Margate beat Chatham Town on penalties to win the Kent Senior Cup Final at Priestfield on Wednesday night.
Nathan Wood put Margate infront in the first half and the Isthmian Premier side held Chatham out until the 97th minute when Reece Butler nodded in Jack Evans’ deep free-kick to take the final to penalties. Harry Hudson scored the winning spot-kick after Danny Kedwell’s effort had been saved.
Isthmian South East champions Chatham - who last won the Kent cup in 1919 - included Andy Drury in their starting line-up. He started the season as manager of opponents Margate and his involvement added extra spice to the evening.
There was also plenty of Gillingham interest in the Chats team, including 2013 title-winning striker Kedwell, along with their captain Evans. Right-back Ike Orji was playing his last game of his loan spell from the Football League hosts.
Margate - managed by Reece Prestedge - ended their league campaign 17th in the table while Chats surged to the South East championship with seven straight wins.
Backed by a vociferous following, Gate saw plenty of the ball early on, but it was Chatham’s Paris Lock who had the game’s opening shot, firing wide of the goal.
The first corner of the game was perfectly timed, on 14 minutes. Fans had been encouraged to remember young Chats fan Freddy Leitch, who recently died, but Evans stood over the ball and the game was halted as everyone in the ground, players included, stopped to clap in memory of the eight-year-old.
From that corner, Margate counter-attacked and took the lead. Goalkeeper Daniel Jinadu claimed the ball and played it to Henry Young, who then picked out Nathan Wood in the box. The forward regained his footing after a slip to slot in the opener.
Chats went close with a glancing header from Simon Cooper while Joey Taylor wasn’t far off with a corner that he almost whipped into the top corner. Margate led at the break.
Dan Bradshaw was introduced by Chatham after the interval and they started the second half more confidently. Evans worked an opening 10 minutes in and from 25 yards his rising effort only just missed the the target.
The ever-dangerous Wood pinged one just wide at the other end.
Evans tried his luck from distance again for Chats but Jinadu was equal to it.
Chatham boss Kevin Hake continued to turn to his bench to try and turn the tie in his side’s favour. Both Callum Peck and Fabio Saraiva gave the side extra energy as they continued to press for an equaliser.
Jinadu held onto Saraiva’s long-range shot with 10 minutes left and Bradshaw couldn’t divert a cross goalwards.
Referee Kirsty Dowie had a big call to make as Yaser Kasim slid through Jordi Robins. The Gate midfielder escaped with a yellow card. From the free-kick Chats' Peck was unable to get a proper contact on his strike as the ball dropped to him.
Margate could have settled it with four minutes left when Kenzie Parkinson broke through, but Simon Cooper produced a perfectly timed tackle inside the box, keeping things alive for Chatham.
Seven minutes of stoppage-time was added on and Chatham committed plenty of men forward but the goal just wouldn’t come. The last chance for Chats came from a 96th minute free-kick, played in by Evans and headed home by Reece Butler.
With no extra-time, the tie went straight to penalties. Both sides scored their first four penalties but Kedwell went down the middle with his and was denied by Jinadu. Hudson then smashed his home to settle it.
Chatham: Bridle, Orji, Cooper, Robins, Butler, Lock (Bradshaw 46mins), Evans, Taylor, Kedwell, Drury (Saraiva 73mins), Bodkin (Peck 60mins). Subs not used: Beckwith, Sanogo.
Margate: Jinadu, Hatfull, Kasim, Christie, Hudson, Blackman, Smith (Parkinson 83mins), Wood, Barton, Ojemen, Young (Oke 77mins). Subs not used: Fisher, Sutcliffe, McCarthy.
Referee: Kirsty Dowle