By pitchside reporter Andy Mason
Ramsgate (0) 0 vs Haywards Heath (1) 1
It was a bright, chilly day at the WW Martin Community stadium, as new manager Steve Lovell took charge in his first match.
We were underway with Rams kicking towards the airport end. Rams started brightly forcing Heath on to the back foot. In the 4th Rams pressure shot blocked out for a corner, Jadama brought down the right-hand side of the box and fired in just wide of Collings’ goal.
The 6th and Miller went through gets his shot away lacking any power it collected by Collings. Rams pressed again and the early stages were certainly all Rams, Jadama fouled again, Ajayi hit the free kick into the wall.
Quarter of an hour in and Heath had their first attack forcing Russell into making a good save, diving low to his left from a Lafflin shot. Heath now had their best spell and at the 19th Cravid crossed the ball evading everyone in the area and cleared at the back post.
Rams were back on the attack. The 25th saw a really good link up play from the forwards Bate to Miller played inside to Ajayi, beating a defender and getting a shot away but this was easily collected by Collings.
Heath looked more in control as we entered the 36th and they had a free kick fired into the box by Allen, Olopade cleared off the line for the Rams to keep honours even. A minute later Fitchett made an error at the back allowing Rowe to steal the ball. He shot, forcing Russell into another good low save. The 39th Lafflin gets free and shot, Russell was down quickly to save again as the pressure from the visitors mounted. The 43rd Heath free kick out on the wide right, Allen hit the ball in and Christie made a late run at the back smashing it home for the Heath.
Rams got us underway in the second half, attacking the Town end with the bight sun at their backs. Rams were doing all the pressing, trying to get back into the game but Heath were resilient in their defensive efforts. Bate fired in a shot from an open position just wide of the Heath goal. Heath with Cadman at the heart of their defence was marshalling his troops well and they were standing up to the Rams onslaught. Jadama for Rams was being brought down almost every time he got on the ball, he must have taken eight or nine fouls at that stage.
Rams were really pushing for an equaliser, the ball crossed in and Jadama rose above all. Collings went up with him, minimal contact but Heath were awarded a free kick and clear. Rams were throwing everything they had at Heath, Olopade struck from range rattling the Heath cross bar, so unlucky not to score.
We entered time added on 4 minutes to play . Could Rams conjure up one last chance? Rams won a free kick, the ball looped in and Fitchett rose but his header had no power and Collings collected.
How the Rams had not taken a point from this game I do not know, Heath were hanging on at the end by their fingernails. As we see Rams drop out of the playoffs with Herne Bay moving 2 points ahead, Rams will need to win all three remaining games to stand a chance of a playoff spot.
Rams All Red Heath Blue & white
1Jacob Russell 1Billy Collings
2Jerald Aboagye 2Hamish Morrison
6Denzelle Olopade 3Kieran Rowe
4Lee Prescott 5Tom Cadman
9Oliver Bate (off 76) 6Sinn Christie
10Ashley Miller Y24 7Alahady Jalloh Y86 (off 86)
14Joshua Ajayi Y50 8Jody Ndozid Y46 (off 64)
16Jamie Coyle 9Harry Lafflin (off 90)
17Ben Fitchett 10Oliver Alen
19Jake McIntyre 11Davigilod Cravid
20Tijan Jadama 12Byron Napper
3Karn Miller-Neave 4Ben Holden
12Eddie Carrington 14Tom Gilbert
5Callum Emptage 15Reace Deakin (on 86)
11William Hoare 16Kesna Clarke (on 90)
15Harvey Smith (on 76) 17Adonai Dacruz (on 64)
Ramsgate supporters’ man of the match: Tijan Jadama
Match entertainment: 4*
Ramsgate remaining games
16 April Away Ashford United
18 April Home Whitstable Town
23 April Away Chichester City