Thursday 01st September 2005

It's the battle of the Rams in next round

Saturday 27th
August 2005

FA Cup
Preliminary Round

Aaron Ayres reporting



Vernon 35 (pen)



Welford 20,
Suter 46, 49
Cory 85

Merstham got the game under way, and for the first five minutes both teams seemed lively enough, writes Aaron Ayres.

The home side had to make a change however when, on seven minutes, centre-forward David Smith picked up a leg injury and was replaced by Darren Brown.

A few minutes later a freekick by Michael Cassar reached Steffan Ball , who beat Gary Donovan down the right wing, but his right-foot volley went just over.

The game seemed to be settling into a pattern that favoured the visitors, although a high cross by Shane Suter gave Dean Hill little chance to control, allowing Rhod Davies to break and shoot, although it went well wide of Danny Twyman’s goal.

The Rams finally took the lead in the 20th minute, when another run down the wing by Ball ended with a superb cross that Shaun Welford headed home.

Five minutes later a great run by Suter put Ball through 1-on-1 with ‘keeper Colin Harris, but Harris just got to the ball first. A few minutes later the Rams had yet another chance, when Warren Schulz turned and volleyed in the area, but Harris just managed to tip the ball over at full stretch.

On 35 minutes Merstham had worked a good ball down the right, when the cross hit Cassar’s hand as he closed to challenge. The referee did not see it as ball-to-hand however, and Craig Vernon made no mistake with the resulting penalty to level the score.

The Rams continued to look the stronger side and on 39 minutes a long throw by Simon Pettit reached Suter on the edge of the box, his left-foot volley being denied by another fine save by Harris.

A couple of minutes later Ball was clearly shoved after beating the defender into Merstham’s area, but Suter’s freekick was tipped over the bar.

Merstham nearly caused an upset three minutes into stoppage time, however, when a clear handball by Davies was ignored by the referee and the Merstham number 10 was allowed to continue down the left wing. This wrong-footed the usually solid Ramsgate defence, and Davies’ cross went unchallenged across the Rams’ goal, beyond the reach of Twyman, but hooked up over the bar by substitute Brown from only a couple of yards out.

At the interval, Michael Yianni replaced the injured Dean Hill, and Ramsgate kicked off the second half with renewed vigour. With his first touch Yianni surged forward and, resisting three clear fouls where the referee sensibly decided to play the advantage, laid the ball back to Mark Munday, whose cross was met with a driving shot by Suter to give the Rams the lead again within a minute of the restart.

Within three minutes the Rams extended their lead when a flick-on header from Welford was forwarded by Ball to Suter, whose half-volley gave Harris no chance.

Merstham continued to battle however, and in the 53rd minute their 3rd corner in quick succession finally cracked the staunch defending of Liam Morris and Ollie Schulz, and came out to Vernon on the edge of the area, who did well to find Davies, although he put the ball over Twyman’s goal.

Within a minute Davies conceded a free kick in the Ramsgate area when he followed-through on Twyman who had thwarted a Merstham attack and had gathered the ball, leaving the Ramsgate ‘keeper on the ground for a few minutes.

Ramsgate again started to dominate again, and on 62 minutes a cross by Suter found Munday’s head, but the ball went just over the crossbar. The Rams kept the pressure up, and within a minute Welford had again beaten two defenders but his shot went just outside the post.

In the 65th minute a challenge by Merstham’s Jamel Carr sent Morris to the ground just outside Ramsgate’s area, but the referee gave the decision to the home team. The opportunity was wasted, however, when Carr’s free kick went well clear over the bar.

Within a minute Suter nearly secured a hat-trick with another volley, following good build-up play by Ball and Welford.

With 12 minutes remaining, Ramsgate made a double substitution, with David Cory replacing Welford and Ben Laslett replacing Warren Schulz.

Suter nearly added to his tally again when Yianni picked up the ball in the middle of the park and switched it to Suter on the left, whose right-footed lob beat Harris but just missed the top far corner.

Merstham had another good chance in the 80th minute, when a good run by Davies saw him through on Twyman, who stood up well and parried Davies’ volley at point-blank range, and also managed to beat Davies to the loose ball, which he smothered.

Ramsgate completed the scoreline in the closing minutes when an Ollie Schulz goal kick was flicked on by Ball to Cory, who fired the ball home decisively for the Rams’ fourth.

Ramsgate will travel to Croydon Athletic - also nicknamed the Rams - in the first qualifying round on Saturday 10th September.  The Surrey side beat Redhill 4-2 on Saturday.

Ramsgate: Twyman, Hill (Yianni 35), Cassar, Morris, O Schulz, Munday, Suter, W Schulz (Laslett 78), Welford (Cory 78), Ball,  Pettit. Subs:  Vahid, Wild.