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Margate’s win over Wingate & Finchley keeps their survival bid alive in the Isthmian Premier Division but all eyes are on Cheshunt versus Horsham tonight

Margate boss Mark Stimson has praised the fighting spirit of his team after refusing to give up on their survival hopes.

Their impressive recent form continued at the weekend with a 2-1 win over Wingate & Finchley. Margate’s only defeat in their last seven was against the Champions - losing 1-0 to Hornchurch - and they’ve won three of their last four.

A big night ahead as Margate boss Mark Stimson hopes his team still have a fighting chance this weekend Picture: Randolph File
A big night ahead as Margate boss Mark Stimson hopes his team still have a fighting chance this weekend Picture: Randolph File

It’s promotion form from Stimson’s men but they ended last weekend still inside the bottom four and reliant on a midweek result to keep their hopes alive this Saturday.

Relegation rivals Cheshunt are due to host play-off chasing Horsham tonight (Tuesday). Victory for Cheshunt would leave Margate with too many goals to make up, even if they won this Saturday, in their final game at Billericay.

Speaking ahead of the midweek match, Stimson praised the character of his men for prolonging the fight for as long as they have.

He said: “We’ve asked the boys to give it everything they’ve got and they have done that.

“Credit to the boys, we really expressed to them how much it means to the club and I am here doing the job and proud to be the manager of Margate and the boys are proud to be playing for Margate.

“It is so important for the club that we give it our best shot and we’ve done that, we just have everything crossed that we can get over that line, but it is going to be tough.”

Isthmian Premier Division table & Margate’s recent results

Goals from Jeremiah Pinder and Ben Greenhalgh won them the match on Saturday against Wingate & Finchley.

Stimson said: “We were playing a side desperate for a point to confirm their play-off position and thoroughly deserved the win.

“The desire in the last six or seven games has been outstanding, it’s just puzzling why it has taken this much time.”

Margate’s sensational form is in stark contrast to when Stimson first took over, waiting 12 games to register his first win as ‘Gate boss.

Stimson feels that getting captain Sam Blackman back from injury was a big boost and he’s also freshened the team up with some young faces.

The manager said: “Sam Blackman hasn’t played in the last two but four games before that he became available again and he makes a difference, he is the leader and the captain.

“We have also put some young boys in the team who have just got fantastic athleticism, they just don’t stop.

“With young players it can work two ways, they have no fear, they are just playing football because they love it, that is the most important thing. If you lose the desire to play this game, you shouldn’t be in it.

“The young lad (Pinder) who we’ve got from Dartford scored again on Saturday and the youngsters have brought in a breath of fresh air, with enthusiasm and legs into the team.

“They love the game, they love running around and if you can do that and if you have a little quality in the team as well like Ben, striking the ball the way he does, we have a chance.

“We haven’t scored as much as I would have liked from set-pieces but we’ve been working on it in training and hopefully this weekend we can get a couple. Ben’s delivery is so good, we have Lewis Knight who is 6ft 6inch and Harry Hudson who loves to attack the ball and Steve Cawley is not bad in the air as well.”

While Margate will be cheering Horsham on tonight, Saturday’s opponents and hosts Billericay need Cheshunt to win it, to give them a chance of making the play-offs.

Stimson added: “We just have to give it one more push and hopefully it all goes for us on Tuesday night and we’ll see what happens.”

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