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Injury to Saunders mars Gate victory

HEAD INJURY: Jay Saunders
HEAD INJURY: Jay Saunders

Southport 0 Margate 2

A NASTY head injury to goalscorer Jay Saunders took the gloss off Margate’s fourth win in four Conference meetings with Southport.

Saunders clashed heads with team-mate Sam Sodje as they both challenged for a ball in the air in the second half.

He had to leave the field with a bruised, swollen face, but did not go to hospital and was able to travel back by train with the rest of the team on Saturday evening.

The fact that Margate picked up three more useful points was about as much satisfaction as they could take from an often scrappy match.

Both sides were weakened by injury, with Gate missing strikers Leon Braithwaite and Phil Collins, and Southport, a big, physical side, relied heavily on the muscular presence of centre forward Robert Pell.

He had some their best chances, twice forcing excellent saves from goalkeeper Phil Smith.

His team-mate Steve Jones, however, twice let Gate off the hook by missing the target after dispossessing first Sodje, then Graham Porter. Otherwise, however, Margate managed to contain a fairly predictable attack and earned their victory with an improved second-half performance.

Saunders’ persistence earned them the lead when he and defender Barry Jones stumbled in challenging for Adrian Clarke’s cross, but the Margate man recovered more quickly to force the ball over the line.

It was 15 minutes from time that Saunders had to leave the field, to be replaced by Iain O’Connell.

But it was another substitute, John Keister, who made the game safe. Jean-Michel Sigere capped a fine performance by forcing an error from Barry Jones, and rolling the ball across for Keister to knock into the net.

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