Thursday 01st September 2005

Ward hails his "pub team from Thanet"

Saturday 10th
December 2005
Ryman League
Division One
Stephen McCartney reports from
The Homelands
Ashford Town 0  
Ramsgate 3 Shaun Welford 40,83
Steffan Ball 87

Ramsgate climbed up one place into fifth in the Ryman League Division One table with a 3-0 victory in front of Ashford Town's highest league turn out of the season at The Homelands today, writes Stephen McCartney.

Ashford, meanwhile, drop one spot and have only Newport IOW and Corinthian-Casuals below them in the table, having played more games than their rivals. 

All three sides have collected 14 points but Ashford's worrying statistic show they have not scored in eleven games this season, have kept only one clean sheet - although big Dave Wietecha, 31, has added some experience in goal - and they must find a prolific striker to convert their chances.

Someone like Shaun Welford or Steffan Ball will do nicely.  Welford's two goals today takes his tally to eleven for the season, and substitute Ball has scored one more.

Jamie Smith's sending off after 73 minutes dented Ashford's chances of getting back into the game, having been booked for dissent earlier in the game.

After some good quick passing down the left hand side, Shane Suter played in Welford but he dragged his shot from 15-yards wide of the far post after 11 minutes.

Ramsgate had a couple of attempts to head Ian Ross' free kick from the right and Ashford's central defender Mark Banks' headed wide.

And at the other end, Michael Yianni squared the ball for Edd Vahid, whose shot went straight at Wietecha from the edge of the box on the right hand side.

Good attacking play from the home side saw Gary Clarke spray the ball to Emmanuel Sackey and he played the ball upfield for Shaun Bradshaw, whose left-footed 25-yarder flashed wide.

Simon Pettit's ball over the top was latched onto by Welford but his angled drive from the right was acrobatically plucked out of the air by the former Bromley and Folkestone Invicta shot stopper.

Bradshaw, with only four goals to his name, burst down the left hand side and his low centre carved open a chance for midfielder Richard Boorman but his 16-yard shot took a deflection as it sailed over.

But the Rams opened the scoring five minutes before the break when skipper Mark Munday's through ball was latched onto by Welford and with only the goalkeeper to beat, slotted home from 16-yards.

Ashford, meanwhile, almost equalised early in the second half in controversial circumstances when Solomon Henry's shot rolled to Twyman as play was allowed to continue although Suter was left in a heap further up the field.

Ashford, however, enjoyed a good ten minute spell but Joby Thorogood squandered three good chances.

Henry picked up the ball in midfield on the left, nut-megged Liam Morris and raced towards goal.  The 22-year-old stroked the ball to top scorer (six goals) Joby Thorogood, and although he got his shot on target, Twyman turned the ball around the post.

Then a minute later, he should have scored, when he received the ball from Emmanuel Sackey but with his second touch, shot straight at the goalkeeper.

And he squandered his third chance on 61 minutes, when his angled drive from the right hand side bounced off the crossbar.

But Smith's red-card dented Ashford's chances of getting something from the game.

Ramsgate substitute Steffan Ball was denied by a breathtaking goal-line clearance from Ashford stalwart Ross, but two goals in a devastating four-minute spell secured the win.

With only Wietecha to beat, Welford coolly fired across the goalkeeper and into the far corner, and with three minutes left, Ball smashed his shot into the top left hand corner from 25-yards.

And as the jubilant Rams players celebrated their win, a chorus of "We're just a pub team in Thanet", could be heard coming from the visitors dressing room, but manager Jim Ward is happy with that tag.

"In an EXCLUSIVE interview with www.kentishfootball.co.uk, the delighted Scot admitted: "A pub team from Thanet? That's what we are!

"They're young lads, most of the lads I've got playing for me I've taken out of Sunday football.

"They've all played for the Sunday morning teams.  That's what we are - a pub team in Thanet."

Reflecting on their tenth league win of the season, he said: "Well, I felt we won the first half comfortably.  Over the ninety minutes we were by far the better side."

And he praised former Dover Athletic striker Welford, by saying: "What a game he's had!  He was head and shoulders the best player on the park.

"And that guy that plays number four for them, Tom Adlington, he's a really, really good player and he said to me after the game, "God, he (Welford) ran me ragged."  Like I say, he's certainly Ashford's best player.

"But we're pleased.  We've come here, a difficult place to come to get three points and we've got them."

Ward, who was without the Schulz brothers, Ollie and Warren, Dean Hill and Ben Laslett, takes his side to Croydon Athletic on Tuesday night, expecting another tough time against Brian Sparrow's men

He said: "We now look forward to Croydon Athletic on Tuesday night and it'll be difficult.

"I think they are the best team we've played against this year.  I know they've lost their manager (Hayden Bird) and all that and sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad but we're ok.  It was a big three points for us today."

Ashford, meanwhile, are in a precarious position and have only 23 games to climb away from the drop zone or they could be playing Kent League football next season.

"We put a lot of pressure on them second half," said manager Tim Thorogood.  "Baring in mind the first minute when they had half a chance, other than that we dominated the next 25-30 minutes."

He admitted Jamie Smith's sending off was a crucial moment in this Kent derby.

"We were struggling to get a goal," he said.  "When you've not got eleven players and your chasing the game it's difficult.

"As soon as we conceded the extra player our heads went down a little bit and to be fair 3-0 completely flattered them."

But finding a prolific striker must be Ashford's priority before they take to the field at Molesey in seven days time.

"All our games are important," Thorogood admitted.  "We need to get a result, a bit of joy and a bit of luck.

"There's no doubting there's a lack of confidence in our forwards.  Like today we've probably had eight or nine decent chances and we either snatched at the shots or held onto the ball too long and at the moment getting the goals is hard work.

"That's two games in a row without getting a goal but we are just lacking a bit of confidence really."

Grafter, Joby Thorogood, would be able to add to his six-goal tally if he played alongside a big target man, who'll win balls in the air for the 20-year-old slender forward to latch onto.

"Joby probably had four or five chances today," said the owner.  "He's hit the target on everyone and the goalkeeper's saved it.

"Other times, other games that doesn't happen but that's a little bit of lingering on the ball as he's trying to be precise because we know how important it is to get that result.

"I can't fault him for his effort, it was top class but unfortunately we could do with him scoring a goal.

"The same for Shaun Bradshaw," the frustrated Thorogood added.  "I felt he had a good game again today.  But the forwards have played well. 

"In fact the whole team have been excellent the last four games (where they've picked up just two points).  We just haven't got what we deserved."

Ashford Town: Dave Wietecha, Jamie Smith, Ian Ross (Capt), Tom Adlington, Mark Banks, Richard Boorman, Emmanuel Sackey, Gary Clarke, Joby Thorogood, Shaun Bradshaw, Solomon Henry.  Subs: Steve Humphrey, Anthony Pace, Kenny Karrett-Elliott, Denver Birmingham, Sean Glover (GK)

Sent off: Jamie Smith 73

Ramsgate: Danny Twyman, Edd Vahid, James Gregory, Liam Morris, Mark Munday (Capt), Simon Pettit, Micahel Yianni (Lee Minshull 68), Sam Denly (Steffan Ball 62), Shaun Welford, David Cory, Shane Suter (Stuart Vahid 56).  Subs: Michael Cassar, Jurgen Wild (GK)

Attendance: 241
Referee: Mr Rob Smith (Croydon)
Assistants: Mr James Garrett & Mr Alan Marshall