Margate held as opponents crowned champions: Margate 2 - 2 Billericay Town
Margate were held to an entertaining 2-2 draw by Billericay Town, a game that saw their opponents crowned Ryman Premier Division champions.
A draw was just about a fair result with Margate limiting Billericay to long ball tactics after a solid defensive display and taking a 2-0 lead.
Billericay and their fans were intent on enjoying their day out by the seaside as they only needed a point to be crowned champions. And it was the away side that started the brightest after a free-kick from Collis hit the stanchion behind the Gate goal.
It was Margate that took the lead though five minutes in. A blatant handball in the box by Collis gave Margate striker Dan Stubbs the chance to give Gate the lead. He duly obliged, sending the keeper the wrong way from 12 yards.
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Billericay didn't panic though and set about finding an equaliser. "Ricay" are often called the "Stoke City of lower league football" and it was easy to see why, numerous long throws and aerial balls into the Margate box caused all manner of problems, but Gate scrambled the ball clear on more than one occassion.
Ricay ended the half the stronger, but Dan Stubbs and Curtis Robinson both looked lively for Gate going forward although the closest the Blues came was when a Matt Bodkin free-kick was tipped over by 'Ricay keeper Dale Brightly.
Gate doubled their lead seven minutes into the second half, once again from the penalty spot. 'Ricay captain Rob Swaine unceremoniously shoved over Curtis Robinson in the box and the referee pointed to the spot. Stubbs took the kick which was saved but he blasted in the rebound to make it 2-0.
Gate were brimming with confidence now with Robinson missing a decent chance, putting a free header over the bar.
But Margate started to look leggy entering the final thrid of the game, and 'Ricay punished them. They pulled one back through a penalty after Dean Pooley handled in the box.
And three minutes from time the comeback was complete as captain Swailes towered high above the Margate defence to head in at the far post after a clever short corner routine.
Gate manager Chris Kinnear said during the week that his team wanted to compete with the leagues best sides and give them a good game and his side definitely did just that. Only running out of steam towards the end of the game denied them the win.