By pitchside reporter Andy Mason
Ramsgate 3 Cray 0
3rd min Chiedozie (p)
54 min, 65 min Ajayi
Here we are again at the start of another promotion chasing season for the Rams, there feels like an air of expectancy around the entire club from the amazing youth through to the board room.
The club is going places and the first team squad with Steve and Mark Lovell at the helm believe in themselves. After just missing the playoffs by a solitary point in the last campaign a few shrew signings later and they are set. A cup is already in the trophy bag from the Thanet cup victory over their local rivals.
It was a blisteringly hot day at the WW Martin Community stadium, there was a faint breeze in the main stand but at pitch level players would certainly feel the heat.
The games got underway with Rams kicking towards the sea end, Cray was straight on the attack from kick off, winning a corner. Rams counter cleared and creaking through Olopade and Ajayi played through to Jadama brought down just inside the box. Rams were awarded the penalty kick and Chiedozie stepped up to put Rams ahead in the third minute.
There was frantic play then the game settled down with both sides moving the ball quickly, bearing in mind the temperature. The 11th minute and Cray break through Rams defence, Bennet fired in a shot beating Bexon, hitting the underside of the bar and bouncing clear. Play had settled and Rams were looking the better side and frustrating Cray Valley. In the 24thAjayi won a throw deep on the right, a Paxman long throw headed on by Jadama caused the defence a few problems.
Time for a drinks break, and afterwards Cray were forced into a sub as Ibrahiym suffered a hamstring problem. With Black coming on to replace, Cray seemed to be a little quicker to the ball, conceding a corner in the 38th with the ball cleared by Jadama to break up play and Rams winning a free kick through Chiedozie to clear.
An altercation toward the end of the half took place with all getting a little tetchy as we approached half time, Cray were awarded a free kick out, edge of the box to the right fired in to the Rams wall. Cray were really pressing, winning a last minute free kick in a central position, resulting in a fantastic save by Bexon. The Rams hung on to go in 1 – 0 and a chance for the management team to have a word.
Underway in the second half, still keeping up the pace, Cray’s Gayle seemed to be able to twist and turn, beating Redwood at left back on numerous occasions. However, it was Rams that struck in the 53rd with Jadama winning the ball in midfield, out to Chiedozie, wide left crossed perfectly to the back post for Ajayi to head home 2 – 0.
Paxman struck from range, hitting the post, as Rams started to dominate play before the next drinks break. The 64th, straight in, Olopade and Jadama break up play in midfield, the ball goes to Ajayi and he rounded a defender and fired home under a despairing Lewington in the Cray goal Rams 3 – 0.
Jadama got a well earned rest, subbed at 68th with Aboagye coming on as Rams went to 4 at the back with a plan to hold out for the remainder. The 75th and Williams was sent off for a foul on Olopade leading to a red card.
Rams sub, Chiedozie coming off Miller coming on at the 77th, instantly winning a free kick as he flew down the Rams right. Rams were pressing against the 10 men, winning a free kick which Ajayi took but over the bar. With 5 minutes of normal time remaining Rams were on the defence, clearing from the Cray attacks, Bexon was forced to save low to his left in the final moments of normal time. The referee added a minimum 5 minutes of stoppage.
The players were all certainly feeling the heat as we approached full time and a well deserved Rams victory and 3 points put Rams top of the table on goal difference.
Ramsgate Cray Valley PM
1Josh Bexon 1Chris Lewington
3Leon Redwood 2Connor Dymond (C)
4Jamie Coyle (C) 4Barney Williams (Red card 74)
5Callum Emptage 6Ali Tumkaya (Yellow 23) (sub off 61)
6Denzelle Olopade 7Denzel Gayle
9Jordan Chiedozie (sub off 77) 10Adam Coombes (Yellow 54)
12Jack Paxman (yellow 80) 14Anthony Edgar
14Joshua Ajayi 15Kershaney Samuels (yellow 49) (sub off 79)
17Ben Fitchett 16Antone Douglas
18Theo Osinfolarin 17Daniel Bennett
20Tijan Jadama (sub off 68) 18Hassan Ibrahiyn (sub off 31)
2Jerald Aboayge (sub on 68) 3Thomas Chambers
7Callum Peck 5Kiki Oshilaja (sub on 79)
10Ashley Miller (sub on 77) 8Sonny Black (Sub on 31)
15Sammi Takaloo 9Riley Asaam (Sub on 61)
Rams man of the match: Jack Paxman
Rams next in action
16 Aug away league Sittingbourne
20 Aug away FA cup Rusthall
27 Aug away league Haywards Heath