Kane Rowland’s injury time wonder strike sealed a 3-1 win for Ramsgate away at Faversham Town to stretch their lead at the top of isthmian Division One South East to three points.
TJ Jadama opened the scoring with a well taken volley in the 35th minute before Denzelle Olopade’s 20-yard effort doubled the lead five minutes after half-time. Nathan Wood broke through for the visitors before calmly slotting home to half the deficit in the 69th minute before Rowland hit a thundering volley from outside the area in injury time.
Faversham, now with management duo of John Emery and Jermaine Darlington at the helm, started the game with a lot more patience to their play than In previous seasons and tried to play out from the back. The Rams kept their shape and played with patience out of possession.
Theo Osinfolarin started brightly for Ramsgate and caused no end of problems for left back Joshua McFaull, who eventually was substituted early in the second half after a tiring night trying to defend the tricky winger. His first success against the youngster was in the 7th minute when he rounded him with ease before whipping a dangerous ball across the box that nobody was able to meet.
The former Cheshunt winger beat his man again moments later, following a long diag by Tom Hanfrey, before shooting wide.
The hosts had their first shot through Connor Wilkins. Wilkins’ shot was saved with ease by Josh Bexon who pushed the effort away to his right.
A flurry of corners for The Lillywhites were dealt with well by the tall Ramsgate defence, benefiting by the height of Rowland, Hanfrey, Jamahl Howlett-Mundle and Olapade.
It was following good defending of one of these corners Ramsgate got their first goal. Another diagonal from Hanfrey was chested down by Osinfolarin who glided past McFaull before crossing into the path of TJ who arrived late to volley home past veteran goalkeeper Simon Overland in the 31st minute.
Ramsgate started to make their league position show and began to boss proceedings as the game entered the final stages of the first half. Josh Ajayi enjoyed a good battle with impressive centre-back Freddie Carter, on loan from Gillingham, but on the occasion he beat Carter he could only fire a shot over.
The first half ended on a worrying note with an apparent leg injury to Ajayi. Ajayi appeared to have agitated his hamstring when attempting a powerful effort on goal.
With Ashley Miller replacing Ajayi at the break Ramsgate started the second half on the front-foot. It was six minutes after the restart when Osinfolarin squared to Olapade who, using defender Matt Bourne to blindslight the goalkeeper, passed the ball into the bottom corner from outside the area.
The second goal came as a wakeup call to the hosts who upped the tempo against a tiring, injury ridden, Ramsgate side. Resolute defending from long throws and corners kept Faversham out until the 69th minute when Wood latched on to through ball a fired across goal past Bexon.
Faversham’s best chance of the game came when a perfectly weighted through ball by Junior Aikhionbare was met by Jake Embery. Bexon however dived bravely at his feet to thwart the former Herne Bay striker in what was their final chance of the match.
Rowland, who had a tough time all evening against a solid centre-back pairing, finally got some reward for his effort with a brilliant goal in the 90th minute. The 26-year-old lashed a dipping right footed volley over the head of Overland that dipped just under the crossbar.
The goal eased nerves for the large travelling contingent who appreciated just how tricky the away win was against The Lilywhites who, despite their lowly league position, caused real problems for Steve Lovell’s team. Speaking after the match Lovell admitted it was a tough game for his side who are yet to find top gear.
He said: “You will always be happy to take three points in Faversham regardless of where they sit in the table.
“A lot of teams at the top will lose games against teams further down the division, it is our job to make sure Ramsgate put in performances to win those games and today we did that.
“It was a decent performance; we are not quite firing on all cylinders yet and it is nice that we are top of the league despite having not quite done that.
“We got the three points which is the vital thing.”
The 3-1 win puts Ramsgate three points clear at the top of the table and extends their unbeaten run to eight games, with seven wins in that spell. The Rams have 11 days before their next league fixture, which will provide welcome respite for the squad who have had to deal with nine players missing over the past two games.
“We come into a gap now after the first six games. If someone said to me you would go unbeaten and win five of them I would have taken it but really that counts for nothing until the end of the season.
“There are a lot of positives all around the club right now and with the players and winning games breeds confidence and hopefully we can keep that run going.
“It is a decent start, but we are still trying to get everyone together and everyone fit, we picked up a couple more of tonight but fortunately we have a bit of a break now until we travel to VCD in the league.”
The Rams have had to stick new signings Rowland, Hanfrey and Jamahl straight in to the team as a result of the injuries plaguing the team but Lovell is hopefully the new additions can succeed and has ruled out further signings:
“It is hard coming into a club at this stage of a season. They haven’t played too much football, so we need to make sure you they get the minutes and get the chance to look at them.
“We will keep working hard and if we must bring in a couple more players due to the injuries.”
The Rams will next be in action at home Wednesday 28th September in The Velocity Trophy against Hythe Town who they beat 2-1 in August.
“We have Hythe in the cup next Wednesday which will give me the chance to allow the boys who haven’t played a runout some game time.
“It will be good to get the likes of Jack Paxman, Jake McIntyre, Sammi Takaloo and hopefully back. We have a big squad, so it is a good opportunity to utilise it.”
Jordan Chiedozie, Jerald Aboagye, Lucas Atkins remain sidelined but Jamie Coyle and Ben Fitchett should be available for the next league fixture.