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Kinnear promises to stick by Gate

CHRIS KINNEAR: "If the directors want me to stay I will"
CHRIS KINNEAR: "If the directors want me to stay I will"

Margate 1 Dorchester 2

CHRIS Kinnear has vowed to stay at Margate even if the club suffer their second successive relegation.

A 90th minute winner by Jamie Brown condemned the homeless Thanet club to a fourth successive home defeat, as they slipped into the bottom two of the Nationwide South table following Maidenhead's surprise win at Thurrock.

Kinnear and assistant manager Kevin Raine are embroiled in their first relegation battle in 19 years together in management, but refuse to concede the inevitable with three games left.

He said: "We are under no illusions about how bad it looks, but I think 99 out of 100 clubs in our position would have gone under. It's amazing how we have managed to continue. Our problems are not football related, and we have been slapped around the face every week."

Asked if would carry on if Margate went down, Kinnear added: "If the directors want me to stay I will. Everyone has worked so hard to keep it going, and now we have got to look ahead, get back to Hartsdown Park and start again."

He paid tribute to his players and the supporters who cheered the team off the pitch at the end. He said: "I can't believe how magnificent our supporters, turning up every week home and away. I think the players appreciate their support, and that's why they have stayed, despite all the problems."

Margate's cause is not helped by a mounting injury list. Greg Oates undergoes a knee operation on Friday, and won't play again this season, while Peter Benevides (ankle) and Billy Edwards (groin) are both carrying knocks.

Former Gillingham youngster Mark Green is set to start his first game since breaking a leg last September in Tuesday's John Ullman Kent Senior Cup semi-final against Folkestone Invicta at Cheriton Road on Tuesday night.

The game against Dorchester was a scrappy affair, with the ball spending too much time in the air, not helped by a strong swirling wind. It was hard to believe they were in play-off contention, but went in front just before the break when skipper Alex Browne headed in Spaniard Jose Barandiaran's near post corner.

Aaron Barnett replaced Oates for the second half, when top scorer Che Stadhart missed a great chance to put Margate level, only to see his shot blocked by Dorchester 'keeper Craig Bradshaw.

Big Darren Watson was sent on to replace Eseyas Yudego, but made little impact, but Rocky Baptiste headed home the 77th minute equaliser from John Keister's free kick. Keister, back in the side after a two match ban had another solid game up against burly Brown, and Matt Groves, the Nationwide South's joint leading marksman.

It was Baptiste's first league goal for two months, but sadly it proved to no avail, as with the clock ticking down, Brown got free in the Margate box to bury a right foot shot past Trego.

Margate: Trego, Oates (Barnett 46), Benevides, Edwards, Yudego (64 mins), Smith, Keister, Gradley, Stadhart, Baptiste, Clarke. Subs Not Used: Charalambous, Hussein, Jjunju.

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