I think you could see the gulf in the levels was a bridge too far for us, says proud Ramsgate head coach Lloyd Blackman

Sunday 07th October 2018

RAMSGATE head coach Lloyd Blackman says he was feeling proud of his players after their FA Cup run was ended by Hemel Hempstead Town yesterday.

The Rams reached the Third Qualifying Round but found the Vanarama National League South side just too good for them as they went down to a 5-0 defeat at Vauxhall Road.

“We just come up against a better side,” admitted Blackman.  “There’s no qualms, they’re a really good side and I think you could see the gulf in the levels was a bridge too far for us.

“We had lots of key players out and over reflection we were against a better side.

“We hoped to catch them on a bad day and we didn’t perform the way as we can do and the mixture of these things, the better side won and you hold your hands up. It’s disappointing but generally it was always going to be a tough ask.”

Hemel Hempstead put in a professional performance against a Ramsgate side that play a couple of levels lower and avoided a cup upset as they book their place in tomorrow’s final qualifying round draw.

“They started really brightly. We looked to catch them cold and hoped they would maybe get a bit complacent but you could tell after five minutes they were really on their toes and perhaps maybe could have gone 1-0 up before they did,” said Blackman.

“We couldn’t really get to grips for the first 15 minutes and by the time they went two goals up, at half-time in particular, we were hoping to give them a bit of a shock first 15 minutes.  We came out second half and performed a bit better but they were in a position to be able to control the game, which they did.

“I said to the players afterwards, you can’t be too disappointed.  I think the players felt they could’ve made a good account of themselves on the day as they would have liked but they’ve done themselves and the club really, really proud, really, really proud.

“It was a really good cup run. They’ve worked themselves into the ground, even the last five minutes when the game’s 5-0, they’re still giving themselves, the team and the club their all and I’m very proud of them.”

Blackman has promised enforced changes for Tuesday night’s home tie against Whitstable Town in the Velocity Trophy First Round tie at Southwood Stadium.

“We’re light at the moment. We had six out for The FA Cup game with injuries so I’ll be assessing the squad to see how we are,” said Blackman.

“They’ll be a couple of changes as there are still players nursing injuries.

“It’s important and we said this on the coach on the way back and we have to use this as a motivation to not rest on our laurels and to make sure we continue to push on and the Velocity Trophy gives us a great opportunity to do that.

“We add in The FA Trophy on Saturday so the games do continue to come thick and fast and we have to use this as a motivation to push ourselves on even further and the character within the group, they’re strong enough to not let this disappointment not affect them.”

Ramsgate are in FA Trophy action when they travel to Phoenix Sports in the Preliminary Round on Saturday.

Their hosts are in third-place in the Bostik South East Division table with 16 points from nine games, while Ramsgate sit in eleventh-place with 10 points from eight league outings.

“They’re a good side, aren’t they? They had a good result yesterday against Whyteleafe as well. There’s no easy games. The games come think and fast, they have done for us over the last three or four weeks really.  There’s no quicker game to come back into it on Tuesday and heading into that Trophy game on Saturday.

“We’ll assess the squad over the week and prepare ourselves over the week for that tough fixture.”

The Rams are five points clear of bottom-of-the-table side Herne Bay and five-points adrift of fifth-placed Whyteleafe, who came away from Phoenix Sports with a point in a 2-2 draw yesterday with Jack Barry scoring late on to deny them the win.

“We could have been better,” admitted Blackman.

“We’ve done ok results wise. It’s just all off a sudden a little banana skin we had at (home to) Herne Bay (losing 5-4), which was the hangover from the Gosport game and a game we should have won.

“You think to yourself that should be another three points for us and all off a sudden we’re sitting just outside the play-offs.

“It can change. There’s give points between us and Herne Bay and then there’s five points between us and the play-offs.

“We’ll continue to get the best results we can, work and continue to build. It’s a really close league and there’s no gimmies in this league.  Look at the result yesterday, Three Bridges beat Ashford at Ashford and there are no teams this year that we say that are weaker and cut adrift like there was last season.

“It’s started as a tough campaign and we’ve got some good results and we hope we can build on it.”

Visit Ramsgate’s website:  www.ramsgate-fc.co.uk

Ramsgate  v  Whitstable Town
Velocity Trophy First Round
Tuesday 9 October 2018
Kick Off 7:45pm
at Southwood Stadium, Prices Avenue, Ramsgate, Kent CT
11 0AN