Ramsgate find themselves in unchartered territory
RAMSGATE sealed their passage into the semi-finals of the Kent Senior Trophy following their 7-1 demolition of basement boys Lordswood on Saturday, writes Stephen McCartney.
Two goals a piece from former Dover Athletic
striker Shaun Welford and Mo Takaloo and even a penalty from their goalkeeper
Danny Twyman piled more misery on their Medway visitors' season.
Paul Piggott's side are still rooted to the foot of the Go Travel Kent League table with only nine points with fourteen games to go.
They find themselves six points adrift of Erith Town and Deal Town, who have both notched fifteen points from their league games this season.
It took fifteen minutes for Ramsgate to take the lead. Lordswood striker Scott Bucklen's 30-yard shot was put behind by Twyman but the home side broke away from the resulting corner and Shaun Brown reached the by-line before crossing low for Welford to stab home from five yards.
Takaloo, however, doubled their lead after 23 minutes when Ed Vahid ran from the halfway line and found the former Margate striker inside the box and he made no mistake from ten yards scoring past Scott Muttock.
In the 40th minute it became three when a needless foul 25-yards out saw Takaloo pick himself up and curl the resulting free kick around the wall and into the net.
Disaster struck for Lordswood before the interval when a fifteen man melee resulted in Gary Peck being sent off for allegedly kicking a Ramsgate player.
The second half was only four minutes old when Ramsgate increased their lead when a long ball down the right was latched onto by Aaron Robinson and after his shot crashed against the crossbar, Graham Taylor brought the ball under control before smashing it into the net from ten yards.
Ramsgate scored their fifth goal in the 67th minute when Vahid received the ball from a throw in, he went forward unchallenged and shot past Muttock from 25-yards.
Their sixth goal arrived in the 71st minute when Robinson was upended in the area and goalkeeper Twyman slotted the spot kick straight down the middle of the net.
Welford wrapped up their victory in the final nine minutes when he latched onto a through ball and slotted home past the Lords goalkeeper.
Lordswood, however, scored the best goal of the game two minutes later but brought muted celebrations from his team-mates when Bucklen's 30-yard lob found the back of the Rams net but the damage had already been done.
Ramsgate boss Jim Ward, however, was pleased his injury hit side secured their place in the last four.
"You've got to remember the squad I've got at Ramsgate haven't won anything - they haven't been in any semi-finals before.
"So for the players it's unchartered territory to be in the position they are in - we were right up for the game," said Ward.
The former Maidstone United manager praised former Dover Athletic striker two-goal hero Shaun Welford.
"He got his act together, he was superb on Saturday, he's got two goals and had a hand in two more."
Ward admitted he signed Welford because he wanted to release the burden on 22-goal striker Mo Takaloo.
Speaking about signing Welford, Ward added "We look like we've made the right move - I think he will get better,"
Ward, however, admitted he is pleased to be in the last four of the competition and they travel to Thamesmead Town on Saturday 3rd March for a place in the final, which will be against Beckenham Town or VCD Athletic, who clash at Eden Park Avenue.
"What we are doing now is putting the semi-final to one side," Ward said.
"There's a lot of water to go under the bridge until then - we've only played twelve league games.
"This is a massive week for us."
Ward's side travel to Whitstable Town on Tuesday before hosting surprise package Sporting Bengal United at Southwood next Saturday.
He added: "We have scored a lot of goals in the cup competitions this year but not so many in the league but we are just happy to be in the semi-finals.
"At the start of December, Whitstable were people's favourites to win the league and Bengal, of course, have been the surprise package."
Ward, however, revealed he will be missing four players due to injuries.
Midfielder Simon Pettit (ankle) has been out for eight weeks but Ward doesn't know how long midfielder Paul Downer will be out of action due to a strained back. Another midfielder, Jamie Winch is also out, as is goalkeeper Lee Pilcher.
"We've only got a thin squad, our bench yesterday was full of kids - it's the club we are so we just get on with it," Ward added.
But with such an experienced management team at the club, Ward is hoping his side can still be challenging for honours.
The Southwood Stadium club are in fourth place having played the least amount of games in the entire league, collecting 25 points from only 12 games played. Their only defeat was the 2-1 loss at Tunbridge Wells at the end of October.
They are also in the quarter-finals of the Kent League Premier Division Cup and travel to Sevenoaks Town on the first Saturday in February.
Ward said: "I said at the start of the season to be involved in as many things as you can after Christmas.
"You can't win anything before Christmas - now is the time you need to be fitter and have less suspensions.
"This is when mistakes are more costly - but now every game is a massive game for us.
"The management team's experience will come to the fore and help our younger lads along."
Whitstable Town v Ramsgate
Go Travel Kent League Premier Division
Tuesday 11th January 2005
Kick Off 7:45pm
at The Belmont, Belmont Road, Whitstable