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|Stephen McCartney reports from Bayliss Avenue|
|Ramsgate||1||Shaun Welford 85|
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Ramsgate enjoy Capital gains
SHAUN WELFORD'S headed goal just five minutes from time ensured Ramsgate kept the pressure on leaders Herne Bay at the top of the Go Travel Kent League premier division today.
Ramsgate trail their rivals from Winch's Field by only three points but they do have two games in hand. However, Jason Lillis' side also tasted success in South East London, securing a 3-1 win at Greenwich Borough with goals coming from the prolific strike pairing of Danny Kedwell and Dave Masters.
The pair have scored 36 league and cup goals between them with Kedwell leading the way with 22.
Ramsgate's hero, Welford scored his eleventh goal of the season in only his 12th game for the club following his switch from Ryman Premier League club Dover Athletic.
Rams boss Jim Ward was delighted his side kept
up their unbeaten league run against London based clubs (including VCD
His side have collected 14 points against London clubs away from home - with Slade Green their next destination in seven days time.
They have also collected maximum points at home from four London sides at Southwood Stadium, which is one point better off from playing the rest.
however, emphasised it's always difficult playing London sides - despite their
impressive record against the city slickers.
He said: "You come to London and get three points you are always delighted. They've got that mentality up here that they're strong and they don't give anything away, a bit like us at home. It's hard to come to Ramsgate but we've kept another clean sheet today and we've nicked the game 1-0. I think we deserved to win it."
Ramsgate, however, unbeaten at home, have lost twice on the road - at Tunbridge Wells (2-1) and Whitstable Town (3-0).
And the Scot was pleased his side came away from Bayliss Avenue with all three points, thanks to Welford's late header.
He added: "It's not the easiest place in the world to come to, everybody knows that."
Ramsgate and Thamesmead Town haven't yet finished with each other. They have a small matter of a two-legged Kent League Cup semi-final to play (Thamesmead are the holders) and a place in the Kent Senior Trophy up for grabs, all games played next month.
Ward added: "We've got to come here three times in the league and cup but today, I felt, was the most important one of the lot."
Ward, who said recently he was desperate for promotion, saw his side dominate the early proceedings without really testing Mead goalkeeper Danny Kemp.
In fact it was the home side that should have broke the deadlock after 22 minutes of football.
Marc Merriden's free kick from thirty yards on the right hand side of the penalty area, was whipped in towards the penalty spot where unmarked Dean Burns should have scored his 18th goal of the season, but he planted his header over.
Two minutes later the visitors were awarded a free kick. And again the ball sailed over, from Mo Takaloo's right footed free kick from similar distance.
After Takaloo fired into the side netting, Ramsgate stormed the end of the first half with another couple of chances. The first one saw Warren Schulz play the ball with the outside of his boot from the half-way line for Welford to cause havoc down the left channel. After getting the better of Thamesmead full-back Danny Whelan, he passed inside for Shane Suter, who put the ball onto his right foot, before firing wide.
Takaloo showed his class a minute later. Simon Pettit launched a ball up field for the former Margate striker, who brought the ball down with his foot and struck the ball over the bar on the volley.
It was a crying shame that only 39 people were able to see such class - the second worse crowd in the Kent League today.
Kemp was again called into action four minutes before the interval. Suter played the ball over the top of the Mead defence, Welford latched onto the pass and laid the ball off for Stuart Vahid and his drive was blocked by the goalkeeper.
Ramsgate, however, piled the pressure on early in the second half and after Pettit launched a throw into the box, indecision from Lee Loveridge gave Welford an opportunity but he shot wide when well placed.
Thamesmead almost grabbed the lead after 53 minutes but this time Ramsgate had goalkeeper Danny Twyman to thank for making a fine reaction save.
Former Cray Wanderers and Maidstone United full-back Danny Whelan, crossed from the right flank, and Curtis Williams leapt higher than the giant visiting back four but Twyman managed to tip the ball onto the bar.
Thamesmead, however, crept back into the game past the hour mark. After Sam Thomas' run, Merriden blazed over and three minutes later , Burns' their leading scorer, blazed a free kick over from 30-yards.
Takaloo brought a fine low save from Kemp in the 67th minute as the striker turned and shot low towards goal.
Williams' won possession in the centre circle and burst down the middle of the pitch before laying the ball to substitute Jason Clews. However, the former Beckenham Town striker drove towards goal, from the edge of the box, the ball coming off Rams defender Edd Vahid and rolled out for a corner.
Kemp made a fantastic treble save from Takaloo and Welford as Ramsgate ended the game inspired, probably knowing their title rivals were winning just a few miles down the road.
Ramsgate, however, pulled a victory out of the bag with five minutes left. Full credit goes to their 60th minute substitute Shaun Brown. With Suter ready to deliver a flag kick, Brown ran towards him screaming for the ball, leaving a Mead player in his wake.
Brown whipped in a cross into the penalty area and Kemp came rushing off his line ready to punch the ball clear. However, Welford nipped in front of him to flick a header into the back of an empty net to send the very small visiting contingent home happy and ending Thamesmead's unbeaten run where they picked up ten points from their last four games before today's setback.
Ward reflected: "We came here, it was hard fought, it wasn't pretty but one moment of quality - a great goal. (Shaun) Brown has made it for Shaun (Welford) to go get on the end of it. A great header. Yes, we will take the three points. Thamesmead is a hard place to come to and get three points."
Ramsgate have ten league games to go, but Ward did expect a tough game, and that was exactly what his side got.
"I expected no less than they gave us today," he said.
"Thamesmead are a good strong side, their one of the form sides and they proved that in the second half, where they did well.
"Our goalkeeper made a couple of great saves. We dominated the first half without really doing a lot.
"I felt we were a bit sluggish today so we'll go back and train hard on Tuesday to get ourselves ready for our next game at Slade Green next Saturday."
Thamesmead Town boss Paul Blade added: "Very disappointed. I thought we deserved something out of the game and we didn't deserved to get beat, considering we had five players our missing today as well."
The Bayliss Avenue boss was satisfied with Ross Edwards' debut - he signed last week from Kent League rivals Maidstone United - and influential skipper Pedro Knight.
He added: "We signed a new player on Tuesday and I've had to sling him straight into the team.
"It was always going to be difficult for Ross (Edwards). He hasn't met the lads but he knows a little about us. He needs to bed in a little bit but he is a good signing for us. It will take time for him to settle in to get to know us and we've got to know about him. We know his strengths and he's played against us a few times."
Former Cray Wanderers and Maidstone United full-back Danny Whelan has settled in, having now played three times for the club.
Blade added: "Danny has settled in. He's a good player, strong, and has a lot of experience."
Speaking about his Knight in shining armour, called Pedro, Blade praised: "He has been superb. He's not the most vocal captain in the world but he leads by example. He works, never gives up and he leads like a captain. You couldn't count on one hand how many poor games he's had here. I just hope we can keep players like him for next season."
Thamesmead Town: Danny Kemp, Danny Whelan, Stuart Mills (Anthony Potts 87), Alan Sillance (Kieron Collins 71), Ross Edwards, Marc Merriden (Jason Clews 70), Pedro Knight (Capt), Curtis Williams, Dean Burns, Sam Thomas. Sub: Keith McMahon
Ramsgate: Danny Twyman, Edd Vahid, Michael Cassar, Simon Pettit (Shaun Brown 60), Ollie Schulz, Ben Laslett, Shane Suter, Warren Schulz, Shaun Welford, Mo Takaloo (Capt), Stuart Vahid (Robbie Summers 90). Subs: Graham Taylor, Kieran Morris, Jurgen Wild.
Referee: M Rogers
Assistants: K Scudder & M Ingram
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