Hampton and Richmond Borough kept in touch with the playoffs with a tough victory over a hard working but struggling Margate after paying tribute to Brenda Mann and Alan Simpson.
The Beavers came out on the front foot, forcing early chances through Brendan Kiernan and Nathan Collier as Margate looked to try and keep a determined home team from goal.
With 10 minutes gone, Kiernan managed to stay onside down the left and send over a driven cross into the box; stretching, Duncan Culley got his instinctive attempt on goal which keeper Valery Pajetat managed to block. Nathan Collier was following up, but the shot shot flew across goal and went wide..
It took until the 22nd minute for the Beavers to break through. A cross in was challenged for inside the 6 yard box with keeper Pajetat not able to get to the ball due to the Hampton players challenging; shouts for a foul went unanswered and the ball was eventually stabbed home from close range. Originally claimed by Duncan Culley, after reviewing the footage from behind the goal, it was ultimately given to Brendan Kiernan by the club management.
Further chances were at a premium for the home team; with 10 minutes before the break, Margate had a good shot by Dean Morgan well saved by Hampton keeper Sam Howes.
In the second half, it took until the hour for Hampton to create the next chance as Harold Odametey harried the Margate defence into a mistake and fired one from the edge of the area, forcing a save from Pajetat.
Margate never really got close enough to prise open the Beavers defence, the nearest being a free kick from the edge of the box being fired into the defensive wall with 20 minutes to go.
With 15 minutes to go, the Beavers could have had a second as Culley broke through the centre; holding off the challenges from defenders, he made it to the edge of the box before hitting a shot, which flew over the advancing keeper and the bar.
Late on, Hampton nearly got a second as Kiernan hooked a shot wide of the post with 5 minutes left, but in the end, it wasn’t necessary.
Speaking after the match, Dowse said “That one’s for Alan and Brenda! Plus throw in the clean sheet and it’s a good result.”
“Despite the results, I must be the only one to think we’ve been playing ok recently, only thing is we’re just not quite defending well enough.”
“We’re still in a good position and we know we’re a match for all the teams in the league. We can still make the playoffs, and we’ll make sure we give it all we can.”
“Alfie and Duncan are still getting used to each other, and once they do, we should start seeing things happen.”