Published: 00:00, 07 November 2018
Alex Flisher was probably the only Margate player who felt he had something to celebrate after Saturday's disappointing 3-2 home Bostik Premier defeat to Burgess Hill.
The former Maidstone man scored one goal and had a hand in the other as he made his first league start for the Blues – 16 months after moving to Hartsdown in June 2017.
Flisher missed the whole of last season with an ACL injury sustained in the dying minutes of the club's final pre-season game and then bruised his tibia in the build-up to the current campaign.
Before Saturday the 26-year-old had been limited to half-a-dozen cameos from the bench but handed his first start he played 66 minutes, scoring the Gate's opener from a fine free-kick before launching the long throw which led to Hill keeper Josh James diverting the ball into his own net.
Flisher was disappointed with the result but the winger admitted it was just great to be playing again.
He said: "In my situation I'm just pleased to be playing football again, it's been a long time but I always knew in my head that eventually I'd get back.
"It's been a while, 16 months I think. I came back this pre-season and then got another setback.
"It was difficult but I've done it before (he also had a knee injury at Maidstone) so I just knew that I had to be patient, take my time and work my way back slowly which is what I've done.
"I've been building myself up and then we all came to the decision that the Burgess Hill game would be a good time to start and play maybe for about an hour.
"Fitness wise I'm getting there but match fitness is completely different, that will take a bit longer to get back.
"It's always hard even when you're fully fit, coming off the bench because everyone's already at 100 miles per hour and you've got to try and catch up immediately so starting a game at the same pace as everyone else you can gradually work yourself in."
Flisher's goal was his first since netting in a 3-1 win for Maidstone at Wrexham in April 2017 and he admitted he was surprised free-kick specialist Frannie Collin had allowed him to take the fifth minute set piece.
He explained: "To be fair I walked away because you don't normally get free kicks off Frannie but a few people shouted at me and then Mike (joint boss Mike Sandmann) shouted across so I went and had a look .
"The goalkeeper sort of stood behind the wall and I thought if I keep it low he's not going to see it and it fortunately it went in at the back post."
Flisher is also trying to lay claim to the second goal, having been involved in a similar incident at Maidstone.
He explained: "I think it happened once before when I was at Maidstone, the same thing, the goalkeeper tried to tip it somewhere and he's tipped it in the goal.
"Everyone's been saying you can't do it but I'm claiming it as a deflection. It was on target so it's my goal, you've got to claim everything you can."