Published: 06:35, 03 August 2021
| Updated: 06:37, 03 August 2021
Ben Greenhalgh says Margate have shown what they’re capable of after retaining the Thanet Cup.
Greenhalgh scored a 14-minute hat-trick in the first half as the Blues beat old rivals Ramsgate 5-2 at Southwood on Saturday.
It was his first taste of a Thanet derby and he soon appreciated the rivalry, with a crowd of 1,800 in attendance for what was more than just a pre-season friendly.
“That was our first proper game,” said Greenhalgh. “The Thanet Cup might not mean much to anyone else outside of Thanet, or to me before Saturday.
“But once you get there, and there’s nearly 2,000 fans in, it felt like a massive game It felt like a league game, and it was good to show what we can do and give our fans the bragging rights for another year.
“It gets us off the mark, it gets me off the mark, and that’s what I’ve come down here for, to try and make things happen for Margate.”
Greenhalgh opened the scoring from Chris Sessegnon’s cross after 13 minutes, finished James Bessey-Saldanha’s pass on 20 minutes and completed his hat-trick seven minutes later with a classy free-kick.
“It’s definitely the fastest hat-trick I’ve ever scored,” said Greenhalgh.
“I probably should have had more but I was pleased we scored five as a team because we’ve been lacking goals.”
Maliq Morris replied on the stroke of half-time but Dan Thompson hit Margate’s fourth and Montel Agyemang rounded off the scoring after TJ Jadama struck Rams’ second.
Greenhalgh is enjoying a fresh start at Margate after joining from Tonbridge.
It’s seen him link up with Gate boss Jay Saunders for the fourth time in his career, following three spells together at Maidstone.
He was part of Saunders’ Maidstone side who won the Isthmian Premier title six years ago and feels Gate have the squad to mount a promotion challenge.
Greenhalgh said: “There’s a lot of strong teams in the league but we have to be aiming for the play-offs with the squad we’ve got, and Jay has said the same.
“He doesn’t want to be at a club that’s doing mediocre or OK, he wants to be doing well.
“He’s done well in the past, he’s won this league before, he knows how to build teams.
“We’ve got players who’ve won this league before and I feel we’ve got all the characteristics to make something happen.
“The club’s got good support, we just need to get it back on the way up.
“Hopefully, the Thanet Cup has shown what we can do.”
At 29, Greenhalgh has plenty to offer as a player but he’s also taken on coaching commitments at Hartsdown Park.
Since joining Saunders’ staff, he’s helped bring Sam Blackman and Lewis Knight to the club.
“I’m there as player-coach but I’m very much focused on playing,” said Greenhalgh.
“If I need to say something I’ll say it and I’ll speak to players individually.
“There’s a few players I’ve tried to bring in as well.
“Jay and Coyley (Jamie Coyle, assistant manager) have great contacts but where I’m still playing, I can talk about players I’ve played with in the last year or two.
“I was chatting to Sam Blackman and Lewis Knight about coming in, and they signed, so it’s a good role for me.”
Margate visit Faversham tonight and complete pre-season at home to Hythe this Saturday.