Ramsgate 0-0 Arundel - Will we play that bad again? I certainly hope not! We'll certainly have to play better than we did but we're in the hat, says Ramsgate boss Nick Davis

Saturday 07th September 2019
Ramsgate 0 – 0 Arundel
Location Southwood Stadium, Prices Avenue, Ramsgate, Kent CT11 0AN
Kickoff 07/09/2019 15:00

The Emirates FA Cup First Qualifying Round
Saturday 7 September 2019
Stephen McCartney reports from Southwood Stadium

RAMSGATE manager Nick Davis insists his side will not play poorly at Arundel after being held to a goal-less draw at home by a side that play a couple of levels lower.

The Rams went into this FA Cup First Qualifying Round tie sitting second-from-bottom in the Isthmian League South East Division, having collected just one point from their first three outings.

Simon Hull’s side, meanwhile, were in third-place in the Southern Combination First Division table, having won all three of their opening league games.

The Mullets also beat Banstead Athletic (2-0) and Shoreham (1-0) and are the lowest ranked club currently in The FA Cup, who had lone striker Callum Chalmers sent-off at the very end of the game for picking up two yellow cards.

Arundel were a resilient outfit but Ramsgate created more than enough chances to avoid a difficult trip to Mill Road for Tuesday night’s replay.

“I didn’t think we got going today,” admitted a disappointed Davis, whose side’s only win in six games this season was their 4-1 win at Steyning Town in The FA Cup Preliminary Round.

“Our passing was poor, the conditions were windy, we weren’t great.  We went down to their level a little bit, no disrespect to them. 

“I thought they set-up well actually and they were hard to break down but we’ve got to overcome that, so I’m disappointed but we’re in the hat for Monday and only one of two teams in our league, I think, are still in there.”

The truth of the matter is Ramsgate failed to show that they were two levels higher than Arundel on the day.

“We’re on a hiding to nothing today, weren’t we, so it’s one of those that I don’t think our goalkeeper’s had a save to make, there’s one from the free-kick they’ve had, so they’ve not troubled us,” added Davis.

“But we’ve got to be more inventive when we go forward and create better opportunities than we did today.

“We were sloppy today from how good we’ve been against Ashford (won 3-2 on penalties after a goal-less draw in the Velocity Trophy) and how good we were against VCD (2-2 draw in the league) last week. We were poor today!”

Ramsgate created their first opening of the game after 40 seconds but any chances of scoring were denied by an offside flag.

A big kick from goalkeeper Will Godmon bounced over the head of Arundel centre-half Jordan Dudas and Kane Rowland played in winger Tom Chapman, who dragged his shot trickling past the foot of the far post but an offside flag saved his blushes of a bad miss when he only had tall goalkeeper Dan Stevens to beat.

Arundel right-back Scott Callaghan was caught out by a long diagonal ball over the top and this put Rory Smith in down the left channel and he hung in a cross which striker Rowland placed a free header across goal and past the far post.

Arundel offered very little up front during the entire game but right-winger Ashley Hawkes brought the ball under control with his chest before smacking a left-footed volley which dipped over the crossbar from 40-yards with four minutes and 41 seconds on the clock.

“We were restricting them, weren’t we for shots like that,” said Davis.

“Defensively, Steve Smith, to be fair to him, played two games at centre-half and we’ve kept two clean-sheets but every time it’s 0-0, they’re in a game aren’t they?  It was going to drop for them and they were going to sucker-punch us.”

Arundel cleared free-kicks and they liked to get the ball forward quickly but Chalmers or Hawkes couldn’t get past a well-organised Ramsgate back four.

Arundel were a physical outfit with midfielder Luis-Tijan Sparks’ marshalling midfield with tough but fair tackling and this put Ramsgate off their stride.

It took Ramsgate 26 minutes to create a decent opening when Rowland cut in from the left and fed Daniel Carrington who played the ball out wide to left-back Tom Wynter, who whipped in a great cross from within the left channel and Chapman got in between Arundel’s two centre-halves (Toby McCauley and Dudas) and guided his volley across the keeper and just past the far post from 16-yards.

“It was a good move and I felt we could get at them out wide today and that was a good move. Maybe Chappers could’ve done better but it weren’t to be, it seems,” said Davis.

Ramsgate enjoyed a spell of dominance as they upped their tempo and centre-half Liam Friend played the ball over the top of Arundel’s defence and Rowland ran on the outside of McCauley, who got a slight touch to the angled drive and keeper Stevens made a comfortable save low to his left to prevent the ball nestling into the bottom near corner.

Davis said: “Kane hasn’t started too many games, we’ve only played six games.  Our left-back Jack Morrell was injured so we changed it around and Kane’s an experienced player at this level now. We didn’t do enough of that.  I think we didn’t trouble their keeper enough did we and that’s more disappointing than anything else.”

Sparks picked up a knock and was to be withdrawn for Nathan Foster but refused to be substituted in the 39th minute as some weak management from Hull ensured the midfielder stayed on – that was until the interval when the change finally took place.

Ramsgate were to be denied the lead in the 43rd minute, thanks to a fine save from Stevens and the foot of the near post.

Wynter got down the channel again and drove in a deep cross from the left and found Chapman, whose angled drive was parried by Stevens, low to his left at his near post and the keeper ensured he got his grounded frame in the way as Rowland’s follow-up shot from a couple of yards from goal, albeit a tight angle, bounced off the foot of the near post.

“It didn’t fall for us today.  There was another one in the second half, exactly the same where the guy has near enough saved one off the line,” said Davis.

“If you add it up like that, you look at the couple of chances we’ve got, if we score one we might get two or three.

“But I’ve been around long enough to know no cup game in The FA Cup is easy. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing against. They had a free hit today.

“Will we play as bad as that in two games? I certainly hope not, going away from home we’re under no pressure, believe me.”

Complacent Ramsgate felt all they needed to do was to turn up and win – but Arundel won their first five games in all competitions and lost 3-1 to East Preston after extra time in the League Cup in their last outing.

“Maybe, maybe but I’ve got experienced lads’ in there that know that and have been in dozens of these games so you get these type of players in so they can deal with it better,” said Davis.

“Today we haven’t done, we did last game against Steyning, who play a league above these and we beat them 4-1, so I don’t know what it is at the minute at home, we’re a little bit nervous.

“At half-time I just said ‘liven up!”  I had a little bit of a dig at them because I thought our ball player’s were giving the ball away cheaply. We were slow on the ball, we were sloppy on the ball and it’s an important position that centre midfield and we’ve got two experienced players in there. Aaron Lamont has played a lot higher and I demanded them to be better than what they were!

“We were saying you’ve got to do the nasty stuff as well. They were up for it and we have got to be able to do that, do the dirty, the not so nice stuff and hopefully our quality will shine through and we get the chances to do that. We were a little bit slow and sloppy.”

Arundel created their only opening inside the opening five minutes of the second half when substitute Foster – who finished the game in central defence – fed Chalmers, who cut towards the edge of the Ramsgate box but his progress was ended by Friend sticking out his left leg to bring him down as he strode past him, earning a booking.

Arundel’s holding midfielder Matthew Noble curled his right-footed free-kick towards the top left-hand corner from 25-yards, but Ramsgate keeper Will Godmon caught the ball, dropped it and gathered it after it bounced.

“They’re always going to have the odd chance, aren’t they. That was their only chance on target,” added Davis.

Arundel’s Eli Amoo was pressed and lost the ball in the middle of the park, giving Stephen Smith an opportunity to hit a first time right-footed drive from 30-yards, which he bent just past the foot of the far post.

Miles Cornwell played a short pass into Rowland, who appeared to be just inside the corner of the penalty area when he was fouled by Hawkes but referee Alex Mathiewson awarded Ramsgate a free-kick just outside the box.

Aaron Lamont swung in the resulting free-kick into a crowded penalty area and Rowland hit a shot through a crowd of players forcing Stevens to use a strong left hand to push the ball around the post for Ramsgate’s seventh of 11 corners.

“Kane Rowland was brought down, he said the same (that he was inside the box).

“It was a good save.  There was a bit of a melee in the box and it’s one of those days. We weren’t going to score today if it went on for another hour. I don’t think we were going to score,” admitted the Ramsgate manager.

That 64th minute chance ensured Ramsgate upped it but they lacked the cutting edge in front of goal and the longer the game went on Davis and his management team were getting frustrated and nervous that Arundel would create that one chance to knock them out of The FA Cup.

“I’m getting more nervous! It just hasn’t fallen for us today.  We’ve got in great positions but our final ball let us down,” admitted Davis.

Visiting keeper Stevens suffered a knock at the halfway mark when he dived to his right to thwart Chapman scoring with a drive towards the bottom near corner, after Wynter crossed the halfway line again and ran at the Arundel defence and Rory Smith cut inside to float over a cross towards the far post.  An offside flag was raised and Arundel swiftly warmed up their substitute keeper just in case he was needed.

Ramsgate’s frustrations grew in the 29th minute when Rory Smith floated in a corner from the right and Stephen Smith rose in the centre and planted his header high over the crossbar from six-yards out.

Arundel’s big moment came in the final 12 minutes when Ramsgate cleared Noble’s free-kick and the ball fell to Amoo inside the box but he dragged his shot across the penalty area and trickled towards the corner flag than the bottom far corner of the goal.

Ramsgate kept knocking on the door as they were in search for the winning goal that they deserved, only one though.

Davis threw Ashley Miller on and he fed the ball to Stephen Smith, who cut inside but produced a weak shot from just inside the box that rolled into Stevens’ hands, making a comfortable save on his knees.

You just knew it was going to end in a goal-less draw when in the 44th minute Ramsgate right-back Jack Paxman reached the by-line and whipped in a cross which was smacked over on the volley by Miller from 12-yards.

Paxman threw the ball into Rory Smith, who ran at the Arundel defence but his right-footed angled drive was saved at the second attempt by Stevens, low to his right.

Arundel were reduced to ten-men inside injury time when Chalmers left something on goalkeeper Godmon after the ball was cleared out of the Ramsgate box.

“I think one or two of their players could’ve gone today, the referee done ok for them,” claimed Davis.  “

“Chalmers worked hard, fair play to him. He worked really hard, occupied the two centre-halves and worked really hard.

Ramsgate’s substitute left-back Matthew Robinson swung in a late free-kick from the right which was flicked towards goal by Carrington but the ball was comfortably gathered by Stevens on his knees.

Ramsgate were to be denied the win with 49:41 on the clock when Chapman teed up Miller, who was about to pull the trigger and score but was to be denied by right-back Callaghan putting his body on the line to slide in and block the shot at the near post for Ramsgate’s 11th corner.

So it’s off to Mill Road for Tuesday night’s second bite of the cherry.

“The thing is with me, the game’s gone, so I can go in there and go crazy at them but we’re still in the hat come Monday so I’m trying to look at it in a positive mind frame,” said Davis.

“Will we play that bad again? I certainly hope not! So we’ve got a second bite of the cherry. They’ll say the same but I’m quite confident going away from home on a Tuesday night we’ll certainly play better than we did but we’re in the hat come Monday.

“It’s going to show a lot of character from us to go there but we tried to put a squad together that’s got a lot of character and a lot of leaders and experience that can hopefully go there and cope with that and go and deal with that.

“I’m expecting a tough game. It’s somewhere I’ve never been before, all these years I’ve never been at Arundel. 

“We know how they’ll set-up. If we play to 80% of our capabilities we’ll win the game but it’s The FA Cup, anything can happen can’t it. There’s been a lot better sides being knocked out by lesser sides. It’s football, anything can happen but I’m confident.”

Ramsgate: Will Godmon, Jack Paxman, Tom Wynter, Daniel Carrington, Liam Friend, Stephen Smith, Tom Chapman, Aaron Lamont, Kane Rowland (Matthew Robinson 76), Miles Cornwell (Ashley Miller 71), Rory Smith.
Subs: Sebastian Rowland, Wesley Hennessey, Jonathan Steele, Harry Day

Booked: Liam Friend 49, Stephen Smith 87

Arundel: Dan Stevens, Scott Callaghan, Daniel Gibb, Matthew Noble, Toby McCauley, Jordan Dudas, Ashley Hawkes (Chandler Perrin 66), Luis-Tijan Sparks (Nathan Foster 46), Callum Chalmers, Eli Amoo, Gwilym Flint Roberts.
Subs: Stephen Sedgley, Ben Eames, Joe Allan, Liam Brady, Owen Benfell

Booked: Scott Callaghan 40, Callum Chalmers 56, Jordan Dudas 61

Sent Off:  Callum Chalmers 90

Attendance: 197
Referee: Mr Alex Mathieson (Alton, Hampshire)
Assistants: Mr Tolga Inanc (Streatham, London SW16) & Mr Kuba Bogucki (Balham, London SW17)