Thursday 03rd February 2005

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Rams have more injuries for Sevenoaks cup clash

RAMSGATE boss Jim Ward revealed his goalkeeper Danny Twyman is rated 50/50 to take to the field at Sevenoaks Town, writes Stephen McCartney.

The goalkeeper has got "a big lump on the back of his neck" following the much publicised Jimmy Strouts incident in the 89th minute of their convincing 5-1 win against Maidstone United at Bourne Park last Saturday.

Already injury hit, including goalkeeper Lee Pilcher whose ruled out for the rest of the season, Ward said: "We've got a couple more players carrying knocks from Saturday.

"We've got Stuart Vahid (bad knock on knee), Mo Takaloo (two badly bruised calves), Shaun Welford (tight hamstring) and Shane Suter (badly bruised ankle) out."

Ward, however, added he was concerned with Liam Morris' injury, saying the player had stud marks from his chest to his neck.  He added: "We've got all those knocks by feigning injuries", taking a swipe at comments made by Stones fans on internet message boards following the game.

Ward admitted changing his team's formation to a three man midfield meant the Stones had no chance to win their midfield battles.

He said: "We set our stall out early.  For the first time this year we reverted to three men in midfield, which I think out battled them a little bit.

"We won the main battles in the middle of the park."

The former Maidstone United boss stuck up for Strouts.

"It was a typical Kent League game," Ward said.

"I think Maidstone were fed on raw meet, they had a man booked after only 30 seconds.

"It's all over the place that Liam Morris feigned injury like he went down like a sack of spuds.  But as I said earlier, he has stud marks from his chest to his neck to prove he didn't.

"The game was bigger for them than it was for us.  We beat them convincingly in the cup a couple of weeks ago and they knew they had to win to keep their championship hopes alive.

"We came out deserved winners, no doubt.

"Our character and our passing abilities and strength was there for everybody to see."

The Scotsman added: "To be fair to Jimmy Strouts, he went in strong but he's entitled to.  I'm not disputing that for a minute.  Jimmy's done nothing wrong.  Danny (Twyman) has gone down and he shouldn't have bothered."

Ward doesn't blame referee Ian Cooper about the farcical situation after the goalkeeper took over 30 minutes to leave the field to receive hospital treatment.  Both sets of players, with some Stones players already in the bar, resorted to kicking the ball around the centre circle to play out the final minute of the game and stoppage time.

Ward said: "It wasn't the referee's fault.  I put the blame on the Kent League officials and all the Kent League clubs.

"There is no ruling to get the points.  When I won the league with Ramsgate exactly the same thing happened.

"We were beating Whitstable 3-1 with 15 minutes to go and the game got abandoned and blow and behold we never got the points and we had to play them again.

"We got beaten 2-0 in the second game.  It was raining heavily in the first game and it was 0-0 at half time at Ramsgate and with 15 minutes to go the referee decided - we were winning 3-1 at the time - to abandon the game and the conditions were no different then from when the game started.

"I knew the league rules, even though it was 5-1 with a minute to go - they (Kent League) couldn't give us the points.

"The referee or the league officials knew there had to be a Kent League committee meeting and Maidstone certainly would have had an argument.

"I'm saying there would have been a meeting and I am not certain what the outcome would be.

"I would like to think common sense would prevail but I am not 100% certain.

"A lot of leagues have a 70 minute ruling - perhaps the Kent League should have a look at this?

"The Kent League were embarrassed with what happened on Saturday.

"All I can say is from my point of view, the referee handled the situation perfectly according to all the rules - I think he did a fine job."

The Rams are second in the table, three points behind Herne Bay but they do have two games in hand over their East Kent rivals.  Both sides, however, are involved in League Cup quarter-final ties with Jason Lillis - manager of the month - hosting Tunbridge Wells.

The other ties are between local rivals Slade Green and Thamesmead Town at The Small Glen and Hythe Town playing Maidstone United at Reachfields.

Ward added: "I am looking to win.  A lot of my lads haven't got experience at playing in semi-finals and finals so if we can beat Sevenoaks it will be a chance for my lads to get a big day out - home and away - against one of the big teams in the league."

Meanwhile, Gary Davies and Julian Leigh, who were both members of John James' management team, take charge of their first game following James' recent resignation.

They have had two reserve team games to look at players ahead of Ramsgate's visit but Davies, 36, has used his extensive list of contacts to pull in new players to bolster their squad.

Left sided player Simon Christou has signed from Cray Wanderers and they have signed central midfielder David Rose from Beckenham Town.  Both players cannot play as they aren't signed in time, although Rose is already cup-tied.

Another midfielder has signed from Croydon and Davies identified a Southern League experienced player will make his debut for the club when they make the trip to North Dane Way to clash with VCD Athletic next Tuesday.

Davies, whose coaching experience has taken in Fisher Athletic, Bromley, Greenwich Borough and Beckenham Town, is relishing managing alongside Leigh at Greatness Park.

The Beckenham based blonde haired joint-manager said: "We've got some new players in and we are up and running for Saturday.

"We are looking forward to the game and everything is in place.

"The players are 110% committed to the club until the end of the season, at least.

"We are going into the game in a positive manner and hopefully we will climb the table, starting with Tuesday's trip to VCD.

"With the players we've got we are more than capable.

"Julian and myself have the full backing of the board and the players at Sevenoaks Town Football Club."

Sevenoaks Town v Ramsgate
Saturday 5th February 2005
Go Travel Kent League Premier Division Cup Quarter-Final
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Greatness Park, Mill Lane, Seal Road, Sevenoaks