Faversham Town 0-0 Ramsgate - Sometimes you have to go back to go forwards a little bit, admits Faversham Town boss James Collins

Tuesday 10th December 2019
Faversham Town 0 – 0 Ramsgate
Location Salters Lane, Faversham, Kent ME13 8ND
Kickoff 10/12/2019 19:45

Isthmian League South East Division
Tuesday 10 December 2019
Stephen McCartney reports from Salters Lane

FAVERSHAM TOWN manager James Collins admits his side need a little bit more quality after extending their run without scoring to four games.

The Lilywhites leapfrogged over Haywards Heath Town into fourteenth-place in the Isthmian League South East Division table with 18 points on the board from 15 games after this boring goal-less stalemate on a wet and windy night at Salters Lane.

Ramsgate remain second-from-bottom in the table with 10 points from 15 games, five points clear of East Grinstead Town, who occupy the sole relegation berth.

A crowd of 118 braved the awful conditions and were treated to an awful game of football between two sets of players that avoided the middle of the park and put their foot through the ball to get the ball forward as quickly as possible.

The Lilywhites have not scored a goal in 377 minutes and have extended their winless run to five games, while Ramsgate haven’t won in six. A goal-less bore draw was inevitable between two sides lacking in confidence and quality in key areas.

“We drew 0-0 with Whyteleafe, it’s where we are at the moment.  We played Whitstable here the week before last and we were really, really poor, really poor performance and we need to get back to basics a little bit, which is what we’ve done for the last four games,” admitted Collins, who has won one and drawn three of his seven games in charge.

“We created quite a few more chances than we have done on Saturday but it’s a case of stripping us back a little bit and starting again, I think.

“The things don’t happen overnight and sometimes you have to go back to go forward a little bit. We’re two games unbeaten, two clean-sheets. If you can’t win, don’t lose and that’s what we said. We worked very much in training last week about working as a unit as a team and we need a little bit more quality and be a little bit better in the final third.  I feel we’re an improving side so I’m pleased with that.”

Ramsgate coach Joe Radford added: “Difficult, difficult conditions tonight for both sides. The wind (was howling from) side-to-side, it was very, very difficult. A hard-fought 0-0 I thought. It could’ve gone either way with a mistake, no it was a hard-fought game.

“With the way the last few weeks have gone, yes a clean-sheet, yes, there’s a few things to work on.”

Faversham Town started the game on the front foot and right-back Donvieve Jones started the move by running to the halfway line with the ball at his feet before playing the ball to left-winger Michael Hagan, who cut the ball back to centre-half Lewis Chambers and striker Max Morgan’s shot on the turn deflected past the post.

Hagan swung in the resulting corner from the left which was hit first time by Luke Griffiths at the back post and the ball was caught by visiting keeper Jonathan Miles, after six and a half minutes.

Faversham Town were to be denied a deserved lead when the far post saved Ramsgate’s bacon in the 13th minute.

Jones threw the ball to Stefan Wright – who split open right-centre-half Tom Wynter and right-back Charlie Hallett to put Hagan in but his left-footed angled drive from 20-yards left Miles rooted to the spot, only for the ball to clip the far post.

“That was probably our best chance in the game,” said Collins.

“I think we had one straight from the off when the ball got played across the box and we had a couple of half-chances.

“I brought Michael in because he’s got a knack of scoring goals. It could’ve just hit the inside and bounced in.  Good chance, a good move and you’re hoping to kick on from there.”

Radford added: “Looked quite dangerous, one-v-one against us. I’m just glad to see it hit the wrong side of the post!”

Faversham Town keeper Luke Watkins prevented Jones scoring an own goal.

Bode Anidugbe found himself down the right channel before cutting the ball back to Ramsgate right-back Hallett, who whipped in a first time cross, which should have been cleared away by Jones, who sliced his clearance towards his own goal and forced Watkins to dive to his right to tip the ball around the post for the first of eight Ramsgate corners.

Radford said: “I’ve had a lot of work with Luke, it must’ve been a great save!  Those things happen though, the wind’s swirling around, it’s wet as well, those miss-kicks can happen.”

Collins added: “The conditions were tough out there, managing the conditions was hard.  They had a little bit of pressure and putting balls into areas and Luke done well with that one.”

Ramsgate striker Roman Campbell – who won a fair share of aerial challenges during the first half – squandered a good opening shortly afterwards.

A poor clearance from Watkins fell at Anidugbe’s feet inside the Faversham half and his first-time pass put Campbell in on goal but he lacked composure and the 19-year-old Gillingham loanee dragged his shot across goal and the ball headed towards the corner flag rather than the corner of the net.

“There the things he’ll have to learn. He’s a young lad from Gillingham, who’s on loan to us,” explained Radford.

“He’s still getting to know the guys he’s playing alongside but yes, he needs a little bit more composure. I would’ve thought where he’s come from he should have that really.”

Faversham Town’s right-winger Tom Loynes put his foot through the ball to drill in a cross, which sailed over Hallett’s head and was controlled by Hagan, who darted into the box and his low left-footed drive was held by Miles, low to his right.

Collins added: “That was Michael’s best game for us to be fair.  We’re a very new team, new players. When Michael gets one he will always score goals. He’s scored goals at the club’s he’s been at. I thought that was his best performance for us tonight.”

Ramsgate then started to fight their way back into the game and were to be denied the lead on the half-hour mark thanks to a brilliant save from their former keeper Watkins.

Ashley Miller floated in a deep corner from the right and no one had picked up Ramsgate centre-half Tom Wynter at the far post and his free cushioned header was destined for the top far corner, only for Watkins to brilliantly push the ball over his crossbar, high to his left.

Radford said: “Wynts said he didn’t really see it until the last minute but yes, a great save, a great save.”

Collins added: “I always say to you, I expect the keeper to save that but that was one I wouldn’t expect him to save. He made one great save in the first half and a great save in the second half and that’s what his there to do and it was a very good save, I’ll give him that. It was an excellent save and it kept us in the game at that stage.”

Nothing was falling for Faversham Town in the box.  Morgan ran the left channel and put in a cross towards the far post for Luke Griffiths but Daniel Carrington came across him and stole the ball from his feet and put the ball behind for a corner.

Hagan swung in the home side’s second corner of the night and the ball fell at the feet of their centre-half Chambers inside the six-yard box and all he could do was stab the ball at the Ramsgate keeper.

Ramsgate finished the first half on the front foot.

They linked up well inside the Faversham half with a slick passing move down the heart of the pitch, involving Anidugbe, winger Tyrell Mitford and Jude Arthurs but Miller flashed his left-footed shot past the left-hand post from a central position from 25-yards.

Radford said: “Ash does a lot of that, unfortunately. It’s always the final ball or the final shot or one more touch too many. Unfortunately, his final ball ain’t great!”

Campbell flicked on a long ball out of defence to put in Miller, but having seen the keeper off his line, his speculative 35-yarder caught the wind and drifted over the Faversham crossbar.

Collins said: “We nullified them, we nullified Whyteleafe as well, so in terms of defensively we look alright at the moment.  I would like us to create a few more, we create a few more than we did on Saturday so that was another step in the right direction.”

Both were asked their thoughts at the interval.

“I thought the first 25 minutes we controlled the game and I thought we looked ok,” said Collins.

“We put the ball in good areas, which we spoke about and then we lost our way a little bit.

“Roman Campbell seemed to be winning a lot of headers and that was something we were trying to stop in the second half.  That direct ball caused us a few problems.

“We said we’re very much a work in progress. We did really well not to concede at the weekend, let’s make sure we keep a clean sheet. If we don’t score, we don’t score but make sure you keep a clean-sheet, at least go home with a point.”

Radford said: “We let them have a chat among themselves because it’s such a scrappy game. Nobody was putting any stamp on either side of the game.  We just tried to ask them to have more time on the ball, try to get the ball wider, that’s all that was said really.”

Ramsgate should have grabbed the lead with four minutes and 45 seconds into the second half.

Miller put it on a plate for an unmarked Campbell with a deep cross in from the left but Campbell guided his header from 12-yards straight into Watkins’ hands for a comfortable catch. It was a glorious chance that had to be taken!

Radford said: “Absolutely! Again in those positions you need a bit of composure really but again the ball was moving around in the swirling wind. I’ve got to say that he should’ve scored!”

When asked how the striker has settled in at Ramsgate, having previously been sent out on loan to Sittingbourne and Enfield Town, Radford replied: “Alright. He’s a nice lad. He haven’t really done too much training so he’s only played the two games and met the guys in the games so it’s difficult. It’s difficult coming from somewhere not being able to train with the fellas and just meeting them in a game, it’s a difficult one.”

Collins added: “He’s a very clever player, a player that I really like. We got caught a little bit cold there on the back stick. He probably felt he should’ve done a little bit better on that one.”

Referee Craig Barnett ruled out a perfect Faversham Town goal with seven minutes and 16 seconds on the clock.

Faversham left-back Conrad Lee threw the ball back to centre-half Joshua Dorling, who swept a cross into the box and it looked like Morgan had got to the ball before Miles and poked the ball into an empty goal from a central position, but the referee ruled that the Faversham striker had fouled the onrushing keeper just inside the penalty box.

Collins said: “It was never a foul! I can’t actually believe the referee gave it, no-one appealed for it, the keeper didn’t appeal for it, none of their players appealed for it. The linesman (Tony King) didn’t give it!  The referee has seen something that no-one else has seen!

“I think when you’re desperate for a little bit of luck you sort of look and you criticise referees more.  For me, it was never a foul! I don’t think anyone else in the ground, other than the referee, saw it.  A little bit disappointing but that’s the way it goes.”

Radford admitted: “I’ve got to say I thought we were a bit lucky, I’ve got to say. It looked a light challenge to me but being an ex-goalkeeper, yes, a light one, a light one.  Did we get away with it? I think so, yes!”

Hagan had a second bite of the cherry to whip in a cross after his initial corner had come back to him but Dorling failed to take advantage, looping his flicked shot over the top of the near post as he got in behind the Ramsgate defence at the near post.

“Michael had a good game today. He’s not played at this level so he’s still finding his feet,” said Collins.

“We kept huffing and puffing, we didn’t give up.  The quality wasn’t quite there but it’s not going to happen overnight but make sure you’re hard to beat first and once you become hard to beat then you can perhaps improve in other areas.”

Watkins denied his old club the winning goal in the 63rd minute.

A big kick upfield from Miles put Campbell through on goal but the ball landed in the muddy penalty area and it was hard for him to dig the ball out from under his feet.  Substitute Kane Rowland pounced and swept his shot towards goal, only for Watkins to make a vital block with his legs.

Radford said: “Nobody could really get their foot on it could they?  It’s a difficult end, that end was very, very sticky, very soft. That’s the end the referee was having a look at before the game and nobody got a clean strike did they? I think their all so desperate to try to score a goal and get a good contact on it but it just bobbled around and they didn’t do anything in the end.”

Collins added: “A good save from Luke and the recovery tackle from Josh and Lewis and that’s what you’ve got, you’ve got people who are putting their bodies on the line and as a manager that’s not easy to find.

“We’re very fortunate that I’ve got people who have brought into that and are willing to put their bodies on the line for each other and the club and that’s worth its weight in gold and as long as we keep that, the rest will take care of itself.”

Halfway through the half, Joshua Beadle, a quiet midfielder for Faversham, put Hagan in on goal but his weak left-footed shot was pushed behind by Miles, who dived to his right at his near post to make a comfortable save.

Neither side deserved to win this game and must start producing much better football than what they dished up here tonight because this game was very, very poor and did nothing to entertain the fans who bothered to turn up in horrible weather.

Faversham Town travel to Burgess Hill Town on Saturday, while Ramsgate welcome Whitstable Town to Southwood Stadium and both are looking for a win to start climbing up the league table.

Burgess Hill Town are a couple of places below the Lilywhites and have secured four fewer points – and Collins demands a vastly improved performance.

“We have got to be better. We have to be able to string four, five, six passes together to create space, to create that opening,” he said.

“The boys are doing what they can, also I think we need a little bit of confidence. I’ve been quite critical with the quality and stuff. They’ve got to take that on board and you’ve got to dig yourselves out of it.

“I felt if we had scored first we would probably go on and won two or three. I think. If they would’ve scored first I don’t think we would’ve scored at all.  That’s probably where we’re at, at the moment but that’s something that we can work on and I think we’ve had four training sessions with midweek games and The Velocity Trophy so I haven’t had much time as I’d like to.

“Tough conditions tonight, it’s very local and Ramsgate are scrapping for points. All you want to do is have progression. You don’t want to go backwards and I want us to build on that game.  Whyteleafe on Saturday took a lot out of the players legs and then on a big heavy pitch tonight so you take that into consideration as well. We’ll have a training session on Thursday, it will be good to get another good training session in and go forward to Burgess Hill.”

When asked to sum up tonight, Radford said: “Not very good at all! It was one of those. I’m sure if you’d ask anybody they can handle the cold, they can handle the wet but when you’ve got conditions when it’s very, very windy, very, very wet, very cold, it’s never a nice game to watch.”

Ramsgate must start picking up some points, otherwise their 15-year stay in the Isthmian League will come to an end in April.

“Hopefully we can use this clean-sheet as a bit of a confidence builder, we’ve stopped the rot after quite a few games without a result,” said Radford.

“We just need to have a bit more confidence, the pitch will be easier to play on than the pitch tonight, not so heavy. Of course, with Lloyd Blackman coming back and a local derby, I think it will be a good game.

“We need far, far more points. I think the time of the season has come where we don’t have to worry about other teams, we’ve got to worry about ourselves.  If we can put in some performances like we know we can, I don’t see it being too much off a problem.”

When asked about Ramsgate’s target, Radford replied: “Don’t go down! Only one goes down so the very, very worst….we want to build something and build on something and this could be a platform, a starter for us to get two or three wins hopefully and get us nearer midtable but I think this season, the way it’s gone, stability and stay in the league and start again next season really.”

Faversham Town: Luke Watkins, Donvieve Jones, Conrad Lee, Stefan Wright, Lewis Chambers, Joshua Dorling, Tom Loynes (Robert Lawrence 73), Joshua Beadle, Max Morgan (Anthony Adesite 65), Luke Griffiths (Jordan Casey 83), Michael Hagan.
Subs: Steven Springett, Harry Earls

Booked: Michael Hagan 20, Luke Griffiths 82

Ramsgate: Jonathan Miles, Charlie Hallett, Robert Saunders, Daniel Carrington (Matthew Robinson 82), Liam Friend, Tom Wynter, Tyrell Mitford (Kane Rowland 56), Jude Arthurs, Roman Campbell, Bode Anidugbe, Ashley Miller.
Subs: Daniel Barrett, Harrison Avery, Tom Roberts

Booked: Robert Saunders 29, Jude Arthurs 37

Attendance: 118
Referee: Mr Craig Barnett (Basildon, Essex)
Assistants: Mr Tony King (Romford, Essex) & Mr Liam Giles (Romford, Essex)