Margate belied their lowly league position to gain a valuable away point against play-off contenders Tonbridge Angels to give their new joint manager Jay Saunders a reasonably positive start. In truth, Angels lacked the intensity they had shown in recent games and over the 90 minutes a draw was probably a fair result.
On three minutes James Folkes for the home side produced a shot from the edge of the area but it lacked the curve on the ball he was hoping for. After a quiet period the game came to life in the 27th minute when a good move for the home side involving Jack Parter and Chinedu McKenzie forced Margate keeper Louis Wells to concede the corner. A second corner was then given away at which the visiting defender Ben Swift inexplicably handled with a penalty the inevitable result. Up stepped Joe Turner to put Tonbridge 1-0 up.
Margate did offer a response through Joseph Hungbo who forced a save out of Angels keeper Jonny Henly and a little later Kadell Daniel got round the back of the home defence with a dangerous low cross. The 56th minute saw away skipper Liam Friend’s header go just over the bar while a minute later at the other end Adem Ramadan’s header was cleared off the line.
Chances fell to the home side through Tom Beere and Chinedu McKenzie but it was the corners and long throws of Margate that were starting to give problems for the Tonbridge defence. In particular it was the introduction of Dave Martin replacing Bradley Stevenson for the away side that materially improved their prospects. Operating largely on the left flank the visitors were making inroads on the Tonbridge defence.
Eventually in the 83rd minute the away side would profit through their aerial bombardment when Swift for the visitors was first to the ball and grabbed a deserved equaliser making full amends for conceding the 1st half penalty.
Afterwards, Angels boss, Steve McKimm said: “I’m not going to be too critical of the boys today. We’ve won 14 out of 18 points and with a small senior squad combined with a couple of injuries I’m not in a position to change things around too much. Some of them are running on empty - they all do full time jobs - and a couple of months ago it could have been a game we would have lost. We’ve managed however to pick up a valuable point.”