By pitchside reporter Andy Mason
Ramsgate (2) 2 v Ashford United (2) 3
25 Jadama 4 & 75 Lockyer
42 Ajayi 35 Kwayie (P)
Bank Holiday Monday saw another bumper crowd at the WW Martin Community stadium.
Our visitors Ashford United – second in the Isthmian South East division after drawing on New Year’s Day with Faversham – were just 1 point ahead of the Rams who ranked 5th in the table. This shows how close things are at the top of the table. Ashford’s away form has been hit and miss this campaign with 9 played, 4W 1D 4L, it’s been their home form keeping them in the chase.
Perfect conditions greeted the two sides, it was dull, temperate and there was barely a breeze. Rams had one forced change from Saturday’s emphatic victory over Whitstable as Prescott replaced Fitchett. We were under floodlights from the start, Rams kick-off attacking the airport end, an early free kick as Hull went right through Jadama.
In the 4th minute a speculative ball played into the Rams box but not cleared by the defensive header allowing Lockyer to net and giving the visitors the advantage. The spark was not there yet for the Rams as they tried to get back in the game. In the 12th Ter Horst went through totally unchecked, made a complete hash of his shot, Rams needed to tighten up.
Midway through the half Ashford certainly looked the keener of the sides closing down. Rams launched an attack down the left, Ajayi brought down out wide, free kick in the 24th Miller takes to the back post Jadama reacted first and headed home the equalizer, leaving McCarthy rooted to the spot in the Ashford goal.
In the 28th Aboayge had renewed vigor. Rams put a dangerous ball into the box causing a mix up, luckily going wide for Ashford. They were straight down the other end and Lockyer had an opportunity but Russell was out quickly putting his body in the way to block the shot.
The 33rd minute saw Ashford awarded a penalty, McIntyre challenged and was dismissed being the last man, Kwayie put the keeper the wrong way smashing the ball into the net, Ashford 2 – 1. Ashford started to control the game however there is always Ajayi and in the 42nd he worked some magic, beat two and fired home to level the scores.
The 45th and Lockyer broke through again, another one on one with Russell and this battle seemed to be going only one way as Russell saved again. We entered stoppage time at the end of the first half, honors even.
Ashford started the second half with Rams attacking Southwood Road end. Certainly a lively atmosphere, considering Rams were playing with 10 men. Ashford were finding it very difficult to break the Rams down although they were forcing them deeper and deeper into their own half. At the 68th the best opportunity of the second half as Rams free kick ball was played in the box, a scramble ensued and it was cleared off the line by Wisson.
In the 75th Ashford broke through, Russell saved pushing the ball onto the post which rebounded to Lockyer to crack in his 2nd, restoring Ashford’s lead.
At the 79th ref gave a drop ball to Ashford and perfectly set up the ball for Ashford to fire over a cross. A fantastic save by Russell kept the ball out. It was all Ashford at that point although they could not hit the target with their awry shooting. Ashford hung on towards the end with 4 mins added time. Ajayi had a late opportunity, saved low by McCarthy. The early sending off certainly affected the game and in my opinion it was unjustified.
The Rams will feel aggrieved with the officiating and were certainly not deserving of the cards they received and Ashford will be elated but that’s football.
Ramsgate All Red
1Jakob Russell, 2Jerald Aboagye(off88), 4Lee Prescott,6Denzelle Olopade, 9Ollie Bate, 10Ashley Miller(off37), 12Beckham Kennelly, 14Joshua Ajayi, 16Jamie Coyle, 19Jake McIntyre, 20Tijan Jadama.
Subs: 3Nico Cotton(on37 off83)), 7Callum Peck(on83), 8Mitchell Chapman(on88), 11Harry Maher, 18George Baker-Moran.
Ashford United Yellow & Green
1Tyler McCarthy, 2Bradley Simms, 3Mamadou Diallo, 4Josh Wisson, 5Liam Friend, 6Daniel Hull, 7Johan Ter Horst(off89), 8Tashi-Jay Kwayie, 9Jay May(off77), 10Gary Lockyer, 11Jack Hanson(off70)
Subs: 12Roberto Ratt(on77), 14Luke Burdon(on70), 15Jack Steventon(on89), 16Levi Gold, 17Lee Hook
Cards: Rams (Y) Miller 7, (R) McIntyre 33, (Y) Bate 84, (Y) Peck 87,
Ash (Y) May
Ramsgate next in action:
08 Jan A Hayward Heath
15 Jan H Sevenoaks Town