Hythe Town 2-2 Ramsgate - We haven't achieved what we've set out to do, admits frustrated Hythe Town boss Sam Denly

Saturday 16th March 2019
Hythe Town 2 – 2 Ramsgate
Location Reachfields Stadium, off Fort Road, Hythe, Kent CT21 6JS
Kickoff 16/03/2019 15:00

Bostik South East Division
Saturday 16 March 2019
Stephen McCartney reports from Reachfields Stadium

RAMSGATE manager Nick Davis claims the performance from referee George Warren was embarrassing after two of his players were controversially sent-off.

Firstly, Ramsgate left-back Rob Saunders was booked for an alleged elbow in Tom Carlton's face after only 135 seconds and he can be hard done by when everyone inside Reachfields Stadium could see that he WON THE BALL as he tackled Sidney Sollis – but was controversially sent-off for a second yellow card in the 21st minute.

Referee Mr Warren then showed a straight red-card to Ramsgate striker Kane Rowland with nine minutes of the game remaining, as he and Hythe Town central midfielder Chris Kinnear both slid in to contest the ball within the centre-circle.

Ramsgate grabbed the lead inside the opening nine minutes when striker Rowland slotted in a goal on the counter-attack, before the Cannons equalised through an own goal from Saunders.

Hythe Town scored what they felt was the winner with 17 minutes remaining through Tom Carlton’s sublime strike but substitute left-back Charlie Dickens hooked in a deserved equaliser just 143 seconds later.

Hythe Town pressed for the winner against Ramsgate’s nine men but centre-halves Ollie Gray and George Crimmen were excellent and slammed the door shut to prevent Hythe Town striker Zak Ansah adding to his impressive 30-goal tally.

“Gobsmacked really! It’s a big topic at the minute isn’t it? You know that more than anyone!  That referee performance, for both teams, was more than embarrassing,” said Davis after his side extended their winless run to six games.

“If you can’t tackle in the game anymore, I wouldn’t have been able to play my game, I wouldn’t have played because that was my game.

“Alright, he probably shouldn’t have gone in for it because he’s on a yellow card but he’s won the ball and the ball’s gone. He’s caught the man, fine.  He’s (the referee) killed us, absolutely killed us!”

Davis added: “The Kane Rowland one there, I think they’ve both gone in, straight red? I mean, it’s ridiculous!

“We’re down to nine men but the character that we’ve shown there was unbelievable, absolutely unbelievable. With 10 men, I thought we’ve created more chances than they did.  I was so pleased what character we’ve shown, what real resolute and character, I’m delighted.”

When asked what The Football Association can do about the problem of poor performances from referee’s at this level and the one below, Davis replied: “I don’t know. I don’t want to go on about it because it’s a tough job, I completely get that.

“I don’t know, something needs to be done. That was embarrassing. They can cost people their jobs with decisions like that!”

Hythe Town boss Sam Denly said: “My thoughts are, frustrating! Probably the story of our season really.

“I thought we dominated the game, we missed some chances to win the game that we should be scoring and a ridiculous equalising goal – it was never a free-kick, probably a free-kick the other way if anything.

“But over the course of the game they deserved a point if I’m being honest. They worked hard with 10 men and they had nine men for the last nine minutes and I thought them going down to 10 men seemed to galvanise them if anything and it was a frustrating day for us.”

Hythe Town created the first opening after only 124 seconds after Saunders gave the ball away inside his channel to Carlton, who played right-back Salvyn Kisitu on the overlap. He cut the ball back to Ansah, who controlled the ball onto his left-foot before striking a low shot towards the bottom near corner from eight-yards, which was blocked by the legs of goalkeeper Luke Watkins.

Denly added: “We’ve missed a few chances today and you’ll probably talk me through a few of them but we haven’t been, again, clinical in front of goal and that’s what’s cost us.”

Davis added: “It was a good save. We took a little while to get going actually. I thought we could hit them on the break but they’re dangerous going forward. We were better with 10 men, I think.”

Hythe Town started the game on the front foot and Mitchell Dickenson played the ball into Kieron Campbell, the winger swept the ball out to Sollis on the right and his cross was flicked in by Ansah but Sollis smashed his shot into the side netting.

Ramsgate grabbed the lead with a counter-attacking goal, timed at eight minutes and 45 seconds on the clock.

Sollis threw the ball to Campbell on the right and his crossfield pass was intercepted by Ramsgate winger Tom Chapman, who accepted the invitation to stride forward.

Cannons centre-half Dickenson came out to meet him but Chapman easily skipped past him and sprinted past Palmer to reach the edge of the penalty area. His low diagonal pass was put on a plate for Rowland, who placed his right-footed shot across keeper Tony Coxall to nestle sweetly inside the bottom far corner of the net from 15-yards out.

After scoring six goals for Bostik Premier Division side Folkestone Invicta, this was Rowland’s second Ramsgate goal in 11 games.

Davis said: “Kane needed that goal, he hasn’t scored for a little while.  I believe in Kane and he’ll get 25 goals next season. We’ve signed him on a contact until the end of next season. That’s the intension that we’ve got down here.

“Is there a better winger in this league than Tom Chapman? I haven’t seen one yet, unbelievable wasn’t he? He was a thorn in their side.”

Denly added: “Firstly, giving the ball away in good areas.  We had the ball and we’ve lost possession and all off a sudden we find ourselves 1-0 down.

“I thought we started ok actually but they got the goal and it got a bit scrappy after the sending off.

“We’ve conceded a lot of sloppy goals this season. They haven’t opened us up, we gave the ball away and they hit us on the break and it’s cost us.”

Ramsgate’s Chapman switched off as Hythe Town left-back Joey Taylor threw the ball into play and allowed Campbell to cut inside and drill a right-footed shot past the near post from 25-yards as space opened up.

Hythe Town deservedly scored an equaliser with 17 minutes and 39 seconds on the clock, although video evidence will need to be used to confirm the actual goalscorer.

The Cannons kept possession and left-winger Campbell whipped in a deep cross towards the far post.  The ball sailed over Watkins’ left-shoulder and Sollis and Saunders went for the ball. Whoever got the last touch ensured they poked the ball into the bottom right-hand corner from inside the six-yard box.

Denly said: “It was one of the best bits of football in the first half, good build-up play. Campbell’s put a fantastic cross in and Sid Sollis got a tap in.”

Davis added: “It might’ve been an own goal. Rob’s had a bad day. I don’t know (if it was an own-goal), I haven’t spoken to him.

“We really need to start getting some clean-sheets, that’s for certain. We haven’t kept one for nine games now. Hythe are very good going forward.”

Saunders slid in to win the ball cleanly off Sollis and the referee had to collect his notebook from Ramsgate keeper Watkins – who picked it up inside his own penalty area – before the referee showed Saunders a second yellow card and a red with 20 minutes and 12 seconds on the clock.

Holding midfielder Zak Fagan and striker Nigel Neita were both making their Ramsgate debuts against their old club following their release due to a budget cut and Neita lasted 24 minutes and 19 seconds as he was sacrificed by Davis as he changed formation to 4-5-1, with Dickens coming off the bench to slot in at left-back.

“I had to sacrifice him,” explained Davis.

“What do you do? Everything goes out of the window, doesn’t it, straight away. 

“Nigel Neita makes his debut against his old club. I thought he was a handful for the 25 minutes that he played.  I had to change and go 4-5-1.

“Look, what I’ve got is legs in this side, young (players) and they run all day.  Gil Carvalho, Tom Chapman, Tijan Jadama was brilliant in there so I had to go that way.”

Now, it’s very rare when BOTH managers admit the referee got it wrong, completely wrong!

“Harsh! I thought the ref has had an average game, that’s me being nice to him,” added Denly.

“Frustrating to be honest. I thought it was harsh. If it happened against us I would’ve had the hump.

“I thought it was two harsh yellow cards.  The first one he has caught him to be honest and there’s an argument for that to be a read – but I didn’t think it is – and the second one, yes he has WON THE BALL!

“I don’t think he got any of the man so I know you can’t tackle these days. The game’s got a bit mad. I’d say both of them were very harsh.”

Fagan advanced and reached the left by-line before cutting the ball back to Chapman and his shot was charged down and was picked up by an untroubled Coxall.

Ramsgate produced a nice move on the half-hour mark when the impressive Chapman released right-back Jake MacKenzie on an overlapping run and he whipped in a low cross towards the near post but Gil Carvalho failed to apply the finish.

Davis added: “A good move, wasn’t it? We were still threatening weren’t we, albeit maybe from counter-attacks but as I said for that remaining 20 odd minutes in that half I thought we were the better side. We kept catching them on the break.”

Ramsgate shut the door and no further chances were created in the remainder of the first half.

Denly said: “There was a lot of shouting! I wasn’t happy, I’m not going to lie because we wasn’t good enough!

“I think players buy into the fact too much that they’ve got 10 men. Sometimes it works against you.  That galvanised Ramsgate. Their tails were up, they were working hard and we didn’t match that in the first half and it was frustrating. We needed to work harder with one man extra because that counts then and we didn’t and that was the most frustrating part of the first half.

“I thought second half we were much better and we’ve had a lot of chances to win the game and it was frustrating.”

Davis added: “I said to the lads at half-time, enjoy being hard to break down, enjoy it! I said to the centre-halves these are the games that I loved. I loved going down to 10 men.  You come and score against us then! I said to my two centre-halves, who absolutely headed everything today, I thought they were outstanding, the pair of them. Enjoy defending and they did. I thought they were brilliant.”

Hythe Town were within inches of taking the lead after 193 seconds into the second half.

Campbell played the ball inside to an unmarked Carlton, who had drifted into the middle and the former Herne Bay talent drilled a first time shot against the left-hand post from 25-yards, with Watkins rooted to the spot.

Denly said: “Great strike, hits the inside of the post. On another day it goes in!”

Davis added: “He was dangerous and we saw that later on. There were some gaps starting to open. If we can restrict them to long distance shots and forced the play wide and be as compact as we can with the 10 men, they’re going to have the opportunities from distance and he’s got the ability to.”

Ramsgate squandered an excellent chance to grab the lead in the 55th minute but Carvalho fluffed his big chance.

MacKenzie, Chapman and Fagan all linked up down the right hand side of the pitch and Chapman played a low cross towards the near post.  Carvalho flicked his shot across the face of goal from three yards out and the ball trickled agonisingly past the foot of the far post.

“It’s run across the goal, hasn’t it. Yes you’re right, I’ve forgotten all about that. Again, we were dangerous,” added the Ramsgate manager.

Dickens hit a long ball over the top, which wasn’t headed clear by Hythe centre-half Ollie Row and gave a chance for Tijan Jadama, who hit a rasping drive from the left-hand side of the penalty area, which was plucked out of the air by Coxall, grabbing hold of the ball high to his left.

Kinnear played the pass of the game in the 65th minute to release Campbell in space down the right wing but there was frustration from the Hythe camp when the referee blew up for a blow to the head for Fagan on the half-way line.

The Cannons won their four corners inside the final 20 minutes of the game and Carlton swung in a deep delivery in from the right which was met by Rowe’s looping header, which dropped into Watkins’ gloves.

Hythe Town made the breakthrough with 27 minutes and four seconds on the clock with a goal that deserved to win any game!

Fagan lost the ball and fell over on the half-way line and let Ansah drop deep to collect the ball at his feet.

Ansah shrugged off Jadama in the final third and Carlton strode forward and as space opened up he hit a stunning right-footed drive past the flying goalkeeper into the top far corner from 25-yards.

Denly said: Yes, again, frustrating. What’s frustrating about it, that’s fitting to win any game of football. It should’ve been the winning goal!”

Davis admitted: “Brilliant goal! You give him that time and space he’s got that ability to hurt you and he did.

“I said to the lads on the bench it’s going to take something special to score against us today.”

Ramsgate showed plenty of character to deservedly come away with a point by scoring their equaliser with 29 minutes and 27 seconds on the clock.

Cannons’ substitute left-back Jack Smith was booked for sliding in to foul Chapman down the right.

MacKenzie floated in the resulting free-kick and no one tracked Dickens at the far post and he simply hooked his left-footed shot back across the keeper to find the bottom far corner from four-yards out.

Davis revealed:  “Charlie’s supposed to stay back for set-pieces but did you hear what I said? I made Gill come back because he attacks them well Charlie and he got in the right place, great goal!

“We’re delighted! Two-all getting back into it, you feel the worst going down to 10 men but there was always a chance for us. We’re a dangerous side ourselves going forward.

“I just thought stay in the game and manage it as well as we can. I was breaking it down into 15 minute spells, get through 15, get through 30 and just cut it down into smaller chunks.”

Denly highlighted another mistake from the referee.

“They get gifted a free-kick that never was but we’ve got to defend the free-kick which we didn’t do. It was poor, poor defending and after scoring a wordie goal like Tom has done there, we find ourselves back on level terms.

“It’s a learning point. I said to the boys after the game we’ve got to learn from that. You get a goal like that and you go ahead, you’ve got to get the ball back and get them turned and get them facing their goal, not give them an opportunity to get back into the game. That was frustrating, especially after such a good goal from Tom.”

Within a couple of minutes, a fine save from Ramsgate keeper Watkins thwarted the Cannons the lead.

Dickenson had stayed up for Carlton’s corner, which was cleared and the ball was recycled back into the box by Kinnear.  Sollis threaded the ball through a crowd of players to set up Dickenson, whose left-footed shot was blocked by Watkins’ legs.

Denly admitted it fell to the wrong man.

“Probably should’ve scored but he’s not paid to score goals! He’s a centre-half and he’s good at that and he’s very good at that as well.  In those areas I back him to finish it but he didn’t.

“Salvyn’s got a very good chance and he’s got to score and he knows that and he hasn’t and in some ways it sums up our season to be honest.”

Davis added: “It was a great save. He’s got that in him Luke. He’ll be the first to admit he’s made a couple of mistakes recently but he’s got a wordie save in him and that was one.”

Ramsgate were facing a mountain to climb when the referee took centre stage by controversially showing Rowland a straight red-card for a foul on Kinnear inside the centre-circle.

Ramsgate will use video evidence to appeal the decision.

Davis said: “The ball was in a 50-50 area.  I don’t know if it was a dangerous tackle. I thought they both went in. You saw it, everyone else saw it. They were laughing on their bench so you tell me? Straight red? Was it a dirty game of football today? We’ve had two players sent-off. Ridiculous!

“Yes, we’re hopefully going to get a video and hopefully appeal that.”

Denly added: “Again, for me, it’s not a red card! It’s not often the opposing manager will say that but I thought they can consider both of themselves unlucky today.

“I’m not concerned about that. I’m more concerned about the referee getting the decisions wrong, like the free-kick when they’ve scored their goal. He was the only man on the pitch that seen that so that’s the more frustrating thing for me!

“Listen, it’s a hard job. I see the other managers jump on the refereeing bandwagon. I’m not going to stand here criticising them all because we need the referees because it’s a hard job. It’s not a job I want to do but I thought he might’ve got the decisions wrong today.

“Listen, it’s on video, the game’s recorded here, they can look at them if they think they’re harsh and they can appeal them so that’s a good thing.

“But I’m not going to start jumping on this refereeing bandwagon about they’re not good enough. A lot of them struggle, some are good but that’s non-league football for you. You have to take the rough with the smooth. We’ve had some good decisions go our way, bad decisions go against us, that’s football!”

Hythe Town pressed for a late winner but found Crimmen and Gray in resilient mood.

Carlton swung in a corner from the left, the ball was flicked on by Elliott Capel and dropped at Kisitu’s feet at the far post but he failed to force the ball over the line as Watkins got down swiftly low to his left to ensure the ball didn’t cross the line.

“It had a bit of everything the game didn’t it? We never deserved to lose this game and it would’ve been cruel if we had,” admitted Davis.

“The lads put their bodies on the line. I’m delighted with the character today.  It’s a win for me, probably a defeat for them in the manner in which they had the game won but we were so solid. We do a lot of that in training actually, defence-v-attack and overloads and the attacking side having more numbers so I was pleased that all of that work paid off.

Ansah dropped to the halfway line and swept a hanging ball out to Carlton out on the left and his cross was smacked high over the bar by Ansah in a central position inside the D.

Watkins poor clearance hung in the wind and Ansah hooked the ball out to Sollis on the right and his deep cross was palmed to safety by Watkins, clawing the ball to safety while stretching high to his right.

Runaway Bostik South East Division leaders Cray Wanderers went down to their second league defeat in 29 games as they threw away a 2-0 lead inside six minutes to lose 3-2 at Hastings United.

Tony Russell’s side have 71 points on the board, while the four play-off places are still occupied by Horsham (58 points with six games left); Ashford United (57 points with seven games left); Hastings United (56 points with six games left) and Haywards Heath Town (55 points with seven games left).

Hythe Town remain in sixth-place with 44 points on the board with six games left, while Ramsgate are in tenth-place with 37 points from their 30 league outings.

Next Saturday, Hythe Town travel to 12th placed Sittingbourne, while Ramsgate host ninth-placed Phoenix Sports.

Davis was part of Paul Bryon’s management team at Phoenix Sports earlier in the season.

“I’m looking forward to that. I think a few of the lads are having a night out in Ramsgate and they’re trying to get me along so it will be good to see them,” said Davis.

“We haven’t lost at home since (losing 3-1 to Ashford United) 15 December, it’s the away form that’s a bit of a concern but we’ve lost three in 13 and I want to be hard to beat first and foremost. We’re not the finished article but this time next year (we’re going for promotion).”

Denly was forced to off load Fagan and Neita, while Jack Sammoutis has re-signed for basement side Greenwich Borough.

“It’s not ideal if I’m being honest. We let them go, we’ve had a bit of a balancing of the books act because of where we are at the moment so it’s the worst part of management, I don’t like doing it. They’re both good lads so I’m pleased they’re at a club straight away but it wasn’t ideal to see them playing against us, I must admit.”

With his side now 11 points adrift of the play-offs, Denly admits he has failed to meet his objectives for the season.

“We’re looking at next season now, if I’m being honest. It’s been a disappointing year and we haven’t achieved what we’ve set out to do.

“That’s my first full season here and it hasn’t gone as well as we’d like but we’re building a base for next year as well.

“We’ve made some good signings like Tom Carlton (from Herne Bay), who was outstanding today, Sid Sollis, who has come on loan (from Margate) we’ll see what we can do with that and we’re now building for next season and we’ll try to finish the season as strong as we can.

“Chris Lynch has done a fantastic job at Sittingbourne, I think they’re up there on the form guide over six or seven games so we know it’s going to be a difficult one but we’ll train and we’ll prepare. We’ve got six more big games and we want to finish the season as strong as we can and that’s what we’ll be doing next week.”

Hythe Town: Tony Coxall, Salvyn Kisitu, Joey Taylor (Jack Smith 63), Chris Kinnear, Ollie Rowe, Mitchell Dickenson, Tom Carlton (Elliott Capel 63), Ryan Palmer, Zak Ansah, Sidney Sollis, Kieron Campbell.
Subs: Kane Phillip, Alistair Carney
Goals Rob Saunders 18 (own goal), Tom Carlton 73

Booked: Ryan Palmer 49, Jack Smith 74

Ramsgate: Luke Watkins, Jake MacKenzie, Rob Saunders, Zack Fagan (Mikey Dalton 73), George Crimmen, Ollie Gray, Tom Chapman, Tijan Jadama, Kane Rowland, Nigel Neita (Charlie Dickens 25), Gil Carvalho (Rory Smith 77).
Sub: Jack Penny

Goals: Kane Rowland 9, Charlie Dickens 75

Booked: Rob Saunders 3, Tom Chapman 59, Charlie Dickens 64

Sent off: Rob Saunders 21, Kane Rowland 81

Attendance: 216
Referee: Mr George Warren (Wandsworth, London SW18)
Assistants: Mr Joseph Dann-Pye (Maidstone) & Mr David Lunani (Bromley)