Erith & Belvedere 0-5 Ramsgate - The easiest thing for me to do would've been to walk away - but my character tells me I want to make sure that we stay at this level of football, says Erith & Belvedere boss Matt Longhurst

Sunday 17th December 2023
Erith & Belvedere 0 – 5 Ramsgate
Location Park View Road, Welling, Kent DA16 1SY
Kickoff 17/12/2023 15:00

Isthmian League South East Division
Sunday 17 December 2023
Stephen McCartney reports from Park View Road

RESILIENT Erith & Belvedere manager Matt Longhurst insists he will not throw the towel in and will not walk away after extending their winless run to 12 games after suffering a second-half capitulation against champions-elect Ramsgate.


The big-spending Rams moved three points clear of Three Bridges at the top of the Isthmian League South East Division table on 37 points (12 wins, one draw and an opening day defeat), after scoring four goals in a ruthless 15 minute spell at Park View Road.

Erith & Belvedere remain second-from-bottom with nine points (two wins, three draws and 10 defeats), a point clear of Beckenham Town and just one point adrift of safety.

However, the statistic of scoring only seven league goals this season is a concern – three players on Ramsgate’s substitutes bench have scored more goals between them (nine) than the home side put together.

Ramsgate had to wait until the 32nd minute to score their first goal through Tijan Jadama’s controversial poked finish from close range, before the floodgates opened in the final 22 minutes, as substitute winger Benedict Bioletti came off the bench to make an impact.

The Rams doubled their lead when Jadama’s near-post flick bounced off Erith & Belvedere striker Marcus Elliott and crossed the line for an own-goal, before winger Jadama flicked in his side’s third goal following Bioletti’s drive.

Talisman striker Joe Taylor had to wait until the 76th minute to notch his 28th goal of the season, before Sinn’Kaye Christie came off the bench to slot in at right-back to knock the ball in from very close range at the back post to wrap things up.

“I would say that was another learning day for our young players,” said Longhurst.

“You have to give credit to Ramsgate. They’ve got an unbelievable good team, a good squad but I felt at nil-nil and one-nil, I thought we was more in the game.  I thought we were ok for 60 minutes and then with a young group we kind of capitulated.

“I thought some of the goals we gave away was just soft but I’m desperately trying not being hard on the players because they’re so young and are playing against an extremely good team.

“Should it be a 5-0 game? I’m not convinced. I’m not convinced it should be but when they’ve got the likes of Tijan Jadama, Joe Taylor, Paxman and Jordan Green and Lee Martin and Michael West, you have to give great credit to them.

“The team they have built there is beyond the level, hence why they are where they are in the league and the run to The FA Cup Second Round and FA Trophy First Round.

“I’m pleased for our young players. It’s a great experience for them playing in Step Four football firstly and secondly, the players you’re coming up against. It’s a really great learning experience for them, just as long as they take that learning away.

“We know that we’re in a mini-league with six or seven other teams. We’re not going to compete with the likes of Ramsgate. I think it’s a harsh scoreline but you have to take that on the chin because ultimately they have taken their chances, so you can’t take that away from them, but it’s a harsh lesson on our young players.”

Ramsgate manager Ben Smith said: “A thoroughly professional job.  I say professional, we stuck to our guns throughout the game.  I thought we controlled large, large periods of the game.

“All the time it’s close, they’ve got a little bit to fight for haven’t they and as soon as we got a couple, it just opened up.  It took us long enough to open it up.  There were a few chances that we didn’t take. As soon as we got two, the game’s done.

“They gave me that default performance, that’s what they’ve been doing all year.  When you’re playing sides lower down the table you need that default performance and if we’ve got players at sevens and eights we’ll win games of football and that’s what we had today.

“I thought the spine of the team was really good.  They just kept going, kept moving the ball and we just tired them and as soon as one goes in, the game opens up and suddenly they can’t get closer to us and it’s a matter of time.”

Since a 1-1 home draw against Chichester City four weeks ago, Erith & Belvedere have leaked 15 goals in their last three games, having lost to Three Bridges (1-6) and Sheppey United (0-4), while Ramsgate goalkeeper Tom Hadler has only conceded nine league goals this season.

“We have the ball most of the game,” explained Smith.  “You’re less likely to concede aren’t you.  There will be games when we do concede, there will be some games when we have to outscore someone.

“It’s very nice to get these clean-sheets and long may that continue but I think that work-rate, even at 5-0, you see bodies getting back to keep a clean-sheet.  I can never question my players’ work-rate, even when the game is done.”

However, Erith & Belvedere belied their lowly league position during a very promising first-half performance against the big-hitters.

Longhurst said: “I agree.  We’ve only had this group, we trained yesterday and that’s the first time that a lot of those players have played together as a team and you’re playing against a team that’s been together since the summer and are also top of the league.

“I generally felt that tactically we got it really spot on in the first half and even early in the second half.” 

Ramsgate were to have the first chance of the game, with four minutes and 58 seconds on the clock.

Jack Parter rolled the ball back to Hadler, who launched a big kick straight down the middle.  The ball was flicked on by Taylor (as centre-half Billy French rose behind him), before the ball fell to Jadama, who unleashed a right-footed angled drive across the diving goalkeeper and just past the far post from 22-yards.

Smith said: “We had some nice little combination play.  Jordan’s (Perrin) pulled off a couple of saves. It’s a sign of things to come. It’s good signs that TJ (Jadama) is getting in the box and playing off JT (Taylor).  It’s what we want. We didn’t have enough off it in the first-half.  Second half we did.”

Hadler was called into making a fine save to prevent Erith & Belvedere taking an eleventh minute lead.

Parter’s attempted short pass towards holding midfielder Lee Martin was intercepted by Cameron Andrews, the attacking midfielder who is on loan from National League South side Welling United.

Andrews played a 20-yard pass to winger Josh Ajayi, the former Ramsgate man drilling a powerful right-footed 35-yarder towards the roof of the net, forcing Hadler to use his outstretched right-hand to push the ball over his crossbar.

“We’ve conceded more goals in two games than Tom Hadler’s conceded all season, so that tells it’s own story,” said Longhurst.

“We’ve just got to be better in the final third.  When you’re playing against the likes of Ramsgate – we spoke about it at training yesterday – you’ve got to be cut-throat.  You’re not going to get 15-20 chances, you might get three or four and you’ve got to ask a little bit more of a question of them.”

Smith added: “Most keepers are troubled by that but it’s got to be something very special from there to beat Tom and I think had it been a lesser keeper I think he’s struggling because it’s a fantastic strike.

“Josh is a fantastic player. I know things haven’t happened for him over the last 12-16 months but he’s a fantastic player and if he gets it right on and off the pitch, he’s someone who can go far.”

Ajayi ignored over-lapping left-back Makhosini Ryan-Khanye and cut into space on the left but his 25-yard shot bounced once and was comfortably gathered by the Ramsgate goalkeeper.

Ramsgate were more direct in their approach play and a long diagonal found left-winger Alfie Paxman, who played the ball into Taylor, who had his back to goal, before a short reverse pass played in Alfie Paxman, who fizzed a low cross towards the back post where right-winger Jordan Green lashed his first time shot over the crossbar from 15-yards.

Ramsgate’s attacking midfielder Michael West whipped in a free-kick from the right and Taylor sliced his shot across the goal at the back post for Craig Stone, but the angle was too narrow and the former Hastings United centre-half rifled his shot past the near post.

Ramsgate then enjoyed a spell of dominant pressure but their finishing was off the mark, with left-back Parter cracking his left-footed drive just over the crossbar from 20-yards after the home side cleared away Martin’s cross.

“We had a few chances. It’s one of those where you’ve got to stay patient.  I’ve had teams before where you can lose your heads and you leave the door open at the other end for them,” said Smith.

“The old saying, ‘you should never lose a game trying to win it.’  I think we’ve got the balance right. We limited them towards the second half of the first half. It just kept coming back on them.

“Craig Stone and Alfie Young are two of the best players on a football, two of the best ball playing centre-halves in the league.  They’ve just going to keep swallowing it up.”

Ramsgate’s pressure finally paid off, taking the lead with 31 minutes and 34 seconds on the clock.

Parter and Alfie Paxman were a threat with their link up play down the left but Parter switched the ball over to the right for Jordan Green, whose pace easily took him past Erith & Belvedere’s left-back Ryan-Khanye.

Green whipped in a cross towards the back post and Jadama’s right-footed drive was parried by Jordan Perrin at his near post but Jadama pounced on the loose ball and poked the ball over the line with the goalkeeper attempting to smother the ball low to his left on his goal-line.

“It’s a great save on the line. At that point when I saw him save it, I’m thinking, ‘it’s never going in,’ but on hand following it in, doing what all good players should do in that situation,” said Smith.

“I thought they couldn’t live with Greenie down that side.  Any time Greenie got it on a one-v-one, I mean the lad (Ryan-Khanye) didn’t have the pace on him. He caused them a lot of problems.”

Longhurst said: “It’s a good bit of play from Jordan Green. It comes to the far stick and Jordan (Perrin) makes a really good save.  The boys are adamant that he’s got two hands om the ball, so it will be interesting to watch it back. If he does then we go in nil-nil at half-time.

“They’re going to have moments because they’ve got good players but I thought we limited them to not too many chances.

“I don’t know without looking back at it, but I would suggest first half we probably had as many final third entries with good possession as they did but ultimately you’ve got people like TJ arriving in the box.

“We spoke about it yesterday and worked on it, he’s got a hat-trick today arriving in the box and I’m delighted for him because I brought him back to Ramsgate, I think we paid Whitstable two grand for him and now he’s flying there and he’s a house hold name there.

“We could sit here all night talking about what we have and haven’t done or what we can and can’t do.  We know where we are, we know where they are. We’re not on a level playing field with Ramsgate and I don’t begrudge them that for a second.

“I’m not moaning about that for one second. I’m pleased for them. It’s a good club, they’ve taken off, they’re going to go off into the Isthmian Premier and I would imagine they’re going to do what Chatham have done this year (in second-place five points behind leaders Hornchurch, beating them 2-0 at home yesterday) and go and take that by storm.

“They’ve got great support and they’ve got more fans in our ground than we have and that tells it’s own story where we are as a club right at this moment in time.

“That’s not a hard luck story. That is the difference between what they’re doing at the moment and what we’re doing and we’ve got a lot of catching up to do to remain at Step Four.”

The home side responded by hitting a long diagonal over to debutant right-winger Simon Gyimaha and the former VCD Athletic man cut inside before unleashing a rasping drive towards goal from 25-yards, forcing Hadler to raise both of his hands to push the ball over his crossbar.

“I think Simon, who came in today, who we signed from VCD and he’s been at Sevenoaks, I thought his contribution was good but he blew up after 60-65 minutes,” added Longhurst.

Martin – who sat in front of the Ramsgate back four – was often not pressed by the home side as he played the ball forward – while Stone often launched long balls out of defence.

Martin (who counts Manchester United as one of his former clubs) almost doubled his side’s lead in the 40th minute, following the fourth of 10 Ramsgate corners.

Alfie Paxman floated the ball in from the right towards the back post, which was knocked down by Stone and with his back to goal, Martin’s speculative over-head kick flashed across the keeper and past the far post from 12-yards.

Attacking midfielder Andrews was a bright spark for the home side in the first-half and he almost caught out Hadler when he tried to score from 45-yards, the ball bouncing past the right-hand post after the goalkeeper slipped inside his penalty area.

“A good effort.  There was probably a pass on that he could’ve played but you don’t mind that,” said Longhurst, who wants his players to score more goals and improve on their awful tally of seven goals in 15 league outings.

“We need him (Andrews) to open more doors for us.  He needs to start finding them passes and open a few more doors for us.

“We’ve got to find a way of scoring goals. Unfortunately, we don’t have the budget to be able to bring any players in. What I’ve got is what I’ve got. I’m desperate to try to find a bit of a needle in a haystack somewhere and try to find someone who’s going to come here and get me 20 goals until the end of the season but who that is, I don’t know.

“Marucs Elliott is Marcus Elliott. He does what he does for us. Josh Ajayi, it’s just not happening for him.”

Smith revealed he was impressed by Andrews.

“I thought he was a bright spark for them.  Obviously Josh Ajayi is the star in their team, if you like. I thought the seven (Andrews), all of their good stuff came from him. He’s a young lad, he’s got a pretty good future ahead of him.  I thought he was decent,”

Erith & Belvedere put in a very promising first-half performance and both managers were asked their thoughts going down the steps into the dressing rooms.

Longhurst said: “I thought we had openings against them.  The first half was quite an even game. If you would’ve stopped that game at half-time, everyone would’ve said ‘cor, what a good performance, you probably should’ve come away with something,’ but unfortunately we don’t play until half-time and I have to remain upbeat.

“I just said that I wanted them to actually believe they can play against Ramsgate.  We just needed to believe a little bit more.

“I felt Josh Ajayi, Cameron Andrews and Marcus Elliott lacked a little bit of conviction….

“I knew what we were coming into today. I was looking forward to the game today.  I get excited by these bigger games.  You want to test yourself against these type of players and these type of teams and I feel that we did that in the first half.  The players took on board the instruction at training yesterday.”

Smith added: “Very warm dressing room by the way, it was like a furness in there!

“I said we need a little bit more movement in the final third. I felt we were a little bit playing in lines.  We needed a threat in behind. I felt we were feet, feet, feet and a little threat in behind to just open the game up and I felt we had that in abundance in the second half and it just opened especially when the game’s getting tight.”

The home side started to press more in the attacking third at the start of the second half and this method brought a half-chance inside the opening seven minutes.

Central midfielder Lee Lewis pounced on West down the left touchline before cutting inside and curling his shot towards goal from 25-yards, which was comfortably gathered by Hadler.

Smith said: “Same as any level when you’re playing against a good side, your chances are going to be few and far between and it’s normally a lapse in concentration or maybe nicking the ball when they do get the press right and that was one they nicked.

“We reduced them to chances outside the area. It’s a game of football. Teams are going to have something aren’t they?”

Erith & Belvedere deserved something from the game at this point – but they couldn’t live with Ramsgate as soon as they upped it after the hour-mark.

West played a free-kick down the line for Parter, who played the ball inside to Alfie Paxman and his left-footed angled drive was beaten away by Perrin at his near-post.

Smith said: “A great strike. Paxman and Parts combine so well down that side. It’s strange, there’s no blistering pace out the two of them but they’re very good together.  They’re probably under-rated in that final third what they do, really well-worked and Alfie’s in a fine vein of form. It was a good strike and Jordan’s hard to do well to save it.”

Longhurst added: “A good save. I feel for Jordan at the moment.  He’s conceded 15 goals in three games and he hasn’t really done a lot wrong but it’s a tough season for him but he’s been here (since the start of the season) and he’s stuck it out and great credit to him and he’s made a couple of good saves today as well.”

It was no surprise when Ramsgate deservedly doubled their lead with 21 minutes and 56 seconds on the clock, following a right-wing flag-kick.

Alfie Paxman swung in their ninth corner, an unmarked Jadama flicked the ball on at the far post which was heading across the face of goal rather than towards it, and the ball bounced off Elliott at the near-post and crossed the line, with Deres’ right-back Leo Vowles positioned beside the near-post.

“TJ’s been close quite a lot recently actually so it’s pleasing he’s getting back on the scoresheet from those set-pieces because he’s a real threat. He’s someone you want on the end of things in the six-yard box,” said Smith.

Longhurst said: “I don’t think it’s good enough defensively. You’ve got to defend that better. He can’t get in between there like that.  This is avoidable.

“As good as Ramsgate are, you then can’t give them a goal like that and I felt from that point onwards we got worse and we didn’t manage our emotions on the pitch well enough. We didn’t manage the game well enough.”

Smith had the luxury of replacing Parter for Bioletti in the 72nd minute and the winger played a major part in dominant Ramsgate’s third goal (29:03).

West played a free-kick in from the right, Green teased Vowles and Ryan-Khanye and slipped over before keeping the ball before whipping in a cross towards the edge of the box.

The unmarked Bioletti hit a left-footed drive towards the bottom left-hand corner from 20-yards, but Jidama flicked his first-time volley there instead and Bioletti pointed at his team-mate as the pair celebrated the goal.

“Benny came on, a good strike and TJ’s in the right-place at the right time to flick one in,” said Smith.

“Benny’s the first one to turn round to say it’s TJ’s goal.   You want that. Benny came on and gave us great impact. He’s incredibly unlucky not to be starting a game of football at the minute. He’s been very good for us and his moment will come. He’s been really good for us.”

Longhurst added: “Jordan Green is on the ground at one point and we’ve let him get back up with the ball. We’ve got to deal with that.  They’re the moments that I’m disappointed with. I’m happy with a lot of it but I’m disappointed because those two goals are avoidable.”

Erith & Belvedere then capitulated as Ramsgate notched their fourth goal just 97 seconds later.

Erith & Belvedere’s holding midfielder Jack Palmby gave the ball away in midfield, Green released Jadama, who played the ball into Taylor inside the box, who swept a left-footed shot on the turn through a crowd of players and across Perrin to find the bottom left-hand corner from 10-yards.

Erith & Belvedere centre-half Rob Strachan did a resilient job to keep Taylor in his pocket for most of the game.

“I think he threatened to do that a couple of times in the first half and I think he sort of was passing it off to players in the first half and second half he just rolled him and it was a great finish,” said Smith, who was then asked about Taylor’s goalscoring tally going into Christmas.

“It’s what you expect from him. He could’ve had a few more actually but it’s what you expect and he’s got to keep that going, if we’re going to do well.

“He’ll be the first to say the team are wearing opposition down to open the gaps for him.”

Longhurst said: “Jack Palmby gives the ball away for no reason – that’s avoidable – so as good as they are and let’s take nothing away from them, they’re good and ruthless and you’re going to get punished if you make those mistakes.

“That’s the naivety and they’ve got to learn and that’s what I spoke to them about after the game.  They’re learning against very good players.

“If you make that mistake, potentially, against one of the teams around us, you get away with it.  You ain’t going to get away with that against Joe Taylor and Lee Martin and Michael West and TJ – you’re not going to get away with that.”

Clinical Ramsgate scored their fifth goal with 37 minutes and 5 seconds on the clock.

Taylor turned provider and released the outstanding Jadama through on goal but his shot was parried by Perrin.  Alfie Paxman then hung the ball towards the back post where Christie knocked the ball in from very close range.

“It was a great ball in wasn’t it? It looked like it was going straight in. A little chip to the back post and Sinn’kaye’s just come on at right-back, a big, towering centre-half flying in there. He done a great job,” said Smith.

Longhurst pointed the finger of blame to substitute left-winger Khemani Aiyanyo, who failed to track his runner and is currently on trial at a local Championship club.

“He needs to be on the back post with him and he’s not there and that is what we said when we’re bringing on people. People need to come into the system and understand it,” said Longhurst.

“Khemani’s on trial at Millwall so he didn’t train with us yesterday, so I brought him into the squad today because Millwall are here watching him, so I could’ve left him out but I felt it was the right thing for the kid’s progression and an opportunity for them to watch him in senior football so you’ve got to do the right thing for the player as well.

“It’s very frustrating because there’s so many things that are avoidable in that game that make that scoreline look a lot worse than what the actual game would’ve told itself.”

Erith & Belvedere squandered a glorious chance to score a late consolation (38:47).

Christie’s poor back pass was intercepted by Andrews, who cut in from the left and lacked composure inside the box and hit his left-footed shot past the left-hand post from 12-yards.

Ramsgate boss Smith said: “I was pleased we just stuck to our task. We’re not just going to turn up and just walk through a team and score goals.  You have to work hard for a win, no matter who you’re playing, no matter what situation they’ve got going on here, that’s not our problem that they’ve had money pulled on them and all that sort of stuff.

“For us, it just shows what a good club we’re at that we’re stable and we’re run properly but Matt’s got a young group of players there. I don’t think they’re a bad side that the league table and form are showing, I don’t.  It won’t take them long to get some points.”

When asked about being top of the tree at Christmas, Smith, whose side are now unbeaten in their last 12 league outings, replied: “We’ve rode a road bump for a long time in the league. Day one was our road bump.

“We’ve just got to keep going. At some point there will be a road bump and it’s about mentality and desire to get back on the horse quickly so we’ll just keep moving.

“No game at this time of the season is critical. You can’t win a league at this time of the season. You can’t lose a league this time of the season. You just have to keep going, one game at a time.”

This is the eighth-tier of English football – yet Ramsgate are paying their players a lot of money to win promotion at the end of this season.

Paul Springett revealed last month that his manager Micky Collins paid him £40 per week when Erith & Belvedere claimed the Kent League title back in 2013 and now he is co-chairman of the club alongside his wife Amy and the landscape has certainly changed and gone are the days on part-time footballers on such wages.

“Everyone wanted to talk about Ramsgate and the budget and all that sort of stuff. There’s other clubs in the league that have got good budgets as well so it feels like we’re playing the best version of every team we’re playing against and it probably is because they’re coming with a point to prove, etc,” explained Smith.

“I’m not going to say ‘it’s a cup final,’ we’re not Man City are we, let’s be honest. Let’s not get too carried away.  It’s not a cup final for teams but teams are coming to us and they want to get a scalp as I would in anyone else’s shoes.

“We’ve got players in the dressing room with a lot of experience and we don’t get carried away.  We don’t take things for more than what they are.”

Smith was keen to praise the work that Longhurst put in during his time in full-time charge of Ramsgate.

“I will give credit to Matt.  Matt was a part of starting things, it’s just hasn’t happened overnight. I’m not naïve enough or arrogant enough to think that.  This started two or three years ago. What we’ve done so far this year has accelerated it.

“We’re getting 700’s on a cold midweek in December.  Normally that’s when you get you’re 200’s-300’s. Some club’s are getting 300-400 on a Saturday. We won’t drop below one thousand on a Saturday now for the rest of the season, which shows you the size of the club and that when people talk about the budgets and stuff, that is exactly why we can have a good budget because we are factually the biggest club in this league. We should have the biggest budget.”

Erith & Belvedere face a relegation six-pointer when bottom-four side Littlehampton Town visit Park View Road on Wednesday night and are three points clear (12 points, three wins, three draws and seven defeats).

“That’s a massive game now.  Their team sheet doesn’t look like Ramsgate’s, that’s a fact.  Now does that make it any easier? No.  But you’re on a bit of a more level playing field.  Littlehampton is a whole different ball game.

“We need to win, we need to score and we need to win.  I’ve seen enough today against a very, very talented Ramsgate team, I’ve seen enough that we have enough.

“Wednesday night is an opportunity to go and get three points.  If we’re sitting here without points after that game, do we throw the towel in? No.  We just carry on going but I’m confident on Wednesday we can go and get something from the game.”

Longhurst insists he is not going to walk away, despite the well-publicised budget cuts and poor run of form.

“The easiest thing for me to do would’ve been to walk away and there’s a lot of people who would’ve walked away.  That’s the easy thing to do but I’m looking at it – as a manager am I going to have to go through this again at another club? Potentially.

“We can get through it because things happen at non-league football, budgets go, money disappears, there’s no money left. 

“We can’t sign players, we’ve got to play young players.  I’ve managed this club for nearly 150 games now across three periods. It’s 10-15 minutes from my house, my character tells me I want to make sure that we stay at this level of football.  What happens beyond that is what can happen in terms of building the club but now I’ve managed to get the group, which is now at a sustainable level for the club’s resources.

“We don’t have to lose anyone, which is what I wanted to get it to. That’s why I was so adamant on staying and getting to a stage where it is a group that can actually be here and now you can get on the training ground a couple of times a week and actually work with the players and get a togetherness. 

“We’re in pre-season playing Ramsgate in the league for points – that’s where we are.

“It’s a real tough job but if I left 20-30 people would’ve applied for this job.  It’s tough but look there’s loads of people on the outside that wanted us to fail, not do well but that’s part and parcel of the game.

“Staying up will be the biggest achievement I’ve made.” 

Littlehampton suffered a 6-0 home defeat to Sheppey United in their last outing on Tuesday 12 December, while Herne Bay beat Horndean 4-3 at Winch’s Field at the weekend and Steve Lovell’s side go into Christmas in seventh-place with 24 points (six wins, six draws and three defeats), three points adrift of the play-offs.

Three Bridges (34 points from 16 games), Sittingbourne (31 points from 31 games), Sheppey United (28 points from 17 games) and unbeaten Cray Valley (27 points from 11 games) are also in the promotion hunt.

Smith, meanwhile,  welcomes his old club Herne Bay to Prices Avenue on Boxing Day, Tuesday 26 December (15:00).

“Steve and Mark (Lovell) have done a good job down there. Yes, it’s another game. We’ve had the return, Lovell against his former club, me against my former club. That’s done. That’s out of the way now, it’s just another fixture,” said Smith, whose side won 2-1 at Herne Bay back in August.

“The majority of their fans gave me a little bit of stick, of course, that’s what’s going to happen in non-league football, especially local football but it was all in good spirit, so I’m looking forward to the game.

“Herne Bay are a very dangerous side, it’s going to be a good game of football and that’s what we want on Boxing Day, a great game of football and everyone to go home happy.”

Erith & Belvedere: Jordan Perrin, Leo Vowles, Makhosini Ryan-Khanye, Jack Palmby, Rob Strachan, Billy French, Josh Ajayi (Khemani Aiyanyo 75), Lee Lewis, Marcus Elliott (Mack Reilly 83), Cameron Andrews, Simon Gyimaha (Jeddiah Brown 68).
Subs: Ernie Cheeseman, Kallen Donaldson

Booked: Billy French 45, Makhosini Ryan-Khanye 90

Ramsgate: Tom Hadler, Jack Paxman (Sinn’kaye Christie 80), Jack Parter (Benedict Bioletti 72), Lee Martin, Craig Stone, Alfie Young, Alfie Paxman, Tijan Jadama, Joe Taylor, Michael West, Jordan Green (Bode Anidugbe 80).
Subs: Joe Ellul, Freddie Oliver

Goals: Tijan Jadama 32, 75, Marcus Elliott 68 (own goal), Joe Taylor 76, Sinn’Kaye Christie 83

Booked: Jordan Green 44

Attendance: 190
Referee: Mr Tolu Sangowawa
Assistants: Mr Freddie Young & Mr Thomas Nicholls