Isthmian League Premier Division Fri 29 December Cheshunt Stadium

Ambers fans will be hoping there is no Boxing Day hangover as Margate travel up from the north coast of Kent to Theobalds Lane on Friday night. This is a huge game for both sides as they sit just above the relegation places.

Cheshunt come into this fixture with some form behind them despite two defeats in as many games. Before defeats to Lewes and Enfield, the Ambers were unbeaten in six matches. It was a disappointing defeat to rivals Enfield Town in the A10 Classico on Boxing Day, however, there were some positive signs towards the end of the game. Half-time substitute Jamie Reynolds completely changed the game in the second half, he’ll be hoping to affect it from the start this time out. Nnamdi Nwachuku got himself back on the scoresheet with a well-taken penalty vs Enfield Town, he will be crucial at the Lane on Friday night.

Margate currently sit in 16th place in the Isthmian Premier. They are in an abysmal run of form with no wins in their last 11 fixtures. Their last win came at home to Lewes on 4th November 2023. The ‘Gate drew 0-0 with Cray Wanderers on Boxing Day. The game at Hayes Lane was abandoned in the 95th minute as Cray forward Yahya Bamba suffered an unfortunate head injury. The referee decided the game would be abandoned before Bamba was taken to hospital. Everyone at Cheshunt wishes Yahya a speedy recovery,

The ‘Gate recently parted company with manager & former Amber Reece Prestedge after a very poor run of form. They have since hired Mark Stimson who will be known by many non-league fans for his spells at Thurrock and Hornchurch. When asked about Stimson, Cheshunt manager Craig Edwards said: “I’m sure he’ll improve them and make a big impact there. I’ve had so many battles with him over the years and they’re always tough games, so I don’t expect it to be any different on Friday.”

Stimson has improved Margate’s style of play, they now keep the ball a lot better than they did at the start of the season. However, his side are yet to pick up a win. The ‘Gate lost 1-0 to Carshalton, drew 2-2 with Kingstonian and 0-0 with Cray. Things are slowly picking up and they will be looking for their first three points since the start of November at Theobalds Lane.

Margate’s Rohdell Gordon has impressed at Hartsdown Park this season, his direct runs and chance creation cause trouble for defences. However, he has yet to turn that talent into goals and assists. Someone who has been able to find the back of the net for the ‘Gate is Steve Cawley. The prolific striker has scored 10 goals in the Isthmian Premier so far this season. So, Raul Da Silva and JImmy Wallace will have to be on the top of their game to help keep him out.

This is another huge game over the festive period for the Ambers. A win could take us into 16th, above Friday’s rivals Margate. Come down and support the boys! COYA!