Rowan Liburd’s first Ramsgate goal helped complete an against the odds comeback for Jamie Coyle’s side to secure a crucial point away at Sheppey United despite being reduced to 10 men whilst 3-1 down during the opening half.
Taofiq Olomowewe opened his Ramsgate after just 9 minutes before two Danny Leonard goals and another from Jake Embery put The Ites in control. Things went from bad to worse on the stroke of half time when Lee Prescott was dismissed for violent conduct and the match appeared to be lost.
Second half strikes from Jahmal Howlett-Mundle and Liburd ensure Ramsgate remain unbeaten under new manager Coyle.
The Rams started full of energy and took the lead with their second corner of the match when Ashley Miller’s inswinger was powered home at the back post by the head of Olomowewe via the underside of the crossbar. Like Liburd, it was a first Ramsgate goal for the centre-back since signing from Welling United earlier this week.
The large away following was left bemused moments later when, following another corner, TJ Jadama was bundled over inside the area but referee Benjamin Mcdonald waved play on.
The let off served as a wakeup call for Sheppey who started to grow into the game and six minutes later levelled through Danny Leonard. A hopeful long kick forward was brilliantly flicked into the path of Leonard by Jack Midson. The former Dartford winger’s effort had too much for Bexon who, despite getting a leg to the effort, could not keep the ball out.
Leonard’s second of the game came from more direct play. A long clearance from goalkeeper Aiden Praill was disastrously sliced by Howlett-Mundle leaving an easy finish.
The third was just as fortuitous. A brilliant cross by Leonard, who was by far the best player on the pitch in the opening 45, was met by Embery. The forward’s misjudged header came off his back and looped in to the corner of the net.
Prescott was then given his marching orders on the stroke of half time after being hacked down by Eddie Allsopp. As he returned to his feet the midfielder naively put his head in to the chest of Allsopp and gave Mcdonald a real decision to make. Referee Mcdonald reached for the red and the game appeared over.
The last play of the half saw a deep freekick headed on by Liburd but Prall dived well to his left the keep the effort out.
Contrary to the opening half, the second half was wide open. With extra space on the pitch and nothing to lose for The Rams both teams looked to attack. Coyle opted to bring on left back Tom Carlse for his debut, who replaced Jake McIntyre, and Gil Cavalho was taken off for Denzelle Olopade to allow for a formation change.
The Ites nearly got a fourth in the 48th minute Leonard raced the length of the pitch but his ball across goal eluded Midson.
A footballing rarity occurred in the 50th minute when Mcdonald, who didn’t shy from the limelight, decided to award Ramsgate an indirect freekick in the penalty area for the timewasting of goalkeeper Prall. Ashley Miller blasted the resulting shot high over the bar.
The game became more and more stretched, and half chances were exchanged until the 71st minute when Jadama was bundled down 25 years from goal. Smart play saw Howlett-Mundle head up and alert Miller of his presence. Miller quickly rolled the ball in to the centre-backs path who fired home left footed.
Miller got his third assist in the 80th minute when winning the ball before squaring the ball to Liburd. Miller’s decoy run created space for Liburd to smash home in to the bottom corner from 25-yards.
The final chance of the game came in injury time when Carlse did brilliantly to win possession high up the pitch. His dangerous ball across goal eluded Jack Paxman by a number of inches and saw the game finish 3-3.
Ramsgate remain top and will look to take the confidence from such a resilient second half performance when they return to WW Martin Community Stadium on Saturday against VCD.
Player of the match- Ashley Miller