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Margate manager Jay Saunders gets the perfect response from striker Noel Leighton after half-time rocket

Noel Leighton responded to a half-time rocket in the best possible way as Margate drew with Corinthian Casuals.

Leighton scored both goals, including an 87th-minute equaliser, as Saturday’s Isthmian Premier home game ended 2-2.

Margate boss Jay Saunders Picture: Don Walker
Margate boss Jay Saunders Picture: Don Walker

Goalkeeper Craig Holloway and defender Dan Johnson were Gate’s only fit substitutes, even though Jack Richards and Adem Ramadan were named on a four-man bench.

And that’s the the only reason Leighton and fellow striker Elliott Reeves weren’t taken off at the break with Gate trailing 1-0.

However, manager Jay Saunders’ words sparked a reaction and Leighton’s double salvaged a point.

Saunders said: “I wasn’t happy with our front two and made my feelings clear at half-time.

“I’d have taken both of them off if we’d had any options on the bench but we were down to the bare bones and Craig Holloway and DJ were the only fit subs.

“We played a lot of good stuff and dominated possession but we lacked quality in the final third.

“When you’re having that much of the ball you’ve got to make it count but we kept breaking down in the final third.

“To be fair to Noel, he’s responded and got himself a couple of goals and he’s capable of that.

Margate striker Noel Leighton Picture: Don Walker
Margate striker Noel Leighton Picture: Don Walker

“We’ve got a young squad and within that you’ve got some you can rollick and others you have to hold back with.

“It’s difficult at the moment because with the size of the squad, it’s not like you can leave people out when they’ve had a bad game.”

Mathias Bakare opened the scoring against the run of play on 26 minutes as Casuals led at half-time.

Leighton levelled on 58 minutes but the visitors regained the lead six minutes from time and looked set to snatch the points.

But Leighton made it 2-2 for a Gate side who sit 13th in the table.

Saunders said: “To be honest, I don’t think the result tells the full story because they’ve had two shots on target and scored two goals.

“We’ve probably had 80% possession but we’ve not been good enough in both boxes because we’ve conceded two goals and we’ve not had enough quality to kill them off.”

Margate visit bottom side Brightlingsea Regent this Saturday.

Ramadan (hamstring) and Richards (groin) will be monitored while loanees Jimmy Witt and Tommy Lamb (both ankle) are set to be assessed by parent club Gillingham.

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