Thursday 29th September 2005

Rams giving value for money, says Ward

With Ramsgate having won all but one of their Ryman League division one games, and opponents Corinthian Casuals having lost all but one, the 3rd placed visitors were pre-match favourites over their Tolworth opponents, who were lying in 19th position, writes Aaran Ayres.

The game, on Tuesday night, started lively enough for both teams, and after an initial burst by Ramsgate the Casuals countered to win a free kick after only a minute, which Sam Hewitt took but was headed clear.

The Rams responded immediately and a good run up the left wing by Shane Suter saw him cross to Shaun Welford in the middle who, after a one-two with Ollie Schulz, drove the ball just wide of the post.

A minute later Welford robbed a defender and put the ball wide to Suter, whose cross was headed out for a corner. The short corner came to Michael Cassar, whose ball forward into the box was intercepted by a good jump from ‘keeper Gareth Williams.

The Rams kept the pressure up, with the ball remaining mostly in the Casuals’ half, and a few minutes later another Suter cross was met by a diving header from Welford, to find Steffan Ball who blazed the ball over.

With 11 minutes gone a long cross by Ollie Schulz was flicked on by Ball to Welford, but ‘keeper Williams blocked Welford’s shot for another corner.

Corinthian were managing to probe occasionally, and they were rewarded with a second free kick on 16 minutes after a challenge by Cassar on the edge of the Rams’ area, although Simon Shergold blasted the ball over.

The Rams continued to exhibit some good passing play, ensuring the majority of the possession, which ended with a Suter volley over the bar from 30 yards on 23 minutes.

A minute later the Rams were awarded a free kick when Welford was brought down just outside the area, but Suter put the free kick over.

As the half-hour approached, a cross forward from Ollie Schulz was met by a Welford header that required Williams to save at full stretch. The resulting corner from Ben Laslett reached Suter, who tried to lob the ‘keeper but the ball dropped just behind the goal.

Five minutes later the Rams nearly took the lead, when a cross from the far right found Ball in the centre, who turned and shot but failed to connect properly, giving Williams the chance to save.

A few minutes later another deep cross from Suter was headed back in by Ball to Welford, who volleyed on the turn and couldn’t keep the shot down. Within a minute Ramsgate came even closer, when Ollie Schulz got the ball from Lindon Hayles and out to Ball, who beat the defender before rattling the upright. As the half came to a close the home side won a corner, which Joe Chandiram put into the box, before being headed clear by Warren Schulz.

At the start of the second half Cassar was replaced by James Gregory at left back as the Rams continued to dominate, and two minutes later a Suter cross seemed certain to land in the path of the onrushing Warren Schulz in front of goal, but Williams again just got there first.

On 55 minutes Suter was replaced by Stuart Vahid, who moments later made a good run into the box, falling under Williams’ challenge, with the ball rolling towards the goal line.

Play was stopped, however, with the linesman giving a free kick to the Casuals for handball.

A few minutes later Vahid collided with Alex Rodrigues as he tried to get on the end of a kick from Ramsgate ‘keeper Danny Twyman; with both players watching the flight of the ball Rodrigues came off the worse and had to receive treatment before continuing.

A few minutes after the restart Gregory was upended after taking the ball past two defenders down the wing.  However, the resulting free kick from Lalsett was headed clear.

Shortly after Laslett was replaced by Michael Yianni, and on 68 minutes a great diagonal ball from Ollie Schulz split the Casuals’ defence and was picked up by Stuart Vahid in the area, who shrugged off the challenge of a defender to get a low shot off to the corner of the goal, that Williams did well to save.

Five minutes later the long awaited opener came, when a long throw from Simon Pettit reached Yianni, whose pass to Ball was laid back to Welford, and a driving left foot strike from 20 yards through the legs of defenders found the bottom right corner of the net.

Corinthian made their first substitution on 81 minutes, when Chandiram was replaced by Michael Corbett, whose long throw two minutes later gave the Casuals an opportunity to level, but Simon Moore’s shot went wide. 

In the 85th minute Edd Vahid was penalised for a challenge on the edge of the Rams’ area to give the home side another free kick. However, Twyman got down well to block and Hayles ballooned the rebound over the bar.

The bulk of the play was still around the Casuals’ half however, with good runs forward by the Rams, and in the 90th minute a Yianni corner found Welford 1-on-1 with Williams in the box, but under the ‘keepers challenge the ball flicked up over the crossbar.

The Rams persisted in search of a second  during stoppage time, and a cross from Ball near the corner flag reached Warren Schulz in the area, who rode a rough challenge and stumbled, still managing to keep his feet, but put his shot wide. In the closing seconds the final chance came to Welford, who turned and volleyed but the ball rattled off the far post.

The three points keep the Rams in third place in the league, as they go into a run of three home games, facing Bashley and Horsham in the this coming Saturday and Tuesday (1st and 4th October), before facing Walton & Hersham in the 3rd Qualifying Round of the FA Cup on Saturday 8th October.

In an EXCLUSIVE interview with www.kentishfootball.co.uk, Rams boss Jim Ward is relishing their next two home games - against Bashley and Horsham before Ryman Premier League side Walton & Hersham visit in the FA Cup third qualifying round.

The Swans defeated AFC Wimbledon 3-0 in the last round, which denied the Thanet side a bumper gate.

"I could talk about the two games, " Ward said.  "We deserved to win on Saturday against Southall, but it was a really hard fought 1-0 win, and then on Tuesday night against Corinthian Casuals it was a very comfortable 1-0 win - if there is a comfortable 1-0 win?

"They had a chance at the end of the game but that was their only chance they had during the whole 90 minutes."

He added: "Like I say, we were superb in the first half, we bossed them completely and in the second half we only went down one notch, but it was only because it was the best we played all season during the first half, although it was goalless at half-time."

Ward, however,  is delighted with his side's start to their debut Ryman League campaign.

"Our target from day one was to make sure we are in the top six and to have as much fun, entertainment and enjoyment as we can along the way.

"I've never been out of the top six in any level all my life and I didn't expect to be out of the top six during pre-season.

"I have confidence in my players, although it's really pleasing it's no surprise."

Although the Rams' chairman is disappointed AFC Wimbledon aren't visiting Southwood Stadium - which would have brought a four-figure crowd and plenty of cash into the Thanet club's coffers, Ward still feels the fans will see his side tackle Walton & Hersham instead.

"The chairman said to me he wished AFC Wimbledon had beaten them.  Our crowds have shot up.  We had 258 last week, where we couldn't get anywhere near 150 last year (in the Kent League), so we're delighted with that.

"And you'd like to think the ones that are coming to see us will come back again because we are giving value for money."

Rams will be without Dean Hill (groin) for at least a month.

Ramsgate: D Twyman, E Vahid, M Cassar (J Gregory 45), S Pettit, O Schulz, B Laslett (M Yianni 63), M Munday, W Schulz, S Welford, S Ball, S Suter (S Vahid 55). Subs: D Cory and L Morris.

Ramsgate v Bashley
Ryman League Division One
Saturday 1st October 2005
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Southwood Stadium, Prices Avenue, Ramsgate