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Margate manager Mark Stimson ends near 10-month wait for competitive win as Gate earn 3-2 Isthmian Premier home victory over Canvey Island

Margate manager Mark Stimson has spoken of the psychological challenges he’s faced after he ended a near 10-month wait for a competitive win.

Gate boosted their Isthmian Premier survival hopes as playmaker Ben Greenhalgh bagged a first-half hat-trick in their sorely-needed 3-2 home victory over Canvey Island last weekend.

Margate boss Mark Stimson – won for the first time since last April on Saturday as Gate beat Canvey Island 3-2. Picture: Randolph File
Margate boss Mark Stimson – won for the first time since last April on Saturday as Gate beat Canvey Island 3-2. Picture: Randolph File

It was a first success for Stimson since he took charge of the club in early December.

Having also endured a forgettable stint with Isthmian North Grays earlier this season, Stimson previously hadn’t enjoyed a competitive win inside 90 minutes since beating Kingstonian 2-1 while in charge of Hornchurch on Saturday, April 22, 2023.

Stimson said: “For me, it’s so new.

“Over 20 years and more than 1,000 games, I think the longest run I’ve had of losses was probably two or three games before.

“I kept coming up with the same answers. When we keep changing the team so often, it’s hard to get that consistency.

Gate hat-trick hero makes team-of-the-week

“But I knew, when I came into the club, it needed to be changed. That took longer than I expected.

“When I looked at some of the players, I thought to myself ‘Does this matter as much to them as it does to me and the board?’. But it’s just one win.

“We still have to earn the right and maybe do stuff that’s not in the players’ natural game. You saw that from Ben where two of his goals came from flick-ons by Steve [Cawley].

“He has got good pace but a good footballing brain, as well. He did very well for his third goal, in particular.

“With his class and quality, fingers crossed, he will score a few more.”

Ben Greenhalgh, pictured in action on New Year’s Day against Folkestone, bagged a first-half hat-trick. Picture: Randolph File
Ben Greenhalgh, pictured in action on New Year’s Day against Folkestone, bagged a first-half hat-trick. Picture: Randolph File

Stimson revealed he had questioned his own managerial ability during the tough run but now feels Gate’s squad is as strong as it has been since he joined.

Asked if he knew how long the wait for a win had been, he replied: “Far too long!

“When you’re in the middle of it, you question yourself - probably far too much. I couldn’t give any more, although maybe a couple of the players could have.

“I think we have got the best group that I have had since I came to the club now.

“The bench on Saturday was the strongest it’s been. That’s what we need.”

Even without Stimson at the helm, Margate hadn’t tasted victory since November 4.

Stimson, who gave debuts against Canvey Island to defenders Rio Davidson-Phipps and the dual-registered Teddy Perkins, said: “It was a great feeling.

“I think it was deserved and the team played really well. We had a couple of debuts - Rio and Teddy - at the back. They did really well.

“Ben getting a first-half hat-trick gave us a chance and we won 3-2 in the end.

“The board has supported me fantastically well since I’ve come in and the supporters have been fantastic.”

Greenhalgh’s treble, which included a free-kick, proved the difference. But he has struggled to find his best form this term and still only has eight goals to his name.

“Ben - like a lot of the boys - has had a mixed bag of a season,” Stimson noted. “His suspension didn’t help.

“He’s definitely capable of double figures in goals. He does that most seasons.

“We took the option to start him and Steve together up front. I’d thought about playing them up front and it definitely helped on Saturday.”

Gate, who have moved out of the relegation zone, visit fellow strugglers Haringey this Saturday.

Stimson said: “We have got a chance - that’s what it is.

Chatham away, Dulwich at home and Hastings away, we had half a chance but, against Canvey, we had a chance. It’s the same this Saturday.

“Tom (Loizou, the manager) at Haringey is probably my closest friend in football. They’re not having the best of seasons.

“Hopefully, like on Saturday, we can score more goals than them and come away with three points.”

Youngster Archie Panyi, fellow right-back Ellis Ashworth and midfielder Taner Dogan have left the club.

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