Wednesday 07th September 2005

Ward relishing Ram Raid


Ramsgate boss Jim Ward admits his side go to fellow Ryman League Division One rivals Croydon Athletic as under-dogs in Saturday's FA Cup First Qualifying Round tie in Thornton Heath, writes Stephen McCartney.

In what is billed as "The Battle of the Rams," as both club's share the same nickname, Ward, whose side comfortably beat Merstham 4-1 in the preliminary round two weeks ago, are enjoying life in the Ryman League.

His side thrashed Whyteleafe 5-1 at Southwood Stadium last Saturday and the Thanet side are in fourth place behind Cray Wanderers, Dover Athletic and Tonbridge Angels.  Our other Kent side in that league, Ashford Town, however, are rock bottom.

"If you offer me Cray's position of sixth last year, I'd take it," Ward said in an EXCLUSIVE interview with www.kentishfootball.co.uk.

"Top six is our target and I'm hoping we are still in that position after Christmas."

Before their trip to Mayfields, however, Ramsgate hosted another Ryman League First Division side in Newport IOW at Southwood Stadium in the Westview Cup, but Ward saw his side go out of the competition, losing 2-1.

And speaking about their FA Cup tie against Hayden Bird's side, Ward added: "They are one spot behind us in the league and we go to their place so that makes them favourites.

"I know a bit about them - and the same with Newport IOW - both teams are having good runs.

"We are allright.  Every game is an adventure for us.  It's the best dressing room for us, the lads are very enthusiastic."

However, former Sittingbourne defender Dean Hill will be missing between three to four weeks due to a stomach and groin strain.  "Which is a blow as he's one of our best players," added the Scot.

And former Maidstone United striker, Richard Sinden has been released and has joined Kentish Observer League side Hythe Town.

"He wasn't getting in so it's a bit of a gentlemen's agreement," said Ward. 

"He didn't leave here under a cloud and he's there with my blessing."

Croydon Athletic v Ramsgate
FA Cup First Qualifying Round
Saturday 10th September 2005
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Mayfields, off Mayfield Road, Thornton Heath, Surrey