Monday 20th December 2004

The Kent Website
Supporting Kentish Football

Rams treat festive break as another pre-season

RAMSGATE manager Jim Ward revealed his squad will be training six times over the Christmas break as the Southwood Stadium outfit finished 2004 perfectly poised in third place in the Go Travel Kent League premier division table, writes Stephen McCartney.

Their next game is on Saturday 8th January at home to Lordswood in the quarter-finals of the Kent Senior Trophy - the side they needed two late goals to beat in the league on Saturday.

Ramsgate almost took the lead after seven minutes when a corner to the near post was half cleared to the edge of the penalty area and Ollie Schulz saw his shot pushed over the bar by Lordswood goalkeeper Scott Muttock.

The Rams continued to dominate the bottom of the table side, with the visitors on the back foot but Muttock frustrated former Margate striker Mo Takaloo, pushing his shot around the post.

Five minutes later, Muttock denied Takaloo again and Lordswood were happy to go into the break with the score level at 0-0.

Lordswood, however, came out well early in the second half and Grant Gallagher and Andy Doerr hassled the Rams defence and Doerr delivered a dangerous looking cross, which evaded everyone.

Ollie Schulz headed against the Lords crossbar after 51 minutes following a long throw into the penalty area.

At the other end, following a corner, Paul Brown's header went just past the post.

In the 66th minute, however, Shane Suter's free kick on the edge of the visitors penalty area found Warren Schulz but his header was off target.

A minute later, Cassar's cross caused the Lordswood goalkeeper to back peddle and push it over the crossbar.

With twenty minutes to go, Ramsgate should have taken the lead when a cross into the penalty area found Warren Schulz at the far post but he blasted over the bar when left unmarked eight yards out with only the goalkeeper to beat.

Battling Lordswood were on course for a point but Rams scored twice in stoppage time.

A long throw into the Lords penalty area was punched clear by Muttock but only as far as Warren Schulz on the edge of the penalty area .  He chipped the ball back over the goalkeeper and into the net to break Lordswood's hearts.

Lordswood pushed forward to try to grab a late equaliser but they were undone on the break. Takaloo found the back of the net from a 25-yard free kick to seal the points for Ramsgate.

Rams' Scottish manager Ward said: "We left it late, we scored in the 92nd and 94th minutes in a game we completely dominated.

"We told the lads at half-time to just be patient and it will happen.

"I would preferred if it happened a lot earlier."

Sitting in third place in the table, with just one defeat (2-1 at Tunbridge Wells) in 12 league games, Ramsgate are only three points off top spot.

However, the former Maidstone United manager has played down his title hopes - for the time being at least.

He said: "We just sit in third place in the league, in two quarter-finals in the cups, but it's too early to start making noises about winning anything, but we are ok."

With 5 players carrying knocks, Ward is pleased that the Kent League shuts down over the festive period - there are only three league games over this time - but with six training sessions planned, the players won't be putting their feet up, stuffing themselves with turkey.

"I am glad we haven't got a game," he said.

"I am treating this period as a pre-season.

"We will train six times over this period so when it comes to the 8th January we will be ready again and it will be like starting a new season."

Lordswood, however, will be looking for revenge when the two sides clash again next month.

(Many thanks to Darrell Harman of Lordswood FC for the match report)