By Pitchside reporter Andy Mason
Whitehawk 1 Ramsgate 3
48 Cooper 45, 78 Rowland
A bitterly cold wind at the Enclosed ground in Whitehawk, with a drab grey sky- not even the view of the South Downs could create a warm feeling. Another big game as third play first in the league, Rams going one big game to the next.
As the sides took to the field the Hawks supporters started the noise and the few travelling Rams fans were no match.
Play got under way with Rams kicking downhill toward the sea end. Just a minute or so in and the ref decided that all the balls were under pressure so we had a short delay while they were pumped up, probably the last thing the players wanted, standing around in the freezing temperature.
Rams showed good early signs with debutant Wood making some good runs and excellent passes, linking play. It was the Rams that had certainly started the brighter, creating good early opportunities. Restricting the Hawks to hitting on the break, they were very quick especially down their right side with Lambert making good in-roads.
Miller was looking very dangerous for the Rams, also down the right side and the beating of Hawks left back Daly, managing to put several crosses into the box.
Rams attacked again and again with a really high press forcing Hawks to defend deeper and deeper, a couple of chances went begging, a free kick from the left blasted over and a couple of long range efforts not causing Glover in the Hawks goal any problems.
Not until the 45th min did we finally get a goal, Miller jinked and shot, beating Glover but not the woodwork but Rowland followed in as a good striker should, collected the rebound and bundled the ball over the line to give Rams a well deserved lead at half time on the balance of play.
This was not to say the Hawks did not have their chances but great defending especially Fitchett at the back kept the Hawks at bay, the support was still going non-stop for the entire 45 plus mins.
Second half underway and it was Hawks looking the stronger, playing down the hill within the first couple of minutes they win their first corner of the game crossed into the box well defended, but Hawks win it back spread the ball wide to Lambert whose cross shot was met by a stooping header from Cooper to level for the home side, the supporters got even louder if that were possible.
Rams immediately responded with a ball over the defense finding Miller who spotted an on rushing Glover and he precisely chipped the ball over him and into the back of the Hawks net restoring Rams lead in the 50th.
The game had a real edge to it with Hawks battering the Rams with everything they could, a long range effort from Harris swerved in the air but Bexon was up to it and made a really good save. Rams were just punting the ball up field and it just kept coming back at them as they were unable to find a way out with all eleven in their own half.
Hawks pressure was telling, they had a free kick in the 64th in central position outside the Rams box. They went for power smashing the ball into the Rams wall. It was Rams now relying on hitting on the break.
The 78th and the ball played through to Rowland in the box to the right of goal, it was as if the ball had been magnetized, sticking to his boot as he twisted and turned, beating defenders left and right leaving three of them sitting on the floor before coolly slotting the ball past Glover to send the few Rams supporters into rapture.
Even with three the Rams supporters did not feel confident but the defending was superb for the Rams to hold out and take the three points. The Hawks support was amazing and even at 1 – 3 down they were still cheering on their team.
Ramsgate remain top of the Isthmian League South East.
I must thank Whitehawk staff, directors and supporters, they made us feel most welcome and we thoroughly enjoyed our chilly day.
Whitehawk: 1Luke Glover, 2Hamish Morrison, 3Joel Daly, 4Joe Shelley , 5Will Miles, 6Nathan Cooper, 7Charlie Lambert, 8Charlie Harris, 9Rob O’Toole, 10Ryan Warwick, 11Kai Brown
Subs: 12Jerson Dos Santos, 14Billy Fuller, 15Mo Juwara, 16Marcus Marku, 17Stefan Wright
Ramsgate: 1Josh Bexon, 2Jerald Aboagye, 3Jahmal Howlett-Mundle, 8Lee Prescott , 9Kane Rowland 10Ashley Miller, 11Nathan Wood, 12Jack Paxman, 17Ben Fitchett, 19Jake McIntyre, 20Tijan Jadama
Subs: 5Callum Emptage, 6Denzelle Olopade, 7Lauric Diakiesse, 15Lucas Atkins, 16Daniel Haastrup
RFSA Ram of the Match: Cannot be singled out therefore they have awarded the entire team’s performance.
Ramsgate next in action
Away 10Dec Beckenham Town 2pm
Home 17Dec Chichester City 3pm
Away 26Dec Hythe Town 2pm