Horsham 2 Ramsgate 1 - Ward: I'm pleased for Horsham but we'll go up with you!
Jamie Taylor 4
Carl Rook 90
Warren Schulz 33
Stephen McCartney reports from the Atspeed Stadium, Queen Street
Ryman League Division One
Ramsgate goalkeeper Jurgen Wild admitted the mood in the camp was “sombre” after losing their fifth league game of the season in the top of the table clash at Horsham today.
Former Dover Athletic striker Carl Rook’s dramatic diving header from six-yards from Lee Carney’s cross from the right, flew into the top left hand corner to give the Hornets a deserved victory, which closed the gap on the Thanet side to just two points - with a game in hand.
The 32-year-old goalkeeper had made a couple of excellent saves to deny Gary Charman twice from headers, which were heading towards the far corner, and when Rook’s right-footed 30-yard drive flew agonisingly against the right upright, with Wild rooted to the spot, three minutes from time, Ramsgate felt they had done enough to grab a point.
Having used their allocation of three substitutes, Ramsgate were forced to play with ten men for the final 16 minutes (which includes stoppage time) when right-back Edd Vahid was taken off due to concussion.
But as the game went 256 seconds into stoppage time, the majority of the 707 crowd - Horsham’s second highest of the season - were celebrating when Rook, who scored three goals for Dover Athletic earlier in the season having joined them from Hastings United, broke Rams hearts with his seventh goal in the amber and Lincoln green of Horsham.
Earlier, Horsham opened the scoring from their first shot on goal inside the opening four minutes.
Mark Hawthorne’s free kick from inside his own half was flicked on by Charman into the path of Jamie Taylor and the prolific striker scored his 25th goal of the season, stroking the ball across Wild and into the far corner from 12 yards.
Ramsgate’s top scorer, Shaun Welford, who was snuffed out by the Horsham defence throughout the second half, almost scored his 24th goal of the season after 16 minutes, but his shot from the edge of the penalty area dropped just wide.
This sparked a good spell for the Thanet side and Michael Yianni hooked a shot just wide from 16-yards and Stuart Vahid saw his cross-come-shot from 40-yards out on the right, tipped over by the back peddling Hornets goalkeeper, Rob Frankland.
But Ramsgate deservedly drew level from the resulting corner after 33 minutes.
Yianni’s corner was met by a bullet header from skipper Warren Schulz, which flew into the top left hand corner to score his 8th goal of the season - one more than his brother Ollie.
But the introduction of Carney just before the break gave the Sussex side the impetus to close the five point gap to just two.
However, Ramsgate’s only chance of the second half came within five minutes of the restart, when substitute Simon Pettit brought Warren Schulz pass under control with his chest and drove a shot wide from 19-yards.
Time to sit back and admire a very talented side. Full-back Nigel Brake waited for Hawthorne to go on the overlap and whip in a superb cross from the left, which flew across goal and Rook was unable to turn the ball in.
Charman was first denied by Wild after 62 minutes when his glancing header from eight-yards was clawed around the post by the diving goalkeeper.
A minute later though he was beaten when Rook’s looping header dropped into the far corner - but the goal was ruled out for offside and Horsham’s passionate celebrations were put on hold.
Charman’s 78th minute header was superbly turned around the post by Wild and once again the cross came from the impressive Carney out on the right.
Rook couldn’t stretch far enough to turn in Tom Graves’ low centre from the right and the ball spun out for a goal-kick.
And after Rook struck the right post with his long-range shot, and scored a dramatic late winner, it left Ramsgate boss Jim Ward to admire his victors.
“I’m pleased for Horsham, a lovely family club, well run and John Maggs and Tom Warrilow both run it very well,” he said.
“I know exactly what their up to - their a football team. There’s a lot of teams in this league that are not football teams. We’d like to think we’re a football team, we like to get it down and pass and it must have been a great sceptical for the unbiased.”
The Scot, though, wouldn’t mind Horsham winning the league, just as long his side are promoted into the Ryman Premier League alongside them.
“We only need nine points to definitely be promoted. I would take that at this moment in time,” he said. “They can have the league title if they want. We’ll get promoted I’m not worried about that.”
But Ward was disappointed that his side didn’t collect at least a point.
“The game should have been finished in the first half,” he said. “We had enough chances in the first half to win it.
“The wind was a bit of a spoiler, blowing right down the pitch. Helped us in the first half and helped them in the second.
“But I suppose at the end of the day a draw would have been a fair result but they’ve nicked it in the 94th minute.”
He was, however, pleased with the standard of the football played - between two very good sides that deserve to get promoted together.
Ward added: “Some great stuff played. I’ve just said to my boys in there, don’t be disappointed. We knew how they play, they get the ball down and wide and deliver quality crosses.
“They had a lot of deliveries into the box second half and Jurgen made a couple of great saves to keep them out.
“We’ve got five games left, whatever happens we do from start to finish together - that’s what the club is.”
Horsham: Rob Frankland, Tom Graves, Nigel Brake, Eddie French (Capt), Andy Howard, Mark Hawthorne, Andy Walker (Lee Carney 42), John Westcott (Ian Payne 65), Jamie Taylor, Carl Rook, Gary Charman.
Subs: Dominik Hudak, Florain Mateos, Gary Elliott.
Ramsgate: Jurgen Wild, Edd Vahid, James Gregory, Liam Morris, Dean Hill, Ben Laslett, Michael Yianni (David Cory 64), Warren Schulz (Capt), Shaun Welford, Shane Suter (Ollie Schulz 74), Stuart Vahid (Simon Pettit 50).
Subs: Mark Munday, Danny Twyman.
Referee: Mr Chris Salt
Assistants: Mr Mark Ford & Mr John Ryan