Thursday 01st September 2005

Ramsgate win the Battle of the Rams

Saturday 10th
September 2005
FA Cup 
First Qualifying Round
Arran Ayres reports from Mayfields
Croydon Athletic 1 Allen 57
Ramsgate 3 Ball 53 (pen)
Cory 86
Welford 90

Having despatched Merstham of the Combined Counties League in the previous round, Ramsgate found themselves travelling back to Surrey to face fellow-Ryman League Division One side Croydon Athletic in the First Qualifying Round of this year’s FA Cup, writes Arran Ayres.

The hosts, who are one place below Ramsgate in the league following an opening run of three games unbeaten, also bear the nickname ‘The Rams’, referring to sponsorship by the Youngs Brewery in a previous incarnation as Wandsworth FC.

Both sides started strongly and at a fast pace, the host’s line-up including three players from AFC Wimbledon and one (Joe Sherrin) who had come on as sub for Zola at Chelsea.

However, it was Ramsgate that had the first chance in the opening minute, when Michael Yianni found Steffan Ball on the right wing, who rode the challenge of Steve Gibson and crossed from the by-line to Shane Suter in front of goal, but his side-footed effort went over.

Two minutes later the visitors had another great opportunity, when Shaun Welford broke through the defence but was brought down, but goalkeeper Luke Garrard saved Suter’s 22 yard free kick.

The game continued at a very brisk pace and, with each side winning the occasional corner and free kicks, seemed to become more evenly balanced.

Both sides made chances for goals, and while Danny Twyman was called on to make a number of spectacular saves from Sheerin and Eben Allen.

Garrard was also quite busy thanks to efforts from Welford, Ball, Suter and Warren Schulz.

On 26 minutes Jim Ward switched Yianni and Ball over, with immediate impact, as Ball shook off his marker to put a sweet cross into the box, that was just reached by Garrard before the onrushing Edd Vahid.

In the 39th minute Croydon Athletic had perhaps their best chance, when Sheerin slipped through Ramsgate’s defence and was left with only Twyman to beat, however, the big goalkeeper was evaded by the former Chelsea striker, but was thwarted by Edd Vahid.

In the second period Ramsgate appeared to find their rhythm again and, with only six minutes of the half gone, a fine forward cross by Michael Cassar found Welford, who stormed past two defenders before being brought down in the area by Jon Waite, who was promptly shown the red card.

Steffan Ball made no mistake with a well-driven penalty to give Ramsgate the advantage.

Ramsgate continued to press although Croydon Athletic kept battling, and on one of the home side’s forays Ollie Schulz was penalised on the edge of the area. The resulting free kick found it’s way to Allen, who equalised from a very acute angle.

With David Cory and James Gregory replacing Yianni and Cassar in the 66th minute, Ward subtly changed the shape again, with Ramsgate looking more settled and making some great passing moves.

The thunder and lightning started shortly before Ramsgate’s final substitution on 84 minutes, with Simon Pettit replacing Ball, but the visitors continued to apply the pressure and dominated the closing minutes.

On 85 minutes a trademark long ball from the wing forced the best from Garrard to punch clear, and a minute later a great ball through from Welford saw Cory turn and volley in the area to leave Garrard no chance and restore Ramsgate’s lead.

The midfield now belonged to the visitors and further efforts followed from Suter, Cory, and the hardworking Welford.

In stoppage time an intelligent ball from Gregory found Cory, who released Welford on yet another run to break through 1-on-1 with Garrard, who bravely stopped Welford’s first shot but could not reach his attempt from the rebound.

After the game manager manager Jim Ward said:  “Today was our best performance this season in a match, as they were the best footballing side we have played against so far.

"They were full of quality players – it’s the first time this season I wouldn’t have minded 4 or 5 of their players, quality in loads of different positions.

"The boys have done their stuff today. They rode their luck a couple of times in the first half but to be fair ran out deserved winners in the end.

"It was good to see three of my forwards getting the goals – continuing to be successful these are the guys who have to get on the end of things.

"Again, it just shows you the depth of the squad, that Mark (Munday) and Stuart (Vahid) were missing today, who a lot of people feel are two of the better players at the club.

"The beauty of the FA Cup is it gives us an opportunity now, with the luck of the draw, who knows, maybe a team from the Ryman Premier Division, which I’m sure will put a smile on my Chairman’s face."

In today's (Monday) draw, Ramsgate missed out on a cup-tie with a Ryman Premier League side, but should progress into the third qualifying round, when lower league side Southall visit Southwood Stadium in two weeks time.

Ward takes his side to Molesey (Walton Road) on Saturday in a Ryman League Division One fixture.


Ramsgate: Twyman, E Vahid, Cassar (Gregory 66), Morris, O Schulz,  Laslett,  Yianni (Cory 66), W Schulz, Welford, S Ball (S Pettit 84), Suter. Subs:  Taylor, Wild.