By pitchside reporter Andy Mason
Ashford United 1 Ramsgate 2
33 Lockyer 23 Liburd
A lovely day for football at the Homelands stadium home of our hosts Ashford United, the 3G pitch was not in the best of shape, littered with the little black rubber balls.
Rams were in a must win situation so that they had the home advantage in the playoffs with their place already secured.
Rams started brightly earning a couple of quick corners just minutes into the match, ball into the box Jadama rises to head goalward but Bentley is there to make a comfortable catch in the Ashford goal.
We reach the quarter hour mark and the only attempt at goal has come from Ashford although Brodie’s shot was high and wide, it’s all very tense as Rams try to create something. Ashford are getting the run of the ball as Parish beats the offside line, goes through one on one with Patrick who makes a great save as he comes out.
20th Rams have a free kick in a dangerous position. Miller goes for goal but only hits the wall, both sides have opportunities as Parish gets a shot off for Ashford deflected out for a corner, Rams clear.
23rd Bentley should have put his foot through the ball to clear but doesn’t, allowing Liburd to pounce and have an easy side foot home to settle Rams nerves putting them one up.
Ashford now with their tails up and having only lost once at home to Ramsgate since 2017 they are showing a lot of heart as they press, with Parish & then Lockyer having good shots forcing Rams keeper Patrick into a couple of great saves.
33rd Ashford create an opportunity for Lockyer to fire home the equaliser, on the balance probably deserved.
A lot of midfield play with little end product, Aboagye making some good runs down the wing and linking up with the forward line. Not until the 41st when Lockyer is put through again from a ball over the top of the Rams defence, he runs on, Pritchard come toward him and he shoots over the bar.
A little late action as we approach the half time whistle, as Rams mount a sustained attack. Carlse at the back post heads into the side netting, Jadama goes on one of his runs and earns a corner, Ashford holding on as the half time whistle goes.
Rams sub half time as Carvalho replaces Carlse to give Rams more attacking power, although the game is very even for the start of this half but Carvalho is making inroads down the wing and it feels like Rams are getting the upper hand.
Rams breaking from defence as Paxman ball up to Miller crossed in for Paxman who’s run the length of the pitch, he shoots and saved.
57th Rams sub Riley-Snow replaces Emptage.
Immediately Ashford are on the attack as Riley-Snow not up to the pace of the game allows a wonderful attack to build, ball crossed in from the right. How Ashford did not score is beyond me. Rams really need to settle and get a rhythm back.
65th a sweeping move from the Rams as the ball is played out to the wide right into Miller to shoot on the run and he hits the back of the net to restore Rams lead and their position in the playoffs to top spot.
Ashford make a sub as Ter-Horst replaces Dickens, Ashford go through and Patrick makes another fantastic save. Ashford make another change as Olowasemo replaces Bola in an attempt to increase fire power.
Rams being more defensive now as they hang on to the slender lead, Ashford press again as Parish gets free, he shoots just over the Rams bar.
81st Simms for Ashford is shown a red card, so Ashford will finish the game with ten men as Rams settle at last and start to pass the ball about.
Ashford make a late sub as Azeez replaces Ovenden.
Rams have not been at their best for a few games now but do hold out in this one and secure home advantage in the playoffs.
Ashford United: 1George Bentley, 2Bradley Simms , 3Charlie Dickens, 4Ben Gorham, 5Liam Friend, 6Samuel German, 7Vance Bola, 8Rhyle Ovenden, 9Gary Lockyer, 10Danny Parish, 11Cameron Brodie
Subs: 12Johan Ter Horst, 14Lanre Azeez, 15Emmanuel Olowasemo, 16Djean Spencer,, 13Connor Towens
Ramsgate: 1Lee Patrick, 2Jerald Aboagye, 3Callum Emptage, 10Ashley Miller, 12Jack Paxman, 14Rowan Liburd, 15Thomas Carlse, 16Taofiq Olomowewe, 17Ben Fitchett, 19Jake McIntyre, 20Tijan Jadama
Subs: 7Blaise Riley-Snow, 8Theo Osinfolarin, 9Kane Rowland, 11Gil Carvalho, 18Youssouf Bamba
RFSA Player of the match: Jerald Aboagye
Ramsgate next in action:
Play off semi final 25 April Home v Hythe Town 7.45pm
Subject to this result Rams would be Home Friday 28th.
Well done Ramsgate