Margate boss Reece Prestedge admitted his team “did it the hard way” to clinch the Kent Senior Cup on Wednesday night.
The Gate were leading Chatham Town 1-0 at the break but came under plenty of second half pressure before finally conceding in the 96th minute - then won the match on penalties.
Prestedge wasn’t short of people putting their hand up for penalty duty after the match ended 1-1.
All five of Margate’s penalties were converted, as Sam Blackman, Sinn’Kaye Christie, Yaser Kasim, Emanuel Oke and Harry Hudson found the net. Man-of-the-match goalkeeper Daniel Jinadu saved from Danny Kedwell to set up the shoot-out win that Hudson completed.
“It’s a nice feeling,” said Prestedge, who stepped up to manage the Isthmian Premier side after a Boxing Day defeat led to the departure of Andy Drury - who was playing for Chatham in Wednesday night’s final.
“We did it the hard way, obviously, parts of the second half they really had us stretched and the goal was coming, not the last kick of the game, but that is why they won their league.
“But for endeavour, defending, organising, we were outstanding, so you take the rough with the smooth.
“I asked who wanted to take a pen and I am proud of everyone that stepped up. It is hard, I don’t always want to pick someone because of position wise, it was just whoever fancied it and there were five or six of them who said ‘yes, I am having it’ and that makes my life easier.
“Dan (the goalkeeper) was excellent, very deservedly man-of-the-match and that probably shows the second half that they had, they were the better team because Dan pulled off some great saves.
“That is what Dan brings you, crosses, claims, he comes out very well, settles you down and you feel comfortable when he is coming out. The last one (for Chatham’s equaliser), he said to me, ‘I should have come’ but for 96 minutes he was excellent.”
Drury’s inclusion in the Chatham team gave Margate fans an easy target.
“It was a little strange,” said Prestedge, on facing his predecessor. “I saw him at the end, he congratulated me, it is one you probably won’t come across again, but as a player he is excellent and when he got on the ball he distributed it well, it gave the fans something to either cheer or boo about!”
Those Margate fans certainly made some noise in the Gordon Road Stand at Priestfield. Their team finished 17th in the Isthmian Premier but finished on a high.
“Both sets of fans made it good atmosphere,” said the Gate boss.
“There must have been 2,000 there, the place was erupting, that is what football is about, about enjoying it with the fans and atmospheres like that is what make you want to play football.
“I said to the players before the game that in their careers they won’t really have many opportunities to win a medal or silverware, when the opportunities arise take it, and we did.”