The Reds were back at full-strength after Monday night’s exertions at Withdean; with the same sixteen that made up the squad at Haringey last week.
Margate came close to breaking the deadlock just eight minutes in but Kadell Daniel’s ball into Kieran Monlouis just ran away from his teammate.
Shortly afterwards right-back, Michael Abnett wasn’t too far away from around forty yards, when a left wing corner came all the way out to him before the hosts went in front through Callum Kealy. Reece Myles-Meekums dispossessed Monlouis, marginally outside the centre circle, advanced and played in the Aussie who sidestepped Dan Johnson and despatched into the bottom corner of Joe Tupper’s net.
Ricky Aguiar couldn’t quite keep his effort under the bar from twenty yards, once Marvin Armstrong had won possession on the left and supplied Meekums, seconds after Armtsrong had combined with Joel Colbran on the right, with Tupper getting down low to hold the full-back’s goalbound attempt.
‘Gate’s keeper was called into action twice in a matter of minutes approaching the half-hour mark when he denied Marvin, following a link-up between Colbran and Alex Parsons then Kealy, after a Ricky flag-kick had come back out to Parsons, whose effort had been met with a defensive block.
Yellow’s responded through Monlouis’ blast over the angle of crossbar and post but he soon came close to setting-up Noel Leighton, when he took Daniel’s pass and centred, only for a timely interception by Dylan Jelley to avert the danger.
Daniel then lashed/sliced horribly wide of the target, close in, after Colbran had seemingly won but then lost the ball while attempting to hack clear
In the final minute of the half controversy reigned when Armstrong appeared to punch the ball past his opposite number, Johnson on the left flank and, with no referee’s whistle forthcoming, proceeded to burst to the byline and pull back to Parsons, who gladly accepted the invitation to guide past a startled Tupper.
The protests, understandably, continued but Captain, Reece Prestedge took his too far and picked up two bookings inside a minute to earn his marching orders before play could restart.
Kealy crossed from near the corner flag and Jay Porter’s presence distracted Meekums enough as he side-footed behind, then Colbran took down Jesse Starkey’s crossfield pass and hit a half-volley over the top, from just inside the penalty area on the right, as the second-half got underway.
Margate hit back via Daniel’s run down the right and cut inside that, inadvertently, presented Adem Ramadan with an opportunity he could only drag the wrong side of the far upright. This coming not long after Daniel himself had fired wide of the other post.
A vital interception by Chris Sessegnon stopped Parsons putting the game to bed; with Jelley doing something similar when he got a foot in as Ramadan was about to pull the trigger, at the end of a rapid counter-attack.
Daniel’s persistence paid off when he beat both Aguiar and Starkey on the byline but, once more, shot into the side netting, then blasted over the top, near the edge of the box after Starkey had miscued his attempted clearance.
‘Game on for gate’ was the cry, with Daniel eventually getting it right by dissecting substitute, Lloyd Dawes and Starkey with a low centre that Leighton swept home, despite the close attentions of Colbran and Jelley.
Another replacement, Darren Budd spread play out to Colbran, who slipped in Meekums, only for Tupper to parry away to safety at the base of his near upright; before an Aguiar corner required a punch out from under his own crossbar by the away team’s custodian.
Starkey’s long ball over to Colbran saw the attack-minded Joel send in a delivery that, unfortunately, went behind everyone and Dawes drove wide with five minutes to go, once Kealy had pounced on Sessegnon’s shilly-shallying to carve open the opening.
An Aguiar free-kick flew above the goal but his next attempt, played short to Starkey, was then floated into Dawes, whose impudent improvisation of an overhead-kick fell narrowly the wrong side of the front stick.
Finally, with time running out, Margate’s last hope of rescuing at least a point went up in smoke, thanks to sub, Ben Swift firing emphatically over the bar, after Abnett’s long ball from right to left had been headed into his path by Leighton.