Joshua Ajayi’s double and Jordan Chiedozie’s penalty gave Ramsgate an eyebrow raising 3-0 win in their opening game of the season against a well fancied Cray Valley PM, on a sweltering afternoon at WW Martin Community Stadium.
Chidz converted a third minute penalty after TJ Jadama was bundle over by a clumsy Ali Tumkaya challenge. Ajayi scored his first soon on 54 minutes with a tremendous header from 12-yards before cutting in from the left and curling a low shot around Chris Lewington ten minutes later.
The frustrated Millers were reduced to 10 in the 74th when Barney Williams was dismissed following a cynical challenge as The Rams broke with pace in search for a fourth.
Spectators had barely left the comfort of the air-conditioned Corner Flag Bar when a chipped through ball was plucked out of the air by the chest of the leaping TJ on the very edge of the penalty area. Before he landed Tumkaya had flattened him and Nick Monkman immediately pointed to the spot. Chiedozie kept his cool and sent Lewington the wrong way.
Cray reset and enjoyed a good spell of possession without creating any real openings. That changed in the 14th minute when a thunderous Dan Bennett strike left Rams stopper Josh Bexon beaten, only for the underside of the crossbar to keep his clean-sheet intact as the ball cannoned down off the line and away. This was to be as close at the visitors came all afternoon.
With Steve Lovell’s men happy to allow The Millers possession, The Rams had to be careful of the ever-dangerous Denzel Gayle whose running both with and without the ball gave the host questions all afternoon. Having lost prolific forward Marcel Barrington in the summer, Cray had nobody to compliment the winger’s trickery and didn’t look like scoring.
The Rams were unfortunate not to get on the end of a number of brilliant crosses by Theo Osinfolarin, while the long throw of Jack Paxman, who worked tirelessly all afternoon, was also proving difficult to defend.
The final chance of the half was for the visitors when an Anthony Edgar freekick was well saved down to his left.
Ramsgate, kicking unnaturally towards The Manston End after the break, like in the first half were the quickest out of the blocks. Great play down the left resulted in a cross by Osinfolarin finding Ajayi unmarked who leapt like a salmon to power an unstoppable header in to the corner of the net.
The goal seemed to shake Cray a lot more than the first and their frustrations became evident as they conceded freekicks and possession more regularly. It was no surprise when Ajayi got his second of the game with a curved right foot finish from just in side the penalty area.
Man of the Match Jack Paxman unleashed a 30 yard piledriver that went wide off the post minutes later before the red card of William killed the game. With Denzelle Olopade leading a counterattack Williams made no attempt to play the ball and chopped down the midfielder and received his marching orders.
On a day where the temperature neared 30 degrees, the dismissal saw the tempo drop as both sides played out the remaining 15 minutes. Ajayi fired a free-kick just over the bar in search for a hat-trick with the game’s final chance.
The Rams turn their attention now to Sittingbourne on Tuesday, who were beaten 2-1 by Whitehawk today.
The next action at Southwood is on August 29th when Ramsgate entertain Hythe. We have details of the Bank Holiday bonanza coming in the next couple of days! Season tickets are still available to buy. See the link attached or see Rob on matchday.
Season Tickets – https://www.cognitoforms.com/RamsgateFC/seasonticket2223