fleet break from defence, Kissock found Parkes and he played a low cross that Kedwell got on target but a defender blocked. Parkes then hit the upright as his corner flew straight as an arrow and dropped kindly for Bull to gather.

Fleet had improved but they had Hall to thank for keeping their noses in front when he dived to turn away Danny Green’s goalbound effort. The Fleet were affording the home side a little too much room around the box and from that position David Hunt fired just over.

But that really was it for the home side as their ill luck got even worse on 74 minutes when Johnson’s challenge on substitute Robbie Willmott was deemed worthy of a second yellow and off he went. Fleet didn’t look back and a quality Dean Rance strike from distance flew just past the post.

And the goal that sealed victory for the Fleet came on 79 minutes. From midfield, Rance played a lovely through ball to Kedwell. He supplied substitute Danny Haynes whose quick feet allowed him to lay it off centrally for Parkes who arrived on cue to slam a shot out of Bull’s reach for 2-0.

A frustrated Terry Brown could be heard urging his players to greater heights but Margate were a beaten side by that point. Haynes fired well over when he might have been better advised to play Stuart Lewis in, who had a last-minute lob that almost had Bull caught out. The goalkeeper also checked Parkes’ effort as Fleet looked for a third.

That would have been very harsh on Margate and Fleet were delighted with the 2-0 victory that sees them clear at the top of the table.

EUFC: Hall, Fish, Howe, S Lewis, Clark, Bonner, Rance, Parkes, Kedwell (Cunnington 80), Godden (Haynes 68), Kissock (Willmott 68). Subs not used: Miles, Acheampong
MFC: Bull, Wilson, Green, Hunt, Goodman, Johnson, Wills, Moore (Wassmer 79), Ladapo, Green, Jolley (Taylor 73). Subs: not used: Rents, Taiwo, Taylor, Gaggin.
Attendance: 1,017


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