Ward: We'll roll our sleeves up to go on another run (EXCLUSIVE)
This Ryman League Division One clash brought together two club’s that share the same nickname, but the Rams from Surrey were the ones celebrating at 5pm.
The last time Croydon Athletic suffered a league defeat was at home to Ramsgate on 13th December, when goals from Michael Yianni, Shaun Welford and David Cory brought all three points back to Kent.
The Surrey side are now 13 league games unbeaten, collecting 29 points in the process and ended Ramsgate’s 17-match unbeaten run.
Gary Bolger broke from just inside his own half and as Ramsgate’s defenders backed off, drove a 25-yard shot into James Plumley’s bottom left hand corner to stun the 300+ Southwood faithful with just five minutes left.
Ramsgate’s lead at the top of the table has been cut to just two points, after second placed Horsham defeated Tonbridge Angels courtesy of a late header from Tom Graves.
Reflecting on only their fourth league defeat of the season, Ward wasn’t complimentary of their victors.
He said: “They were boring. They just had so many players behind the ball. They didn’t deserve to score and had one shot during the whole game.”
But the Scot did praise Croydon Athletic’s goalkeeper Luke Garrard, whose clinched two successive “Safe Hands” awards from Ryman League officials.
”Their goalkeeper made two world class saves from two Shaun Welford headers – and their goal was a 25-yarder into the bottom corner.
”At the end of the day the runs gone. We go on another one.
”We ran out of ideas second half, they sat deep but you still wake up in the morning and look at the league table and it still looks ok.”
Ward will be demanding his side get back to winning ways when they entertain Banstead Athletic on Tuesday night, before the Kent derby at Cray Wanderers (at Hayes Lane, Bromley) on Saturday.
“I’m demanding three points,” he said of their next game. “The lads will be told to roll their sleeves up and just get on with it.”
But influential central defender, Ollie Schulz has been ruled out with suspected ankle ligament trouble.
“We’ve lost Ollie,” revealed Ward. “Just before they scored he took a knock on the ankle and fell over and twisted it at the same time.
”He had to go to hospital today (Sunday) and he’s got ankle ligament trouble.
”We’ve got ten games left and Banstead is the next one – all efforts are on that one.”
With Horsham hot on their heals, Ward reminded everyone what his club’s aim was at the start of their debut campaign in the Ryman League.
”The aim at the start of the season was top six,” he said. “We’d be very disappointed if we weren’t top six.
”That’s what the aim was. We’ve surprised ourselves being first and second, so we’ll get as many points as we can and see where it takes us.”
With nine points between the Thanet side and sixth placed Croydon Athletic, the Southwood Stadium outfit are guaranteed, at least, a place in the play-offs, unless something dramatic happens during their last ten league games.
Ward is, however, concerned with Ollie Schulz’s fitness. “I’m just worried about Ollie because he’s a major player for us,” he said.
”It’s early yet, like I say he’s gone into hospital today. He can’t put any weight on it at all and won’t play Tuesday.”
* If you can’t travel to Hayes Lane, Bromley on Saturday to watch the Kent derby at Cray Wanderers, www.kentishfootball.co.uk
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