By pitchside reporter Andy Mason
AFC Totton 0 Ramsgate 1
Joe Taylor (65)
A sunny but breezy day at the Testwood stadium home of the ‘Stags’, Rams made the long trip to the south coast just outside Southampton, in this fourth qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup.
At stake is a place in the first round proper, the Rams having only progressed to that point on two occasions before in 1955 and 2005, losing narrowly in both matches. Could it be third time lucky?
Rams away support for this game is amazing, four coaches, a minibus and numerous fans making their own way meaning there are approximately 350 Rams fans in attendance and James the drummer is back with a newly purchased drum to get the travel support firmly behind the side.
The almost 1300 crowd are ready, the players are ready and we are away, with Rams kicking left to right from the main stand side.
Rams starting brightly as Jordan Green receives a ball out wide right, takes on his man and earns Rams an early corner just a couple of minutes in. It already looks like being an open game with a big midfield battle ahead, both teams like to play football.
As we approach the quarter hour mark we can see that chances are going to be few and far between as both sides defend well and midfield both are playing and tackling hard and fast, preventing any good chances. Rams try a long ball out wide to try and break through Billy Biolotti making a run but again his cross is stopped.
Stags not without creating an opportunity down the Rams right the cross comes in but Joe Elull is there to snuff out the danger.
Twenty second ball forward to Joe Taylor out to Green on the wing cuts into the penalty box, goes down under the challenge penalty for the Rams. Taylor steps up looking calm and collected, Rams fans take a gasp as his kick rolls along and into keeper Lewis Noice’s arms, it was all happening in slow motion, the fans let out an oh no!
The beat of the drum is lifting spirits and the Rams have to forget about the miss. As Rams press Bioletti has a great opportunity forcing the first real save of the game as Noice dives and saves.
The Rams midfield being marshalled by Lee Martin with Bode Anidugbe getting through an immense amount of work at the heart of it all.
Approaching the half time whistle Rams have a chance from a throw as Jack Paxman fires a shot just over the Stags bar. Not to be outdone Tijan Jadam has a run in on goal but gets crowded out for a Rams corner, fired in by Martin met by Elull, going just over. Stags respond with a shot just wide as the whistle blows.
The Stags start the second half at double pass, immediately attacking with an early cross into Rams box but Scott Rendell cannot direct his header goal wards.
Rams starting to build a head of steam as they have sustained pressure against the higher placed league side. There really is no difference in the standards, Jack Parter & Anidugbe linking up more & more down the wing but stout defensive play from the Stags keep Rams at bay.
Sixty fourth and Rams sub Green off for Alfie Paxman. The Stags try to come back at the Rams, great last ditch defending sees Dan Johnson clear off his own goal line, a speculative long ball from the Rams sees Taylor breaking the Stags high line Noice comes rushing to meet him, Taylor coolness personified has one look and lobs the ball with such precision over the keeper and into the back of the now empty net, Rams fans going ballistic with all the emotion being let out and the always constant thud of the drum behind them.
Still a long way to go and the Rams can expect everything to be thrown at them with the Stags behind. It is backs to the wall defending now for the Rams, Tom Hadler being forced to make a couple of good saves, Elull heading out from the back as crosses are raining in. The real cut & thrust of a cup tie now, Rams midfield holding strong.
Rams making a couple of late subs as Medy Elito replaces Parter & Freddie Oliver replace Biolotti to bolster the midfield with fresh legs. Rams hanging on and give way a free kick at the eighty eighth minute that goes just to the left of the penalty box, fired toward the back post, Matty Burrows ghosts in behind the Rams defence his header just wide of Hadler’s goal.
Shots coming in toward Hadler’s goal as Stags are getting desperate in search of the elusive equaliser.
As the final whistle blows the pure joy and delight on the Rams players faces says it all, as they go down to celebrate with their assembled fans, the drum beat still echoing around the ground.
The Stags fans applauding their players, they certainly deserved that for an excellent performance. It always takes two sides to make a great entertaining match.
RFSA Player of the match: Bode Anidugbe
STAGS: 1Lewis Noice, 3Jordan Ragguette, 6Luke Hallett , 7Joseph Oastler, 8Adam Tomasso, 9Scott Rendell, 10Ethan Taylor , 14Ben Winterburn, 15Sam Magri, 16Alfie Stanley, 17Leon Maloney
Subs: 2Benny Read, 4Mike Carter,, 5Charlie Kennedy, 11Matthew Burrows, 12Jordan Chiedozie, 13Giullo Grelli, 20Owen Pelham
RAMS: 1Tom Hadler, 3Jack Parter , 4Joe Ellul, 5Dan Johnson, 6Bode Anidugbe, 7Benny Bioletti, 8Jack Paxman, 9Joe Taylor, 10Jordan Green, 15Lee Martin , 20Tijan Jadama
Subs: 11Alfie Paxman, 12Louie Procopi, 14Medy Elito, 16Wes Hennessey, 17Tristan Holden, 18Sinnkaye Christie, 19Freddie Oliver
Ramsgate next in action
18Oct Home v Erith & Belvedere 7.45pm
21Oct Away v Broadbridge Heath 3pm
25Oct Home v Horndean 7.45pm
28Oct TBC FA Cup 1st Round proper 3pm