Pitchside: Rams second half recovery to take victory over Ashford

Rams v Ashford Photo John Emmins

By pitchside reporter Andy Mason

Ashford United 2             Ramsgate  3

Connor Dymond (9)        Joe Taylor (45, 73)

 Vance Bola (22)                Alfie Paxman (69)

The frost was on the ground  but the 3G pitch at the Homelands stadium is certainly playable on a bitterly cold evening. A full-strength Ashford United side hosting a depleted Ramsgate.

Rams come into this match sitting top of the Isthmian South East table with just two away defeats and a draw on their travels. However, injuries to key players Tijan Jadama, Jordan Green and Jack S Paxman have limited Ben Smith’s team tactics.

The game is taking time to settle with both sides working out the others tactics.  Daniel Parish down the right wing for Ashford is looking in good form and earns a corner in the seventh minute. The ball crossed over toward the back post where Robbie Rees has a free header back across the area, a header from Connor Dymond forces Tom Hadler to get down quickly to save, he cannot hold onto the ball and Dymond pokes it into the Rams net.

Twelfth minute as Rams try to recover a passing move, finds Joe Taylor out wide on the right, he crosses deep for Alfie Paxman, passes back to Mike West who sets the ball perfectly for Bode Anidugbe to shoot but straight at Chris Lewington in the Ashford goal.

Photo John Emmins

Ashford continue to pressure Rams and have them on the back foot as Rams defend deeper and deeper and whenever Rams are in possession they are instantly closed down.

Seventeenth, a super cross field ball from Ashford finds Parish on his own with a direct route to goal, he fires in his shot gets a deflection and it finishes up in Hadler’s hands.

Rams are looking very slow and laboured, maybe it’s the number of games, playing full on matches twice a week does take its toll, both mentally and physically.

Twenty second minute from an Ashford quick throw in, the most perfect cross from Parish towards the back post finds an unmarked Vance Bola, who is able to guide his header out of the reach of Hadler to give Ashford a two goal advantage.

Rams looking lacklustre and seem unable to generate any pace whatsoever.  They are knocking the ball around but there is no penetration and they keep gifting the ball to Ashford.

Just after the half hour mark Rams finally get a ball into Taylor and he is able to turn, despite Lewington’s constant shout of no turn, no turn. Taylor shoots but Dymond is there to block it for a corner. Ashford seem more than confident at defending Rams corners, clearing easily.

Parish has been a thorn in Rams side, as he goes down the right again, this time laying a ball back to Anthony Edgar to shoot, forcing an excellent low save from Hadler as the Rams defence seem to be under more pressure.

The traffic all heading one-way as a great ball into the area from an unmarked Robbie Rees is scrambled away.  Rams are just not picking up in the midfield and are relying on their defenders to bail them out.

Forty fifth, ball slotted through to Taylor sees him get the better of Dymond, who trips and pushes Taylor over, the referee immediately points to the spot for a penalty. Taylor steps up now at the end of stoppage time in the first half and with the last kick he slams home the penalty.

Ashford will consider themselves unlucky as they should have taken more of an advantage from a very poor Rams performance in this half.

Photo John Emmins

Immediately before the second half gets underway Rams make a couple of changes with Alfie Young  and Wes Hennessey replacing Bode Anidugbe and Jack Parter, effectively going to three men at the back to try and takeover in the midfield.

Rams looking to get going after the break and are on the attack from the off with Jack Paxman down the right getting an early cross in for Taylor, defended well and cleared by Dymond.

Rams continuing to press forward and it’s now the hosts getting deeper and deeper as Rams attack after attack, using both flanks. You can feel the tension in the air as the Ashford fans try to get behind their team but Rams are not allowing them to play.

Fifty second, from a dangerous Ashford cross Rams break quickly a ball punted forward, Hennessey  from inside his own half out paces the Ashford defence.  Maybe he should have shot but passes to Taylor who does shoot but easy for Lewington to save. Hennessey has made a big difference injecting some pace into the attack and with Hennessey at full speed down the wing, it’s only a matter of time.

Rams are really battling for everything now and are showing why they are top of the table as they move forward again and again.  Some fantastic work from Jack Paxman on the right as Rams are getting balls into dangerous areas.

Rams have a sustained ten minutes of pressure, but it’s released by a silly needless foul, gifting Ashford a possession.

Rams make their final change as Benny Bioletti replaces Jack Paxman on the right.

An immediate impact as Bioletti plays a ball down the line, Hennessey gets onto it hitting a low hard cross into the box for Alfie Paxman running at pace to smash in Rams equaliser.

Ashford now looking a little uneasy as Rams have built this head of steam and are confident of the victory.

Seventy third a great clearance from the Rams defence, up to Hennessey.  He’s on his own at the half way line and goes on a run toward goal out pacing the Ashford defence, he passes to Taylor who is now up with him.  Taylor takes one touch to his left and unleashes a powerhouse of a shot, past Lewington to give Rams the lead.

Seventy fifth as Rams attack again.  Bioletti at full pace is scythed down from behind, Taylor goes over to remonstrate and is pushed to the floor by Dymond, an altercation ensues with players and fans. The result is a red card for Dymond and a couple of yellows, one for Taylor and the Ashford defender that committed the foul. The stewards also remove two supporters who were getting a little heated.

Rams have one more chance as Hennessey holds the ball up and sets it for Bioletti to run between defenders and cross for Lee Martin to strike a poor off target shot.

A Rams victory based entirely on a wonderful second half performance, they might just want to forget the first forty-five minutes.

Attendance: 402

RFSA Player of the Match: Joe Taylor

The Teams:

ASHFORD: 1Christopher Lewington, 2Tariq Ossai, 3Tolulope Jonah, 4Harvey Brand, 5Connor Dymond, 6Ben Gorham, 7Danny Parish, 8Anthony Edgar, 9Vance Bola, 10Bradley Ryan, 11Robbie Rees

Subs: 12Rhyle Ovenden, 14David Ozobia, 15Ian Draycott, 16Kymani Thomas, 17Noah Carney

RAMS:  1Tom Hadler, 3Jack Parter, 5Craig Stone, 6Bode Anidugbe, 8Jack A Paxman, 9Joe Taylor, 11Alfie Paxman, 14Medy Elito, 15Lee Martin, 17Mike West, 18Dan Johnson

Subs: 2Alfie Young, 7Benny Bioletti, 13Lee Hook, 16Wes Hennessey

Ramsgate next in action:

 Sat 20 Jan        A          Horndean                                Isthmian South East    3pm

Tue 23 Jan       A          Three Bridges              Isthmian South East    7.45pm

Sat 27 Jan       H         Sheppey United         Isthmian South East   3pm


For away travel contact Steve Miller on 07508-364101