By pitchside reporter Andy Mason
Ramsgate 0 Merstham 2
Korrey Henry (17)
Charlie Greenwood (26)
A dull damp day at the WW Martin Community stadium as Ramsgate host lowly placed Merstham. Rams having won the away fixture would be hoping for a repeat.
Merstham get us underway attacking the town end, Rams quickly win the ball and play forward gaining an early corner just a few minutes on the clock and Rams have a second corner. Rams are showing some real intent from the start.
Rams having had a good ten-minute spell forcing Merstham back. Joe Taylor out wide left puts in a super cross, if only Rams had someone in the area. Benny Bioletti down the wing crosses for Jack S Paxman to strike, blocked by Harry Pointing for Rams third corner.
Merstham seem to have weathered the storm and start to build, going on their first attack, a through ball for Oliver Khinda sees him go through on goal but he’s unable to get a shot away and the attack breaks down.
Quarter of an hour in and Taylor earns Rams a fourth corner played in high toward the back post by Crain Stone, rises but heads over.
Abel Vendrells with a turn of pace beats Rams Dan Johnson, goes through and forces an excellent save from Tom Hadler low to his right, earning Merstham their first corner. Rams clear and try to get out from the back. The ball won back by Merstham, played out to the left and instantly crossed over toward the back post, a brilliant diving header from an unmarked Korrey Henry to finish off the move.
Rams continue to go forward with Lee Martin firing a curling shot, only to be headed away by captain marvel Dean Gunner saving a certain equaliser.
Twenty sixth minute, Rams give away a needless free kick just inside their own half and wide to the right. Merstham casually float the ball into the Rams area and Charlie Greenwood with a perfectly timed leap heads the ball back across Hadler and into the bottom corner putting Merstham two goals to the good.
Rams look out of sorts as they try to get back into the game. Jack S Paxman going through is pulled back by Tobi Ogundega just outside the penalty area, Lee Martin and Alfie Paxman over the ball, just left of centre, Martin strikes toward the keeper’s right, a wonderful save from Endurance Johnson keeps Rams out.
A fifth Rams corner comes in and another brilliant save from Johnson this time with his feet. A scramble in the area and a final shot blocked by Pointing.
Rams are still having the majority of possession but every time they get into a shooting position either Pointing or Gunner seem to be in the way.
Merstham seem to be using Vendrells as their main outlet. He’s a willing runner up front and is seeing a lot of ball as Merstham defend deeply. Just prior to half time Merstham win a ball in midfield, swiftly moving the ball on to Vendrells, he outpaces Stone and gets a shot away forcing Hadler to save low to his right for a corner.
Rams make an early change at the start of the second half as Tijan Jadama replaces Lee Martin, Jadama moves into a more attacking position as Rams change formation as they try to get back in the game.
Forty sixth, Rams lose the ball and Merstham quickly play through to Vendrells, although he’s wide right he still manages a shot, albeit high. The more Rams press the more space seems to be opening up for Vendrells. A long ball forward from Pointing finds Vendrells again, this time he beats Jack A Paxman, he shoots again, this time Hadler saves.
Merstham look dangerous every time they hit on the break, Vendrells having far too many opportunities.
Although Rams are clearly trying, Gunner is marshalling his troops so well, there’s no way that the Merstham defence will be broken, with all eleven men behind the ball and Rams running out of ideas.
Merstham make a change up front as Henry, who has made a lot of runs trying to keep pace with Vendrells, is replaced by Lorenzo Lewis with just over an hour played. Rams also make a change as Wes Hennessey replaces Jack Parter as Rams go into attack mode.
No matter what effort Rams are putting in nothing is working and is being deflected, blocked or headed away, a wonderful defensive effort from Merstham.
One last change for the Rams as Deshane Dalling comes on for his debut replacing Bode Anidugbe.
As the game ebbs away Vendrells pulls up and has to come off with Callum Corbin replacing him. Although Merstham have now lost their outlet, they stay strong and hold out for a two nil victory.
A thoroughly deserved victory for a gritty Merstham side.
RFSA Player of the match: Jack A Paxman
Supporters Player of the month Tom Hadler (pictured below)
RAMS: 1Tom Hadler, 3Jack Parter, 5Craig Stone, 6Bode Anidugbe, 7Benny Bioletti, 8Jack A Paxman, 9Joe Taylor, 11Alfie Paxman, 15Lee Martin , 16Jack S Paxman , 18Dan Johnson
Subs: 4Sinnkaye Christie, 12Deshane Dalling, 13Archie Simmons, 19Wes Hennessey, 20Tijan Jadama
MERSTHAM:1Endurance Johnson, 2Oliver Khinda, 3Jude Molloy, 4Richie Mbele, 5Harry Pointing, 6Dean Gunner, 15Tobi Ogundega , 8Charlie Greenwood, 9Korrey Henry, 10Lee Lewis, 11Abel Vendrells
Subs: 12Billy Oram, 14Callum Corbin, 16Tom Collins, 17Aaron Lamont, 18Lorenzo Lewis
Ramsgate next in action:
Tue 13 Feb A Horndean Isthmian South East 7.45pm
Sat 17 Feb H Broadbridge Heath Isthmian South East 3pm
Sat 24 Feb A East Grinstead Town Isthmian South East 3pm
For away travel contact Steve Miller on 07508-364101