By pitchside reporter Andy Mason
Ramsgate (1) 1 Cray Valley Paper Mills (0) 1
31 Blanks own goal 57 Warren
It was probably the worst conditions to have a football match, freezing cold, raining and blustery at the WW Martin Community stadium.
The teams entered the fray to be greeted with a floodlit stadium where the seagull appeared to be flying backwards because the wind was so strong and then the heavens opened again with the gale blowing toward the Southwood Road end. The teams lined up in front of the main stand to touch fists.
Rams played into the wind in the first half. Right to left, the first attempt from the Millers, Adeyemo fired well wide. In the third minute Rams were penalised for a back pass in the area with a free kick played to the left. The shot fired in initially but was blocked and the follow up saved by the feet of Russell. Rams were being patient in the build up, the midfield linking well.
A good 10th minute jinking move from Millers, Barrington getting his shot off not enough curl to bring it back on target. Rams immediately responded with Ajayi down the right, beating his man and crossing in to the box well defended. The wind certainly played its part, anything aerial being affected. In the 15th there was a brilliant turn in the box by Ajayi, firing just wide of the Millers goal – best effort of the game thus far.
In the 20th minute another great parried save by Russell from Barrington again, the main man for the attacks.
In the 24th Rams were awarded a free kick on the wide right, fired across the box, evading everyone out for a goal kick Then in the 27th min a powder puff shot from Ibrahiym dipped just in front of Russell, an easy save.
In the 31st minute a goal for the Rams created by Millers, backs runs across the box fires off a shot and the defender Blanks running back heads home past his own keeper.
In the 40th Rams win the ball in the Millers half, Ajayi goes through firing across the keeper going just wide. Straight on the break Adeyemo cuts back inside shots and another good save from Russell. A thoroughly entertaining half comes to an end with Ramsgate 1 Cray Valley 0.
The rain abated but not the wind as the second half commenced with a couple of subs, Cotton for Peck Rams & Tomlin on for Adeyemo for Millers. The Rams are on the offensive, Ajayi down the right and Cotton down the left forcing the Millers back. The 57th sees an equaliser for the Millers, a good hold up play by Tomlin allowing Warren to run on and fire home low to Russell’s left.
Rams responded strongly, winning successive corners but were unable to breach a resolute Millers defense.
The game drifted into a bit of a stalemate with both sides cancelling each other out. In the 87th Rams awarded a free kick on the edge of the D as Ajayi was brought down, a wasted chance as the ball was hit against the wall. Rams finished the stronger of the sides with Ajayi leading the attacks. A late free kick for the Millers was defended by Rams and cleared full time of a thoroughly entertaining game.
Ramsgate The Rams all Red
Jacob Russell, ,Jerald Aboagye, Callum Emptage, Denzelle Olopade, Callum Peck, Lee Prescott, Ashley Miller, Joshua Ajayi, Jamie Coyle, Jake McIntyre, Tijan Jadama
Subs: Nico Cotton, Harry Maher, Mekael Williams, Vinnie Medhurst, George Baker-Moran
Cray Valley PM The Millers all Blue
Chris Lewington, Connor Dymond, Nathaniel Blanks, Ali Tumkaya, Ade Adeyemo, Marcel Barrington,
Alex Brefo, Matthew A-Warren, David Ompreon, Rory Hill, Hassan Ibrahiym
Subs: Harry Hopper, Denzel Gayle, Harry Day, Jude Salmon, Gavin Tomlin
Ram of the Match: Denzelle Olopade