Greenwich Borough 3-1 Ramsgate - For a side like us it’s very difficult to have players, senior players missing, says Ramsgate joint-manager Danny Ward

Tuesday 29th November 2016
Greenwich Borough 3 – 1 Ramsgate
Location DGS Marine Stadium, Middle Park Avenue, Eltham, London SE9 5HP
Kickoff 29/11/2016 19:45

Ryman League Division One South
Tuesday 29th November 2016
Stephen McCartney reports from DGS Marine Stadium

GREENWICH BOROUGH manager Gary Alexander says his players’ are fighting for a top five finish.

The Borough suffered back-to-back defeats to Hastings United and Chipstead but they bounced back with a victory in an entertaining game on a freezing cold night in Eltham.

Eighty-three souls braved the coldest night of the season so far and they saw Ramsgate take an early lead through a beautiful strike from Aaron Millbank, 20.

But Greenwich Borough leapfrogged over Carshalton Athletic into third-place in the Ryman League Division One South table with 41 points from 21 games – six points adrift of league leaders Dorking Wanderers - with three first half goals.

Captain Glenn Wilson steered in an equaliser, before Michael Power drilled in his 11th goal of the season, before an own-goal from Ramsgate right-back Oliver Gray completed the scoring before the break.

Alexander was delighted that his side bounced back from their surprise 2-1 home defeat to Chipstead at the weekend.

“Obviously nice to get back to winning ways,” he said during the post-match press conference.

“Second half on Saturday wasn’t good enough, result, performance wise and we got a reaction there after going a goal down we showed character to come back into the game so soon.

“We lost to Hastings but if you speak to anyone from Hastings they admit that they knew they was in a game. The result probably flattered them a little bit.  Their goalkeeper made so many saves against us, the game could’ve gone either way, so it’s never pleasing to lose. It was a pleasing performance from us but Saturday wasn’t great second half. First half we controlled the game, second half we didn’t.

“Tonight we got off to a little bit of a slow start. I said to the boys at half-time it wasn’t good enough in terms of us. We were a little bit lively, there were more goals to be had out there in the first half but three goals at home should see us through to three points – and it has!”

Ramsgate joint-manager Danny Ward’s press conference took place inside the welcomed warmth of the clubhouse.

“Down to the bare bones.  For a side like us it’s very difficult to have players, senior players missing,” he said.

“George Crimmen was missing tonight; Kane Smith hurt himself at work today, even though he’s only 20, he’s still a senior player with what we’ve got at the moment. Tom Loynes’ still injured with a knee, he gets his results tomorrow. Jake MacKenzie’s got a hamstring, hope he’s ok for Saturday. That’s four senior players for us.

“Joe Kane’s played the last few games in midfield, done ever so well, he’s had to go back to centre half. Jake Munday’s come in, started his first game, he’s been on the bench and came on and scored at Tooting, did ever so well against a very good midfield by the way and we gave what we’ve got.

“A couple of goals we gave away were sloppy. Great goal from Millbank there. Their first goal I thought was sloppy to lose, a good goal to score, a sloppy goal to lose.

“We’re disappointed with the goals. We changed things around a bit at half-time, went man-to-man because their three in midfield were running the shop and I’ll be honest except for long balls second half I don’t think they got out of their half.

“We didn’t have the bounce of the ball. Frustrating but it was alright, decent performance but we’ve got no points.”

Ramsgate created the first chance of the game after only 122 seconds when Tom Chapman sped down the right to whip in a cross and Luke Girt clipped his shot straight into the hands of Craig Holloway from 18-yards.

Ramsgate opened the scoring with a beautiful strike from striker Millbank with eight minutes and 37 seconds on the clock.

Right-back Gray ventured forward inside Greenwich Borough’s half when he played the ball up to Millbank, who turned, took a touch before cracking a dipping right-footed drive over Holloway’s outstretched finger-tips, the ball going in off the underside of the crossbar from 22-yards.

Ward said: “Great goal. Aaron’s got that in his locker! The one he scored on Saturday was better! He went down the left-wing, cut inside and he’s hit the ball sweetly.

“I keep saying to him when you see those sticks, hit it, don’t do anything else, just hit the thing because if you hit it and you catch it right, the keeper’s not saving that!

“There was an actual better one on Saturday. I don’t think the (Whyteleafe) keeper moved. By the time he did move the ball was passed him and that’s what he’s got in his locker.”

Alexander admitted: “I think Craig should save it! Craig admitted he should’ve saved it. He said to caught a slight deflection. He was behind the ball but I think Craig will be disappointed he didn’t save that.”

When asked how he was feeling at the time, the Greenwich Borough boss replied: “One-nil down after nine minutes? The reason from us and how quickly can we get that equaliser and to be honest for the first nine minutes I thought it was a matter of time that we scored and we went a goal behind, it was a great reaction from the boys and we got the deserved equaliser.”

Greenwich Borough responding and called Ramsgate keeper Luke Watkins into action twice.

Peter Sweeney swung in a corner from the right and the ball fell to Rob Denness, whose right-footed shot on the turn was caught by the Ramsgate keeper, low to his right.

Sweeney, who was playing on the left, hit a swerving left-footed drive from 35-yards, which was caught by the highly-rated keeper.

Alexander said: “That’s the reaction, the response we want to going a goal behind. We’ve gone a goal behind in the past and dropped our heads but I felt they were capable of beating anyone in this league when we go a goal down or not and it was a great response from the boys.”

Ward added: “Watkins’ was alright. He’s not happy with the second goal obviously.  There was no conversation, he didn’t know what was going on behind him but Watkins is a good goalkeeper, a very good goalkeeper at this level and he saves us more than he lets in!”

But Greenwich Borough equalised with 14 minutes and 19 seconds on the clock.

Right-back Nathan Paul fed speedy winger Liam MacDevitt, who cut the ball back and neither Power or Gray could gain control of the ball and it came out to Wilson, who slammed his right-footed shot into the bottom right-hand corner from 12-yards.

Alexander says he wants more from MacDevitt.

He said: “You want MacDevitt causing problems with his pace all day long. A little bit more quality, we’ll be working on that in time to come and he knows that and we know that and when we’d get that right and he will cause real problems than he did.”

Ward knew exactly where to point the finger of blame.

“Midfield didn’t pick up his man,” he said.

“The ball’s come in the box, the ball was headed clear and the midfielder’s running in and he’s stuck it in the corner. Disappointed with that.  Told the midfield at half-time that’s why we changed the formation at half-time. We went man-for-man and I don’t think their midfield players got a touch.

“It was alright. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all us, I’m not saying that but they started going a bit long then what they were doing because first half they were passing and getting it down and passing it around us.”

Rams striker Millbank was always a threat for Greenwich Borough’s back four and his shot from 25-yards bounced into Holloway’s hands.

Alexander said: “They had pace up top, they knew they had a game plan where they wanted to turn us and get in behind us and they had willing runners.  They tried to cause us problems but very pleasing to concede a goal after nine minutes and the not go on and not to concede again.”

Sweeney swung in his second of three corners from the right and debutant Liam Hickey came up from the back and the former Chatham Town defender glanced his near post header across the face of goal and past the far post.

Ramsgate went agonisingly close to equalising in the 28th minute.

Gray played the ball inside to Macauley Murray in midfield and he floated in a cross towards the edge of the penalty area and Millbank’s left-footed half volley from 22-yards screamed across the diving Holloway and curled around the far post.

Ward said: “Two or three feet the other way, it’s a goal, easily a goal. It would’ve been tucked into the corner and that would’ve put us 2-1 up. Goals make a difference.”

Alexander added: “It’s another chance! There’s always going to be chances at this level for both teams and it’s about taking them.

“I think we’ve had the better of the chances.  Ramsgate are shooting from 20-25 yards and I think Craig will be dealing with them.”

Greenwich Borough took the lead for the first time with 30 minutes and 18 seconds on the clock.

Lewis Clark played the ball up to striker Rob Denness, who played the ball back to Clark on the overlap and the left-back whipped in a cross.  Watkins stretched to palm the ball away with his left hand, the ball dropped down and Power took a touch before smashing his right-footed half-volley into the back of the net from 14-yards, despite Watkins getting a hand to the shot.

Alexander said: “I’ve been encouraging Lew to go forward.  When Lew first came into the side he was up and down. He’s been a little bit ‘shall I, shan’t I?’ at the moment.  We’re trying to encourage him to go up and down. We have put young Makhosini Ryan-Khanye in to put a little bit of pressure on him as well and he responded tremendously tonight.”

Speaking about his goalkeeper, Ward replied: “He wasn’t happy with himself but Jack Penny was behind him. He actually took the ball off his head. I’m Penny opened his mouth he would’ve had a free header and cleared it.  Communication but when you jave kids that’s what happens, it’s a pity.”

Greenwich Borough completed the scoring with 41 minutes and 39 seconds on the clock.

Sweeney was expected to float a free-kick into the penalty area but instead he played his free-kick down the left channel to Clark, who whipped in another excellent cross.  Hickey rose in the box and despite Alexander’s claims that his new defender got the final touch, he didn’t and Gray steered the ball into his own goal.

Alexander said: “I’m giving it to Liam Hickey! He touched it and it went in off the keeper so I’ll give it to him. If I was playing, I said if you’re not going to claim it, I’ll claim it, so we’ll give it to him on his debut.

“It was a good goal.  Lew burst down the left from the free-kick, overlapping. I want him to do that. He can do that, he’s capable of doing that and he’s got a great left-foot and he delivered a great cross, which obviously lead to the goal.”

When asked about Hickey’s debut, Alexander was pleased with the central defender.

“I’ve signed Liam from Chatham. I thought he was excellent. He hit some wonderful balls. He’s got a wonderful left foot and he can play as well and as well as defending. Very pleasing debut for him – and a goal!”

Ward added: “For some reason the wrong man was in the wall. Millbank was in the wall, he’s a centre forward!

“The ball came down the side, a move that we use, too easy, down the side, knocked in, goal.

“I was disappointed with that, the lads are disappointed with that. A good goal to score, again, we should’ve done better!”

Both managers were asked their thoughts at the break.

Alexander said: “I said we haven’t been great, we haven’t been great.  We’re better than that and if we upped our percentage a little bit the game was there for the taking but fair play to Ramsgate, they came out. We dominated the ball first half, second half they pressed down on us and done a job and it wasn’t easy to play out but we limited the game to chances second half and saw the game through.”

Ward added: “I told them at half-time, keep on showing endeavour, get the next goal and see where it will take us.

“We played ever so well. You can’t say we didn’t give it a go, that’s for sure. We gave it a go and if we had the bounce of the ball we would’ve scored and had we scored it would’ve been interesting.”

Former Horsham winger MacDevitt offered plenty of pace down the wing and the ball was smothered at his feet by the Ramsgate keeper after only 47 seconds, before he lashed the ball over the bar after being released down the right by Wilson’s pass.

Ramsgate then created a couple of chances that they should have taken.

Millbank’s shot was blocked by Clark and the ball fell to Alfie Paxman, who suffered the same fate before Millbank dragged his shot past the far post from 12-yards.

Murray then put the ball into the Greenwich Borough box, it was cleared and Joe Kane smacked his right-footed volley over the crossbar from 25-yards.

Greenwich Borough were denied a fourth goal by the post on the hour-mark.

Denness, who had a quiet game, found himself inside the box and he set up Power, who from a tight angle whipped in his shot across the keeper only to see the ball clip the outside of the top of the far post.

“Michael in the penalty area is clever and he’s got great feet and it’s a great effort.  Obviously, it’s come off the post but good work and link up play between the two big men,” added Alexander.

Ward added: “Great strike. He’s got it in his locker, always has done, always will.

“To pull it down, spin and hit the far post, very unlucky, but it hit the outside of the post. If he saves that goal from a very tight ankle, it would’ve been a great goal but we deserved a little bit of luck.”

Ramsgate produced some crisp passing on the frozen pitch as Millbank played in Paxman, who drilled his shot across Holloway and past the far post from the left-hand side of the penalty area, 14-yards from goal.

“Alfie’s scored three or four of them this year in exactly the same position, the left-hand side of the box He strikes it in the side netting  and I was expecting the same again – and he expected the same again. It’s a disappointment but great football to get him in there.”

Greenwich Borough’s right-back Nathan Paul collected a pass inside the centre circle and played the ball out wide to MacDevitt.  His deep cross was palmed away by Watkins and Paul ghosted in at the far post and his header was saved by the keeper.

Ramsgate substitute Billy Lewins was denied a maiden first team goal by Holloway’s leg after running into the penalty area and trying to bury his shot into the bottom near corner from 12-yards.

“Craig’s made up, he’ll obviously be disappointed with the goal he conceded and Craig will always make saves and he did there and that’s what Craig’s there to, but again we’ve limited them to one or two chances in the second half where you think maybe they might score but we’ve got to do better.”

Ward said: “Billy’s another 16-year-old, gave it everything that he’s got. He might be the smallest player in the league I would’ve thought. He was booked on Saturday for having an argument with a centre half and a goalkeeper, both of them were twice his size and that’s what Billy gives you. If he gets a chance he hits the target.  That’s now three times he’s had something cleared by the keeper or cleared off the line.  Billy will be a good player, hopefully, he’ll be a good player here.”

Greenwich Borough striker Mohammed Eisa wasted a great chance to join Power on 11 goals for the season just a couple of minutes after coming on as substitute.

Hickey pinged an inch-perfect long ball out of defence that fell to Eisa, who sublimely brought the ball under his spell and with his second touch of the game lashed his shot over the bar from eight-yards.

“Mo’s just having one of those spells at the moment. He’ll come back. He just needs a goal to change that. He came on, he keeps putting himself in the right positions. The time to worry is when he’s not getting the chances but he gets chances whether he starts or when he comes on.”

Ramsgate midfielder Girt tried his luck with a left-footed drive from 35-yards, which was meat and drink for Holloway before Gray hit his left-footed shot over the bar from 25-yards after being pushed forward into midfield earlier on in the half.

Chatham Town came away from Whyteleafe tonight with a 1-0 win in Paul Piggott’s first game in charge and remain third-from-bottom in the table on 16 points from 21 games – three points adrift of safety.

Alexander takes his side to Chatham on Saturday and said: “Every game is a tough game. We’ve seen in recent weeks, the results in this league so everyone’s beating everybody, everybody’s fighting for different things and different reasons.

“Chatham are fighting to stay out of the bottom three, we’re fighting to stay in the top five. It’s that tight the league so it’s going to be a tough game.

“Paul Piggott has just taken over, a man I respect. He done tremendous with Hollands & Blair last year so we won’t be taking nothing for granted.  We’ve got to go there, like every game in the Ryman, we have to be at our best to get three points.”

Ramsgate, meanwhile, remain in 17th place with 22 points from as many games and the Rams are now six points clear of the relegation zone.

Ward’s men host fifth-placed surprise-package Corinthian-Casuals on Saturday and he said: “I said to the lads if we show that same kind of endeavour in most games in this league and get a bit of a kick and it goes with it we’ll win more games than we’ll lose.”

Greenwich Borough: Craig Holloway, Nathan Paul, Lewis Clark, Glenn Wilson, Liam Hickey, Danny Young, Liam MacDevitt (Mohammed Eisa 81), Bradley Pritchard, Rob Denness (Lewwis Spence 90), Michael Power (Charlie MacDonald 69), Peter Sweeney.
Subs: George Pilbeam, Makhosini Ryan-Khanye

Goals: Glenn Wilson 15, Michael Power 31, Oliver Gray 42 (own goal)

Ramsgate: Luke Watkins, Oliver Gray, Jack Penny, Macauley Murray (Mitchell Laing 81), Luke Wheatley, Joe Kane, Jake Munday (Billy Lewins 66), Luke Girt, Aaron Millbank, Tom Chapman (Jacob Mensah 82), Alfie Paxman.
Subs: Joe Halford, Lloyd Blackman

Goals: Aaron Millbank 9

Booked: Luke Wheatley 6

Attendance: 83
Referee: Mr David Hutton (Basildon, Essex)
Assistants: Mr Grant Brett & Mr Jeffery Stanley (Basildon, Essex)

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