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First Qualifying Round
|Martin Able reports from Kingsmeadow
|W Schulz 42, Vahid 90
K's knocked out by rampant Rams
Kingstonian were clearly pre-match favourites, as perhaps any Ryman League
Premier Division side should be when facing opponents from the Kent League,
Ramsgate were unbeaten in 11 games and had dispatched Lancing with a convincing
7-0 victory in the previous round of the competition.
The match started at a brisk place with much use being made of both wings, but it soon became clear that the Rams’ wide midfielders Shane Suter and Simon Pettit were more than equal to their Kingstonian counterparts, Liam Collins and Dean Lodge, in terms of both pace and tenacity.
The Ks’ usual playmaker, Giles Coke, was left trying to play the ball through the middle of the park as well as to the touchlines.
The centre ground was dominated by the Rams, however, with Ben Laslett and Warren Schulz frustrating the Ks’ attempts to push through the middle, and countering strongly to feed captain Mo Takalobighashi and Graham Taylor in front of the home side’s goal.
More chances fell to the Rams, however, and the Ks’ new ‘keeper Barry Marchena, replacing Lance Key who has joined Histon, was forced to make a number of fine saves from Takalobighashi, Taylor and Schulz, where as Lee Pilcher in the Ramsgate goal had much less to do behind the solid back four of Shaun Brown, Ollie Schulz, Edd Vahid and Michael Cassar.
Suter’s runs became more penetrating as the game progressed and, in addition to placing some fine crosses in the Kingstonian area, a thundering 25 yard volley called on ‘keeper Marchena to pull off a brilliant save to keep the scores level.
In what appeared to be an attempt to make more progress along the wings the Kingstonian manager switched Collins and Lodge, however this ploy was thwarted when Suter and Pettit also changed sides.
The Rams finally took the advantage in the 42nd minute, when Warren Schulz headed a Ben Laslett corner back in across the box and over the ‘keeper and the defence, giving the Rams a deserved 1-0 lead at the interval (although this could have been 2 or 3).
With the restart came
the expected onslaught from the Ks, with long balls forward seeming to be their
most likely method of getting through the staunch Ramsgate defence.
Their reward was an increasing number of corners as well as free kicks from just outside the Ramsgate area, however they still failed to score thanks in part to some brilliant saves by Pilcher.
Ramsgate still had the occasional break, but Mo Takalobighashi had to adapt to the role of a sole striker as Taylor dropped deeper into midfield. Kingstonian brought on tall centre-half Matt Bradford to try to deal with Takalobighashi, whilst the Ks’ player/manager Scott Steele came on himself in place of Lodge to add to their push from midfield.
In the 72nd minute Rams' boss Jim Ward made a double substitution, with Stuart Vahid and Liam Morris replacing Taylor and Suter.
Kingstonian again switched Collins and, with Ramsgate defending deeper and without Suter, he managed to start to penetrate the Rams’ left flank, although with robust work from Cassar and some excellent running and challenging by Edd Vahid the K's failed to gain any real advantage.
The K's did manage to hit the Ramsgate crossbar, when a headed ball bounced up in front of Pilcher, and Bradford also struck the post.
The Rams were also on target with their chances though, and might have added to their tally had it not been for Marchena, particularly when a run from midfield ended with a left-footed shot from Pettit, and when Takalobighashi turned two defenders to spin and volley from the edge of the area.
In the 86th minute Ward again adjusted the Rams’, with midfielder Vinny Woolford coming on to allow Stuart Vahid to replace Takalobighashi.
As the game moved towards its conclusion Ramsgate continued to break forward with Pettit, Warren Schulz and Woolford feeding the now lone striker Stuart Vahid, and in the 90th minute Vahid latched on to a defender’s header to beat the oncoming ‘keeper and grab Ramsgate’s clincher.
The assistant referee on the far side flagged for offside, thinking the ball came off Pettit’s head, however there were no claims for such from the Kingstonian defence and the referee was very well placed.
After a slight delay to unpick the pile of celebrating Ramsgate players, the Ks restarted for the final few minutes of the game but Ramsgate had clearly succeeded where Dover Athletic, Harrow Borough, Tonbridge Angels and Wealdstone have already failed this season.
Rams will be at home to Dulwich Hamlet of the Ryman League first division in the
next round of the FA Cup, to be played at the Southwood Stadium on Saturday 2nd
In the meantime, Ramsgate travel to Oxfordshire next Saturday (25th September) to face Wantage Town of the Hellenic League Premier Division in the FA Vase – should that match end in a draw the replay will be at the Southwood Stadium on Tuesday 28th September, 7.45pm kickoff.
Ramsgate: Lee Pilcher, Shaun Brown, Michael Cassar, Edd Vahid, Ollie Schulz, Ben Laslett, Shane Suter (Liam Morris), Warren Schulz, Graham Taylor (Stuart Vahid), Mo Takalobighashi (Vinny Woolford), Simon Pettit. Subs not used: Aaron Robinson and Gavin Smyth.