Off the field the balance of power in the Thanet football world has shifted strongly towards the Rams over the last couple of years and this was finally rewarded on the pitch with a strong 2-1 win for the ten-man Rams.
Pre match manager Steve Lovell was adamant that preparations for the start of the season were more important than a one-off pre-season match although fans may have disagreed!
“It’s been a good week or so with wins against Herne Bay, Dover and Margate, most importantly we have been consistent. The boys have done well with the changes to the system and I am hoping we get a squad together that allows us to change that system throughout the season when necessary with personnel and if we can keep everybody fit.”
The Rams went into the match missing several key players but Lovell is pleased that strength in depth and the unity in the squad are his sides biggest strengths;
“The squad is taking shape and despite several players missing through various reasons it shows the depth of the squad and still perform to a standard we expect. That is the most pleasing thing.”
And so it proved on the field, with the Rams dominating territory albeit without looking that likely to break the deadlock;
“I thought the boys played very well against another side higher up in the football pyramid. I think we controlled the game in large parts and were unlucky not to take a lead into half time. Second half we came out and scored two early goals and never looked in danger until the sending off.”
It wasn’t until the twenty minute mark Jordon Chiedozie found himself with space and time in the box but squared the boy across the goal nearly picking out Josh for a tap in. The Rams were looking more threatening now and in the 25th minute broke the offside trap with new boy Theo Osinfolarinnarrowly missing after lobbing the onrushing gate keeper. In the 30th minute Margate registered their first attempt on goal with McCann firing wide but the Rams finished the half the stronger with Josh Ajayi beating a couple players and firing just wide.
The game sparked into life just after half time when a neat run and cross by Josh Ajayi was turned into his own net by hard working ex Ram Harvey Smith. The Rams were rampant now and both Chidz and TJ had great headed chances to double the advantage. Which is exactly what happened in the 66th minute when the move of the match saw the Rams go two up with fantastic interplay between Paxman, Ajayi and Redwood setting up Chidz tap home at the second attempt. Supporters of the side in red were eagerly anticipating the flood gates to open at this point but, as good as his word, Steve used this an opportunity to bring on a couple of youngsters and trialists whilst making positional changes to a number of players. Shortly after, Emptage who had enjoyed a solid performance in the back three went in to a strong fifty fifty high on the right wing and was shown a red card. This put Margate in the ascendancy and with ten minutes remaining Bessey-Saldanha scored with an excellent finish to set up a frantic finale that had a real derby game feel. This spilled over in the 88th minute with red cards for Margate’s Oluwasemo and rather harshly for Rams skipper Jamie Coyle. Ultimately, the Rams saw the game out and lifted the trophy.
It capped a great week for Ramsgate fans beating Herne Bay, Dover and Margate in the space of seven days but Lovell wasn’t getting carried away and will use the next two weeks to work hard on the training ground ahead of the season opener.
“We are still looking at bringing one or two in to give us a bit more strength in depth especially if we end up losing a couple of boys. There is competition for places currently and that is pleasing from my point of view. It has been a good pre-season, but it is just that, we have to make sure we get ready and are ready to go when the season kicks off on the 13th against Cray.”
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