Thursday 01st September 2005

Ramsgate earn themselves another lucrative cup game

Saturday 12th
November 2005
FA Trophy
Second Qualifying Round
Stephen McCartney reports from 
Southwood Stadium
Ramsgate 1 Shaun Welford 52
AFC Wimbledon 1 Richard Butler 57

Crowd disturbances marred Ramsgate's FA Trophy Second Qualifying Round tie with Ryman Premier League side AFC Wimbledon at Southwood Stadium today, writes Stephen McCartney.

AFC Wimbledon striker Richard Butler took only five minutes to cancel out Shaun Welford's eighth goal of the season, which earned the Rams a lucrative replay at Kingsmeadow on Tuesday night.

And both clubs will be aware which side they could face in the third and final qualifying round on 26th November, as the draw is made Monday lunchtime.

Jim Ward's side are going to relish their trip to a packed Kingsmeadow as they aim to add the biggest of their Premier League scalps this season.

The Thanet side have knocked out Southern Premier League outfit Northwood (4-2) away from home at the first stage of this competition.  

And they have beaten Walton & Hersham (1-0) and Cirencester Town (3-0) on their way to the first round proper of the FA Cup, when their glorious run was ended seven days ago, losing 2-0 at Nationwide Conference North outfit Nuneaton Borough.

And they so nearly stunned the hundreds of travelling supporters when they could have taken the lead after just 57 seconds.

Welford launched a long throw into the visitors penalty area, which was flicked on by Ollie Schulz, who had made a late run into the penalty area, but Steffan Ball was denied his eleventh goal of the season by goalkeeper Andy Little who made a fine block.

Butler issued the Kent side a warning after six minutes when his shot from close range rolled just wide of the foot of the post and New Zealand star Shane Smeltz headed over from close range three minutes later.

Good link up play down the left from Ramsgate's David Cory and Dean Hill - after Ben Laslett broke up a Dons' attack in midfield - saw Edd Vahid flash a header wide following Hill's cross.

More chances came the visitors way when, in the 21st minute, Chris Gell's low cross from the right found Barry Moore unmarked on the edge of the box, and after chesting the ball, his 20-yard drive flew wide.

And a minute later the former Lewes midfielder tested Rams' goalkeeper Danny Twyman, who dived to his right to claw out the right-footed free kick from 22-yards.

It took Ramsgate 39 minutes to register their first corner and Laslett's half-volley from 20-yards was wasteful after the ball came out to him following Steffan Ball's corner kick.

But Ramsgate were in heaven when they took the lead after 52 minutes.

Warren Schulz played the ball to Cory on the stand side and after getting the better of Moore he was denied by Little, who got down low to parry the shot.

But former Dover Athletic striker Welford was on hand to rifle the ball into the net from 12-yards.

Their joy, however, was short lived as Dwayne Plummer set up Richard Butler, who rifled a shot into the top left hand corner, coming off the unfortunate Ramsgate defender Edd Vahid.

Rams' top scorer Steffan Ball was inches away from winning his side a penalty when he was bundled over by Simon Sobihy after 67 minutes.

The free kick on the right hand side couldn't have been any closer to being a penalty.

Ball squared to Hill but his left footed 25-yarder from a central position blazed high over the bar.

Then a Gell volley from the edge of the box bounced off the pitch striking the Rams' goalkeeper on the chest but the home side survived.

And Ollie Schulz went close late on when his right-footed 25-yarder flashed wide of the post, but Ramsgate look forward to another exciting cup clash, that will earn them a few more bob.

"I made it they had five very good players, three decent players and I felt they gave us a chance," Ward told in the post-match press conference.

"I felt it was very level, both teams.  Neither goalkeeper had a lot to do.  It was down to set pieces.  Both teams had the long throw and that's what the game was (like).

"I said to my lads at half-time that's what it'll come down to, either down to a mistake or a wonder goal.  But I didn't see a wonder goal really.

"But it was all biting and scratching, doing the ugly things really - but we'll take it."

Ward, who heaped praise on skipper Mark Munday after the game, is relishing having the underdog tag for the replay.

"We'll go there Tuesday night, they'll be favourites and we'll give it a go," he said.  "But we've been to Kingstonian before and won there (2-0) in the FA Cup last year, so it will just be a good night."

And with the Rams playing in front of at least 5,000 fans in their past five games, Ward feels his side won't be overawed on Tuesday night.

"The last few weeks little old Ramsgate have been playing against crowds in the thousands all the time," he said.  "The crowd thing won't make a difference.  No doubt Wimbledon will be a bit more vociferous so, fair play, it will be great, good fun."

So can this side, who were playing Kent League football last season, go on and have a nice run in this competition?

Ward revealed his post-match inspiring team-talk.  "I said to the lads before the game: "Do we want to play anymore of these big games? 

"And everyone said yes.  I said: "Well, you've either get a draw here or beat them and that will do us."

Ramsgate's next Ryman League Division One game is next Saturday, 19th November, when Kent rivals Cray Wanderers are the visitors to Southwood Stadium.

Ian Jenkins' side are already in the hat for the draw.  They defeated Ryman Premier League side Staines Town (4-3) at Hayes Lane today.

Ramsgate: Danny Twyman, Edd Vahid, Dean Hill, Liam Morris, Ollie Schulz, Ben Laslett, Mark Munday (Capt), Warren Schulz, Shaun Welford, Steffan Ball (Shane Suter 79), David Cory (Stuart Vahid 79).  Subs: Michael Cassar, Michael Yianni, Simon Pettit.

AFC Wimbledon: Andy Little, Sonny Farr, Simon Sobihy, Anthony Howard, Steve Butler (Capt), Wayne Finnie, Chris Gell, Barry Moore, Richard Butler, Shane Smeltz, Dwayne Plummer.  Subs: Dave Sargent, Wes Daly, Niall Connery, Michael Harvey, Josh Lennie (GK)

Attendance: 1047
Referee: Mr Ian Crouch
Assistants: Mr Liam Walshe & Mr Tony Power