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Margate manager Jay Saunders says there is no reason they can't beat Oxford City in FA Cup fourth qualifying round

Jay Saunders believes Margate have nothing to fear as they attempt to win a place in the FA Cup first round for the first time in 17 years.

The Blues travel to Oxford City in the fourth qualifying round on Saturday having already taken the scalp of one Conference South side this season, Concord.

Victory at Marsh Lane would put Margate in to the first round for the first time since John Keister’s penalty gave them a 1-0 win over Leyton Orient at Crabble (where they were groundsharing) in November 2002.

Margate boss Jay Saunders Picture: Oakley Photosport
Margate boss Jay Saunders Picture: Oakley Photosport

Gate boss Saunders was a player that day and he admitted it would be great if the present-day side – 11th in Isthmian Premier – could earn their own place in Hartsdown folklore.

Chris Kinnear's 2002 Blues bowed out 3-0 at home to Division 2 Cardiff City in the second round.

“I remember it like it was yesterday,” said Saunders. “It was one of the things the owner said in the summer, that we’d like a cup run.

"I’ve been fortunate over the years to have good cup runs, hopefully we can do that again.”

Oxford are in the bottom three of Conference South – they lost 1-0 at home to Dartford on Saturday – and Saunders says the tie a challenge his players should embrace.

He added: “I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself but it’s a winnable game.

"We played Concord and beat them (3-1 at home) a couple of rounds ago so we’re capable on our day of producing good performances.

“They play on a 3G pitch which obviously we’re used to so it’s a case of going there positive.”

Gate were beaten 1-0 in the league at Haringey on Saturday, the only goal coming right on the stroke of half-time when Romoluwa Akinola’s deflected shot beat Joe Tupper.

The visitors were convinced they had equalised nine minutes from time when a curling shot from Jack Richards looked to have crossed the line before being hooked clear but the goal was not given.

One plus for Gate was the return, as a late substitute of skipper Ben Swift, who has been sidelined by a hamstring injury.

Their side also included 19-year-old Southend midfielder O’Shane Stewart who has signed on a work-experience contract until the start of January.

Margate will travel to Isthmian South Central side Barking in the FA Trophy first qualifying round. The tie will be played on Saturday, October 26.

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