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Margate boss Nikki Bull hates losing but knows it's early days for his new-look squad

Nicky Bull was satisfied with Margate’s first pre-season run-out – except the result.

The only goal of the game, scored by Ramsgate’s Tom Loynes two minutes before half-time, settled the WW Martin Thanet Cup first-leg meeting, watched by more than 450 at Hartsdown Park on Saturday, with the return at Southwood on Friday, July 29.

The game proved eventful, with new signing Alex Osborn substituted after tangling with Luke Girt and another close-season capture, Ali Fuseini, sent off after an incident with Stephen Butcher.

Margate boss NIkki Bull pic: Alan Langley
Margate boss NIkki Bull pic: Alan Langley

Bull said: “I spoke to the referee (Dan Bonneywell) afterwards, who said he would be including the dismissal in his match report, so we will have to wait and see what action the Kent FA takes.”

“I got everything out of the game but I am the world’s worse loser. Driving home, I had to keep telling myself it was only July 9.”

Bull gathered his new-look squad together for a three-day training stint at Hartsdown last week, with the players sleeping under canvas.

#He said “The boys all embraced the thing, which allowed them to bond and create team spirit,

“They had four hard training sessions on Thursday and Friday, so I knew they would be tired going into the game.

“I could have played a local park team and won six or seven but Ramsgate came and were fully committed and it was like a cup final.

“It’s a whole new squad who had five training sessions in the space of nine days. The boys all acquitted themselves well but it was hard to gauge things.

Two other new signings, defenders Yado Mambo and Danny Fitzsimons, had 45-minute run-outs in the first half before Bull used several trialists in the second half.

He said: “Yado hasn’t played for 15 months and Danny for a year, following cruciate knee ligament injuries.”

Gate have been handed a home start in Vanarama National South, against Bath City on Saturday, August 6 – the team who beat them 2-0 on the final day of last season, only for

Bull’s men to stay up courtesy of a one-goal better difference.

He said: “The computer always throws up one of two interesting games.

“Bath did their best to relegate us and knew a third goal would send us down, a fact which isn’t lost on me.”

Trialist Marcel Barrington scored a second half hat-trick as Gate beat Herne Bay 7-1 in their latest pre-season run out at Hartsdown Park on Tuesday night.

New signing Elliott Buchanan scored two more.

Gate host League 2 play-off winners AFC Wimbledon on Saturday (3pm) with the visitors set to field their full first team

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