Friday 02nd December 2005

Ward relishing "pitting his wits" against promoted rivals

Ramsgate go into tomorrow's game against fellow promoted side Walton Casuals at Southwood Stadium sitting in fourth place in the Ryman League Division One table, eight points behind leaders Horsham - but they do have five games in hand, writes Stephen McCartney.

Since being knocked out of the FA Trophy, losing in a replay at AFC Wimbledon in the middle of last month, Jim Ward's men have remained unbeaten in four league games, picking up eight points in the process to enhance their promotion chances.

Ben Laslett, a star performer during their 3-0 win at Lymington & Mew Milton last Saturday, scored the first goal of their 1-1 draw at Hastings United on Tuesday night.

"A few weeks ago when we had to play Hastings home and away, if you'd offered me four points then I would have snapped your hand off," Ward told www.ramsgate-fc.co.uk.

"We came down here to Hastings and we've given more than what we've gotten.

"I felt we should've won the game in the first half.  Ben Laslett scored the first goal, we bossed it, created three good chances, had plenty of the ball but then we go and let a soft goal in from a set piece, which is not like us."

Ward was upset that Hastings scored from a near post header, although four of his defenders could have dealt with the danger, but he admitted: "I was glad to get in at half-time and get the troops rallied, because we were under the cosh then for the last quarter of an hour."

But the second half failed to live up to expectations and Rams goalkeeper Danny Twyman pulled his groin, which meant former Folkestone Invicta midfielder Mark Munday had to replace him.

And the Rams' picked up another injury when James Gregory felt the brunt of an (alleged) elbow which caught the defender on the nose.  "He went down and it was obvious to everybody in the ground that he was hurt," said an angry Ward.  "I'm surprised the referee waited until we cleared the ball before he blew the whistle, which was a full 20 or 30 seconds.

"Referee's are meant to react quicker than that to a head injury and he didn't and to be fair I asked him about it and he said he felt he made a mistake.  But that was something and nothing, he's alright, he's just got a bloody nose."

"We're happy to come away with a point and see us progress up the table."

The Scot is looking forward to the visit of Walton Casuals tomorrow.  He said: "Last Saturday we played Lymington & New Milton, who got promoted and this Saturday I have the chance to pit my wits against another team that got promoted.

"Again, we're at home, they're below us in the league and I expect three points.

"I say it again, we've got five points out of the last nine and we see if we can get another seven points from our next three games.  But I'm quite confident we'll win tomorrow."

Rams return to Kingsmeadow on Monday night when they play Kingstonian in a league fixture before travelling to Kent rivals Ashford Town next Saturday, 10th December.

Ramsgate v Walton Casuals
Ryman League Division One
Saturday 3rd December 2005
Kick Off 3:00pm

at Southwood Stadium, Prices Avenue, Ramsgate