By pitchside reporter Andy Mason
Ramsgate (2) 6 Whitstable Town (1) 1
13 & 59 Fitchett 5 McIlroy
57, 66 & 72 Miller
It was a dull temperate afternoon at the WW Martin Community stadium as play off chasing Ramsgate hosted relegation threatened Whitstable Town. Both sides required results in other games to go their way in order to achieve their goals.
Rams got us underway attacking the airport end. The 5th minute saw an early blow for the Rams as McIlroy picked up the ball out on the Oystermen’s left and a cross come shot deflected off a Rams defender and looped over a despairing Russell to give the Oystermen the lead.
This certainly spurred the Rams and they went on the offensive in their new formation with three at the back and Miller-Neave and Aboyage acting as wing backs in a five man middle which has been Rams weak spot over the last few games.
In the 12th Ajayi won a Rams corner, Miller-Neave crossed with pinpoint accuracy onto the head of Fitchett to power home to level for the Rams. Ajayi was tackled from behind in the 19th min forcing Lovell to make a change as Ajayi limped out of the action, Peck was the replacement, going out wide changing the game plan a little.
The 24th and Oystermen create a golden opportunity as the ball is crossed and Mills totally un-marked crashed a header against the bar, the follow up saved by Russell. Rams were immediately back on the attack and Miller-Neave crossed only for Eason to tip it over Rams press winning multiple corners. The 29th and Peck collected the ball out wide right, cut inside, beat a couple and shot with some power, beating Eason all ends up to give Rams a well deserved lead.
In the 43rd the first card of the game went to Walder for making too many border line challenges. The whistle blew to bring an excellent first half performance to a close.
Oystermen got underway having made a sub, Nzinga replaced by Cham. A very even start to this half as Rams started to probe. The 51st and Aboayge laid off to Miller whose cross was just behind Peck who was in the centre forward position as Rams swapped the front men around to try and open up the Oysterman defence.
The 56th saw brilliant play between Jadama and Miller-Neave, the latter brought down in a very dangerous position. Miller stepped up and struck the ball with aplomb and Rams had a third. The 59th and Rams have another corner, this time taken by Miller, Fitchett rises above the defence to head home Rams fourth. Rams were dominant and not taking their foot off the gas, as wave after wave of attacks were mounted.
In the 65th Whitstable had a free kick, Cham hit it low and hard forcing Russell into a terrific save, he had not had a great deal to do this half. Rams broke quickly, the 66th and Miller got free of his marker and smashed in Rams fifth. The 72nd Rams broke again, this time it was Peck into Miller to have a free header and Rams’ sixth.
A few late changes ,the 83rd and Russell was forced into action again, making a superb save from a McIlroy shot, you could tell all the players had put in a shift as it became a real end to end finish to the game as the tired legs showed.
The fans then heard that Cray Valley had scored a late equaliser, ending Rams play off hopes finally, as for the Oystermen they still have one more game and a chance of survival.
If Rams showed great intensity this match and if they are able to keep this team together with Steve Lovell at the helm next season should be very entertaining.
Rams next in action 23 April Away to Chichester City in the last game of a wonderful season.
1Jacob Russell 1Dan Eason
2Jerald Aboagye (off 80) 2Jake Mackenzie (y 69)
3Karn Miller-Neave 3Veron Nzinga (off 46)
4Lee Prescott (off 81) 4Tom Mills
10Ashley Miller 5Scott Doe
11William Hoare 6Will Thomas
14Joshua Ajayi (off 19) 7Danny Walder (y 43)
16Jamie Coyle 8Andy Drury (off 69)
17Ben Fitchett 9Charlie Heatley
19Jake McIntyre 10Harry Goodger (off 76)
20Tijan Jadama 11George McIlroy
5Callum Emptage (on 80) 12Cameron Chamberlain
6Denzelle Olopade 14George Monger (on 69)
7Callum Peck (on 19) 15Montrell Deslandes
8Mitchell Chapman (on 81) 16Muhammed Cham (on 46)
9Oliver Bate 17Stephen Okoh (on 76)
Ramsgate supporter men of the match: Callum Peck & Ashley Miller