Sunday 18th September 2005

Rams put in official approach for Bay defender Lloyd

Ramsgate boss Jim Ward comes face to face with two Southall's this week - with Neville Southall's Hastings United visiting Southwood Stadium in the Ryman League on Tuesday night, and Combined Counties League side Southall visiting in the FA Cup second qualifying round on Saturday, writes Stephen McCartney.

The Rams - enjoying their first season in the league - climbed up to second in the table following a comfortable 2-0 win at Molesey yesterday.

"They had a bit of the play in the first half and we deservedly took the lead just before half-time," reflected the Scot in an EXCLUSIVE interview with www.kentishfootball.co.uk

"We came out second half and it was men against boys.  We just overpowered them and created endless opportunities but it was a good, solid performance, especially in the second half."

Ward, however, isn't shouting from the rooftops about his side's progress during their first five league games.  Not yet, anyway.

The Rams have lost just once in the league (2-1 at league leaders Tonbridge Angels on August Bank Holiday Monday), and have collected 12 points, with Dover Athletic, Horsham and Cray Wanderers following behind on the same points tally.

"We're delighted, but we know what the big picture is," he said.  "At the moment we are enjoying ourselves.  We are in the cups and doing well in the league.  But if we are still in the position at Christmas it certainly gives us more to think about."

Taking one game at a time.  How many times have we heard that from football managers?  "There's too many good teams in this league to be complacent so we keep preparing ourselves properly, finish one game and look forward to the next," Ward said.

"We try to do as much homework against the teams we play, patch up the walking wounded and on a good day hope you get the run of the ball."

Whilst speaking to www.kentishfootball.co.uk, Ward and his chairman, Richard Lawson, were driving back from Yeading's ground in west London, having seen Southall's FA Vase clash with Wroxham.  The score? Well, Wroxham were leading 3-1 when the pair left the Warren with 15 minutes left to play!

"I don't think we've ever met them before, but funnily enough I know a few of their players," revealed the former Maidstone United manager.

"A few of their lads have played in the Kent League before, but it makes us favourites so we will prepare again and see what happens."

But before the Rams' taste FA Cup action - with progress into the third qualifying round on the cards - Hastings United visit Southwood on Tuesday night, in what is a "six-pointer" according to Ward.

"Hastings have the same form as us, but we've played one more game than them and we've both lost one league game," he said.

"If we can take the opportunity of taking points of them - they are three points behind us - it will be a step forward for us and one back for them."

Former Sittingbourne defender Dean Hill, however, is still "a few more weeks" away from returning from injury.

But Ward did reveal the club has put in a seven day approach for Herne Bay's central defender Steven Lloyd, and hopes Ryman League football will entice him to Southwood.

"We are allright everywhere (on the pitch) but we just need a bit more cover at the back," admitted Ward.

"He was probably one of the best centre halves in the Kent League last year, but we can offer him Ryman League football - that's the excitement of it all.

"The Ryman League is just a better grade of football than the Kent League, and everyone at the club is loving it.

"It's easy to keep people happy when you are second in the league."

Having watched their FA Cup opponents, Ward revealed: "They have something about them as before today they played nine and won nine.

"They are very much a confidence team.  When it's going well for them they push on but we are quite strong on the pitch, but being in the Ryman League makes us favorites, but it's the FA Cup isn't it?"

Ramsgate on the end of a giantkilling? Well, we hope not, but Ward warned: "It could be for them but they are playing against a Ryman League team that's (at the) top of the league.  We would rather have someone from the Combined Counties League than the Ryman Premier."

Ramsgate v Hastings United
Ryman League Division One
Tuesday 20th September 2005
Kick Off 7:45pm
at Southwood Stadium, Prices Avenue, Ramsgate