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Margate manager Steve Watt unhappy with postponement of FA Trophy tie with Bowers and Pitsea

By Mark Stokes

Steve Watt described the postponement of Saturday’s home FA Trophy game against Bowers & Pitsea as far from ideal.

The second qualifying round tie at Hartsdown was called off on Thursday afternoon after Pitsea were charged with fielding a suspended player in their 1-1 draw at Egham in those clubs’ first qualifying round match.

The charge is due to be heard at Wembley on Wednesday and until the result of that, Gate boss Watt admits his club remain in limbo.

Margate manager Steve Watt Picture: Don Walker
Margate manager Steve Watt Picture: Don Walker

The Gate are due to travel to Lowestoft in the Bostik Premier on Saturday and go to Tooting & Mitcham on Tuesday but Watt fears the Trophy game could end up taking place instead of one of those matches.

He said: “While the (enforced) rest will do us the world of good, this whole situation with Bowers & Pitsea is going to cost us down the line in terms of fixtures being moved.

“We’re probably going to have to move another fixture for this game and if it’s Saturday’s, then it would mean us having to travel to Lowestoft midweek, which would be unfair.

“It would mean players having to take more time off work to travel. It’s far from ideal, we’d be on the wrong end of a situation that is not of our making.”

Watt has no idea how the situation will be resolved but feels the best scenario for his club would be for them to receive a bye into the third qualifying round where they would face an away tie at Bath City on November 25 after Monday’s draw.

He added: “I’m sure if a mistake was made it wasn’t done deliberately but if it’s proved that they did break the rules, then surely they should be removed from the competition.

“I can’t remember too many cases when a team that’s been beaten (in this case Egham who lost the replay 5-3) is then re-instated. I don’t want to progress in competitions not playing but I’ve got to think what’s best for my club and players.”

Watt admits the loss of Saturday’s game was also disappointing because it denied the Gate the chance to build on their 2-1 midweek win at Merstham.

That result made it four league games unbeaten and Watt is keen to keep momentum going.

He added: “We’ve had a couple of good wins (Staines 2-0 and Merstham) which has helped move us up the league (the Blues are ninth with games in hand on six of the teams above them) and we’ve now put ourselves in a great position to push for the play-offs.”

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