Ramsgate 2-1 Chatham Town - It was important for us confidence wise to get a result today, says Ramsgate head coach Lloyd Blackman

Saturday 25th August 2018
Ramsgate 2 – 1 Chatham Town
Location Southwood Stadium, Prices Avenue, Ramsgate, Kent CT11 0AN
Kickoff 25/08/2018 15:00

The Emirates FA Cup Preliminary Round
Saturday 25 August 2018
Stephen McCartney reports from Southwood Stadium

RAMSGATE head coach Lloyd Blackman says it was very important to beat Chatham Town in The FA Cup Preliminary Round to raise the confidence levels of his players.

Ramsgate went into the game sitting in fourteenth-place in the Bostik South East Division having lost to VCD Athletic (2-1), Cray Wanderers (2-1 in the Kent Senior Cup) and 3-2 to Hastings United.

Chatham Town were top of the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table having beaten Corinthian (4-1), Canterbury City (5-2), Walton & Hersham 3-1 in the FA Cup) and Glebe (2-0) before being held to a 2-2 draw at Punjab United in midweek.

Ramsgate settled any nerves with an early goal through wide striker Tom Chapman’s third goal of the season.

Chatham Town raised their urgency levels after the break but Ramsgate grabbed a second goal through Luke Wheatley’s header before Chatham striker Paul Vines headed home his seventh goal of the season at the death.

Blackman said: “Very pleased! I thought it was a scrappy game at times but I thought our quality in certain areas was good.  We missed a few chances in the first half but generally I can’t remember Luke Watkins having to make a save until the last minute when they’ve thrown caution to the wind and generally I’ve felt really confident to be honest.

“We know they’re a good side.  They’ve started off really well in their league form. We’ve had some tough games but we’ve showed an awful lot of character and I thought we were worthy winners.”

“I don’t think we played well today,” admitted Chatham Town manager James Collins, who held onto top spot after Lordswood were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Punjab United today.

“I thought it was a poor goal to concede.  Richard Avery has come in and made his debut and there were a miss-communication between him and Reece Butler.  It was a goal out of nothing then Matt Parsons gets injured so we had to reshuffle. 

“I thought the officials were poor, if I’m honest. I thought we were poor, it was poor all round, poor!

“We just didn’t get going today, I don’t know why, we just didn’t get going at all and that’s the frustrating thing because if we played half of what we are capable of playing, we would’ve gone through and that’s disappointing so I’m massively disappointed with that one.”

Ramsgate opened the scoring with the games first attempt on goal, timed at six minutes and 27 seconds on the clock.

Chatham Town’s winger Byron Walker gave the ball away in the final third and a mix-up involving two centre halves in the shape of Richard Avery and Reece Butler sent Chapman on his way through on goal and he flicked his right-footed shot into the bottom near corner when he only had keeper Jack Bradshaw to beat from 12-yards.

“It was something that we worked on in the sessions during the week,” said Blackman.

“A decent ball in to – I’m not going to go into it tactically but we worked that phase quite well and I thought our press in those areas allowed that chance to present itself and when you get someone with the quality we have in those areas, he struck it away nicely.”

Collins said: “It’s just a mix-up in the defence. It’s Richard’s first game for us.  Taylor McDonagh’s away on holiday and it’s broken for them and they’ve finished it. It’s a good finish.  They took advantage of a bit of a mix-up. He’s come inside Matt Parsons, whose got injured in the first couple of minutes so I don’t think he was able to tack the run. It’s just one of those games.”

Harry Stannard swung in a free-kick from the right flank, which Bradshaw palmed behind for a corner while under pressure at the far post.

Stannard swung the resulting corner in from the opposite side of the pitch for Chapman to loop his free-header over the bar from 15-yards.

“We work an awful lot of set-pieces as you can see from Wheatley’s goal but Chappo had a header, unfortunately couldn’t hit the target with that one. We work those set-pieces to work an opening and unfortunately we couldn’t quite take that one,” said Blackman.

Ramsgate were winning the midfield battle during the first half and Jake MacKenzie’s free-kick from within the centre circle was flicked on by Aaron Millbank but Rory Smith leaned back to sky over his shot from inside the D.

Ben Davisson floated in Chatham’s first corner, from the left, and Jon Pilbeam was left unmarked and sailed his header across goal instead of towards it.

“I went in at half-time and they had one shot on target and that was their goal and we’ve had two really good chances,” said Collins.

“One was the Pilbeam header, which is a free header and the second was Vines at the back stick. He usually easts them up!

“We wanted to kick into the wind so second half we could give it a good go and then the wind completely dropped at half-time as well.  It’s one of those days, it was just one of those days, I think.,” added Collins, laughing.

Chatham Town missed a glorious chance to equalise in the 19th minute.

Avery’s free-kick from inside his own half was flicked crossfield by Vines to  Davisson, who cut the ball back for right-back Russell Bedford, who took a touch before slipping the ball to find Jason Thompson on the by-line. He cut the ball back for Vines who lashed his right-footed shot over the crossbar from 12-yards.

“He usually puts them away,” said Collins.

“Every chance he’s had, he’s scored so far this season so I’ll certainly allow him for a couple.

“I said at half-time, I expect my strikers to score one in three and he missed that one and the one when he went clean through and I thought he was going to nick it round him and he scored the third. 

“If you want to score goals you have to create three, four, five chances for him during a game and he’ll put most of them away, but yes, it was a good chance.”

Blackman added: “That was the only opportunity they had pretty much in the first half if my memory serves me correct.  I felt we dealt with it first and their guy managed to keep in on and I thought it was going out of play but managed to squeeze it in and centre it and Paul Vines, fortunately for us, put it over the bar.”

Ramsgate then suffered similar fate when Tijan Jadama hooked a diagonal clearance out of defence and Chapman cut inside Jack Mahoney, who slotted in at left-back after Matt Parsons was withdrawn through a jarred knee.

Chapman teed up Charlie Dickens but the Ramsgate midfielder powerfully struck his right-footed shot over the crossbar from 25-yards.

Ramsgate produced a sweeping move in the 35th minute when MacKenzie played the ball down the line and Millbank’s flicked pass played in Chapman, who put the ball on a plate for Stannard, but he swept his first time shot across the keeper and just past the post from 18-yards.

Blackman said: “It was a good move to be fair because Millbank did really well. Rory got into a great area and let it go through his legs to create a dummy or diversion and Harry will be disappointed that he didn’t hit the target but we worked the phase really well. We worked the opening really well and a couple of chances we had, just disappointed that we didn’t stuck one away.”

Collins added: “A lot of their chances were from outside the box.  I felt they had a bit of possession and we just didn’t get going at all in the first half and I sort of said to stay in the game.

“I was quite happy at half-time because I thought we were poor but I was happy that we stayed in the game. I felt if we got going we would go on and win it but we never got going at half-time.”

Ramsgate keeper Luke Watkins comfortably caught substitute Tom Fitzgerald’s looping header after Avery flicked on an inswinging corner from the right from Thompson.

Ramsgate striker Millbank cut the ball on to his right-foot but his shot lacked power and rolled into Bradshaw’s gloves at the near post from outside the box.

Both camps were asked their thoughts at the interval.

Blackman said: “Keep doing what we’re doing. We know they’re a side that likes to play out so we were aware that they probably wanted to do that a little bit more but our defensive organisation and structure was very good and competent and I was pleased with how we dealt with it. It was a case of maintaining what we were doing.”

Collins added: “I just said to them, ‘be brave on the ball, you need to get on it!’ We’re not set-up to play long so teams are going to press us and that’s what I want us to do. I want teams to press because it creates gaps and then you get in and that’s fine. They pressed us today but we just weren’t brave enough to get on the ball, which is not what we’ve been about.”

Ramsgate created the first opening five minutes into the second half when the impressive Stannard played the ball inside to striker Smith, who cut the ball onto his right-boot to stroke his shot bouncing past the left-hand post from 25-yards.

“Those front two will always create you opportunities like they do.  I can vaguely remember it squeezing past the post, another good opportunity for us, usually those boys are clinical in that area,” added Blackman.

Chatham Town then forced Watkins into making a save just 79 seconds later.

Thompson fed winger Pilbeam, who charged down the right, cut inside Jadama and teed up Thompson, who swept his shot towards goal from a couple of yards outside the box and the Ramsgate keeper made a comfortable low save.

“Byron just got a nick on that as well.  I didn’t feel like anything dropped for us today,” added Collins.

“We came out a little bit better in the second half.  If they go and score a second goal on the break and we’ve given it a good go, I’ll take that. 

“We had a little bit of a rally.  I didn’t think we got out of first gear, we couldn’t get out of first gear.  I think I’ll give them credit as well. They stopped us playing. I think sometimes it’s easier to blame your players.  I do expect better but I do think they stopped us from playing so I’ll give them credit for that.”

In an open start to the second half, Ramsgate stung the fingertips of Bradshaw when Smith played the ball out to Stannard, who cut inside and forced the visiting keeper to catch the ball at the second attempt from 25-yards.

Blackman said: “Harry’s got the ability to go inside or out to be honest and he set that situation up perfectly. It was a decent strike, unfortunately it wasn’t quite aiming. If he started a yard further out to the goalkeeper’s left, it probably would’ve found it’s way into the corner but he hit the target. It was a fairly easy save for him in the end but the opportunity was a good one.”

Collins added: “Again, it was a shot from outside the box. It was right down the middle of Jack, bread and butter for him.  That’s a shot on target but again they didn’t really look like they were going to score, if I’m honest.”

Chatham Town went up the other end and Butler rolled the ball to Mahoney, who charged down the left wing and beat MacKenzie for pace before cutting the ball back for Fitzgerald to hook his shot towards goal, forcing Watkins to hold the ball low to his left.

Fitzgerald rolled the ball out to Mahoney, who strode forward before trying his luck with a cross-shot which was flying towards the near corner from 35-yards, which Watkins stretched to his right to push around his near post.

“We were in the ascendancy then,” said Collins, who heaped praise on Mahoney.

“He did ok today. I don’t think too many of my players can say they played well today but he did ok filling in at left-back because he hasn’t played there all season.

“You felt we were building the pressure and that’s what I said, not every chance has to be a goal or every ball has to be a pass forward, just be patient.

“I thought we were getting in the game then and the next goal was crucial.  If we had made it one-all, I think we would’ve gone on to win it. It’s easy to say it now but the second goal sort of knocked the wind out of our sails a little bit and they managed the game well, they managed the game well from the 25th minute.”

Blackman added: “I remember then having a phase sort of early in the second half. We were strong enough to say ‘ok, let’s ride that out’.

“I can’t remember them having anything that caused us too many problems, if that makes sense, so although they had a phase in the game, I can’t really say I was on the edge of my seat worried.”

Ramsgate were hanging on for the opening 12 minutes but they snatched a second goal which killed off Chatham, timed at 18 minutes and 26 seconds.

It came from the Rams’ fourth corner of the game, which was floated in from the right by Stannard’s right-foot and Wheatley rose unmarked at the far post to power his header into the top far corner of the net, perfectly placed over Davisson on the line and within the stanchion to score his first goal of the season.

Blackman said: “We work an awful lot on set-pieces for those reasons, defensively and attacking wise and when it comes off like that, the importance of the day today, it makes it even sweeter if I’m honest.  It was a decent delivery, a superb header and I was pleased for the big man.

“He done really well. Wheat’s is a stalwart. He’s big, strong and when he’s on his game like that he’s an immense person to have, an immense centre half and I was pleased with him.

“I was also very pleased with all the young lads.  I thought Jacob Mensah was outstanding, young Jack Penny, across the whole back line defensively as a group we’ve performed very well.

“From an attacking aspect we probably deserved another goal or two.”

Collins said: “I thought it was poor all round defending wise! I’ve seen from the corner the amount of players where we asked them to be, weren’t where they should have been and the guy got a running jump and Ben Davisson on the line, I thought he should’ve done a little bit better!

“I actually think it was going wide, it looked like it was going wide to me.  Maybe it hit the stanchion, I thought Davo headed it in.  I thought it was poor defending from a corner.  The higher you go, set-pieces are relied on a little bit more. They’re a big side so we got punished there.”

Collins acted by bringing on wingers Michael Hagan and Louis Clark, putting Thompson in as a holding midfielder and moving Pilbeam inside the pitch beside Fitzgerald.

Ramsgate caught Chatham on the break and right-back Bedford picked up a booking for a last-man foul on Smith, after he was slid in by Jadama.  Stannard swept his right-footed free-kick high over the crossbar from 25-yards.

Both sides will need to work on their finishing as too many shots sailed over the crossbar, like Stannard’s left-footed attempt from 35-yards after linking up with Smith on the counter-attack.

Ramsgate managed the game well when two goals in front and Chatham’s goal came too late, timed two minutes and 31 seconds into stoppage time.

Mahoney played the ball down the line for Hagan, who used his pace to get past MacKenzie before whipping in a great teasing cross for Vines, who nipped in between the two centre halves to send his header bouncing past the diving Watkins from eight-yards.

Collins said: “I said give him three chances and he’ll score one. He had three today and he scored one.  Michael Hagan did ok when he came on.”

Blackman added: “I think it was the one-time MacKenzie got beat. I thought he was outstanding for 91 minutes or whatever it was. He just managed to get beat and it was a decent ball in. We’re all aware Vines pulls off back stick.  The delivery was spot on for him and the balance of our back line was good. He’s a proven goalscorer over the years Vinsey so it’s probably food and drink to him.”

Blackman screamed at Millbank to run to the corner but he ignored such pleas and tried his luck from 25-yards, the ball landing into Bradshaw’s midriff before referee Nick Dunn blew for time.

Ramsgate have scooped £2,890 for their win today, while Chatham Town will bank £3,210 from their FA Cup exploits this month.

“The prize money has gone up and it helps the club immensely but first win on the board, the boys showed an awful lot of character, which I was very, very pleased and impressed with and nice to see our name in the hat for the next round,” said Blackman.

“A home draw will be nice.  People always ask me about targets and things like that.  I think it’s very reliant on the draw as you know. Last year we drew a couple of sides a league or two below us and then all of a sudden we were thrown into arguably the toughest tie at the time, which was a National League South side at Chelmsford.  You are hoping you get something favourable but I think a home draw is probably the one you are always looking for.”

It’s back to the league for both club’s on Bank Holiday Monday, 27 August (15:00) as Ramsgate welcome newly-promoted Whitstable Town to Southwood Stadium.

Scott Porter’s side needed a replay to beat Deal Town in The FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round and beat Hounslow United 2-0 away today.  They lost their only league game to Cray Wanderers 2-0.

Blackman said: “I know Ports really well working with him.  We know what we’re up against. It was important for us confidence wise to get a result today.

“It’s a short period of time, those bank holiday’s, the boys are fit, they’re a good bunch. It will be a different challenge on Monday but we’ll do our work tomorrow.  The boys are professional enough (to look after themselves).  The challenge will be different on Monday but we’ll give it our best shot.”

Leaders Chatham Town travel to 12th placed side Hollands & Blair, who have a 50% record from their opening four league outings.

“We haven’t hit our target in The FA Cup, I wanted to get a big draw at home, I thought we were capable of doing that,” said Collins.

“If we had played well today we would’ve given us a good chance of going through.  That’s two games on the spin now that we’ve not played well.  We picked up a point against Punjab and lost 2-1 to a Bostik League side and limited them to not many chances really so that’s the disappointing thing.  Even if we were playing at half of the levels that we can reach, I think we would’ve won the last two games but everyone’s entitled to play not well now and again. 

“It’s slightly unfair that we should have to play especially when Hollands & Blair didn’t so you’re kind of penalised for doing well in The FA Cup but we’ve got to roll with it and try to get back to winning ways.

“I will imagine there will be a little bit of a crowd  there, they’re notorious of being good at home. The pitch will probably be a leveller so it’s going to be a tough game.

“We’ve started well and people want to beat teams that are doing well so every game is going to be hard for us so we have to try to pick ourselves up. We have to forget about this one now and move on to Monday.”

Ramsgate: Luke Watkins, Jake MacKenzie, Jack Penny, Tijan Jadama (Billy Munday 90), Luke Wheatley, Jacob Mensah, Tom Chapman, Charlie Dickens, Aaron Millbank, Rory Smith, Harry Stannard (Sam Lawford 86).
Subs: Kyron Lightfoot, Ethan Madden, Sam Munday, Adam Turton

Goals: Tom Chapman 7, Luke Wheatley 64

Booked: Tom Chapman 80

Chatham Town: Jack Bradshaw, Russell Bedford, Matt Parsons (Tom Fitzgerald 22), Jack Mahoney, Richard Avery, Reece Butler, Byron Walker (Michael Hagan 67), Jason Thompson, Paul Vines, Ben Davisson (Louis Clark 67), Jon Pilbeam.
Subs: Danny Grant, Alfie Spears, Eitel Goueth, Billy Brown

Goal: Paul Vines 90

Booked: Tom Fitzgerald 37, Russell Bedford 71

Attendance: 252
Referee: Mr Nick Dunn (Deal)
Assistants: Mr Christopher Cannon (Sandwich) & Mr Alex Wyatt (Folkestone)