By pitchside reporter Andy Mason
Ashford United (3) 4 v Ramsgate (1) 2
6 Fagg 14 Fitchett
26 Lockyer (P) 90 Miller-Neave
It was a warm bright welcome at the Meadowlands stadium in the heart of the Kent countryside. As Ashford United currently 2nd hosted Ramsgate 6th and 5 points off the playoff spot, a rather tardy looking 3G pitch greeted the teams as they came out for the first half.
The pitch’s uneven bounce caused some early issues for the Rams as they tried to play the ball around. Ashford won an early corner, Rams did not prepare the defense allowing Fagg to rise unchallenged to crash home a header from close range, giving the hosts a 1 goal lead in only the 6th minute.
In the 14th Rams pressed, gaining a free kick wide right. Miller played the ball in to be cleared for a Rams corner. Miller again took the set piece, fired across and the ball came off the back of Fitchett’s head for a Rams equaliser. Rams seemed to be building a little more pressure since getting back on level terms. Ajayi 16th shot just wide, the 19th and Jadama forced Carey into a fantastic low save keeping Rams at bay.
The 22nd and an Ashford free kick is put just wide by Lockyer at the back post. The 26th and Lockyer turned the Rams defense inside out and was eventually tugged down in the area, it could have possibly gone either way but the Ref favoured Lockyer and awarded a penalty. Lockyer picked himself up to take the spot kick and fired Ashford back into the lead.
Ashford were controlling more of the game, Ramadan running through the Rams midfield found Lockyer unmarked. He shot, crashing the ball into Russell’s crossbar. The 42nd and Rams gift Lockyer an opportunity. Luckily he blasted the ball just over the bar, Rams were lucky to survive and hung on as we approached half time. Right on the stroke of the whistle the ball played through Lockyer, looking offside heading home to give Ashford a 3 – 1 half time lead.
Ashford got us underway for the second period and were immediately on the attack, Russell made a super save to keep Rams hopes alive. Rams made a couple of subs just before the hour mark with Miller-Neave and Peck coming on for Olopade and Hoare, this had an impact as Ajayi slotted Miller in for a chance but he got closed down by Wisson who had been having an excellent game at the back for Ashford.
All the action was then in the Rams half of the pitch as Ashford pushed on to finish the visitors off. The 64th was the final nail in the Rams coffin and possibly their hope of a playoff spot as Diallo fired home Ashford’s fourth, making the score line a disappointing 4 – 1. May replaced Lockyer as Ashford felt safe towards the end.
Rams were still trying and give them their due, the heads did not drop as Lovell barked instructions and encouragement to keep going. The 90th and Rams break the ball, played out to Miller-Neave on the left he shot with some venom and scored a late goal for the Rams to at least take something from the game as it was a well worked move. Final score Ashford 4 Ramsgate 2.
Play off hopes all but over now 5 points behind Herne Bay and with just two games to play.
1Jordan Carey 1Jacob Russell
2Jack Steventon 2Jerald Aboayge
3Mamadou Diallo (off 61) 4Lee Prescott
4Josh Wisson 6Denzelle Olopade (off 55)
5Liam Friend 10Ashley Miller
6Mohammed Kamara 11William Hoare (Y22) (off 59)
7Tashi-Jay Kwayie (off 72) 14Joshua Ajayi
8Thomas Fagg 16Jamie Coyle
9Gary Lockyer (off 74) 17Ben Fitchett
10Francis Collin 19Jake McIntyre
11Adem Ramadan (Y57) 20Tijan Jadama
12Luke Burdon (on 72) 3Karn Miller-Neave (on 55)
13Damian Niemczycki 5Callum Emptage
14Jay May (on 74) 7Callum Peck (on 59)
15Jarred Trespaderne (on 61) 9Oliver Bate
16Daniel Hull 12Eddie Carrington
Ramsgate supporters man of the Match: Tijan Jadama
Ramsgate remaining fixtures:
Monday 18th April Home vs Whitstable Town 3pm kick off
Saturday 23rd April Away Chichester City