Rams Coast To Holiday Win

Bostik League South East
Monday August 27 2018 15.00

This Bank Holiday fixture saw Whitstable slump to a bad defeat, despite leading at half time. A reshuffled Whitstable team started brightly enough and created several early chances, before Stuart West headed them in front midway through the first half. That was as good as it got however and Whitstable seemed happy to concede possession once ahead and Ramsgate started to get on top, but they failed to hit the target with any of their opportunities and Whitstable held on to the lead until the break, although the warning signs were apparent. The second half performance by Whitstable was very poor and once Rory Smith headed the equaliser soon after the restart, the result was rarely in doubt. Smith soon added a second after being played in by Tom Chapman. West did have a good chance when he was put through with just Luke Watkins to beat, but shot wide. Smith completed his hat-trick shortly afterwards when Whitstable gave the ball away and Aaron Millbank finished off a good move to complete the scoring, as Whitstable looked in vain for an offside flag. Ramsgate were denied a fifth when Chapman took the ball around Dan Eason, but his shot was cleared off the line.

Whitstable had a good record in matches against Ramsgate in recent years, but travelled to this game with some injury problems and both Tom Bryant and Ricky Freeman were unable to play. Manager Scott Porter changed the usual formation and played with a back four, using Stuart West in a forward role alongside Tom Walmsley. This was only the second league game for Whitstable who had lost their opener at Cray Wanderers, whereas the Rams had no points from their first two games. The home team contained five players who had previously featured for Whitstable in Luke Watkins, Jake Mackenzie, Tijan Jadama, George Crimmen and Harry Stannard.

It was the visitors that started the better, with a couple of promising breaks down the right, but they were unable to find the finishing touch, although one header had to be cleared off the line following a corner. Aaron Millbank did have two attempts from distance at the other end, but they both sailed well over the top. In the 22nd minute, some hesitant Ramsgate defending gave Wright the chance to send over a perfect cross for West to head firmly past Watkins and into the far corner to give Whitstable the lead. There were few other chances in the half, although Whitstable did concede a number of free kicks, with Chris Saunders and Josh Burchell both being shown yellow cards. As the half progressed, Whitstable started to give the ball away too easily, allowing the home team back into the game, but they failed to register any shots on target. Eason was almost beaten by a rebound off his own defender, but was just able to catch the ball before it went over him. The teams left the field at half time with Whitstable 1-0 ahead, but the feeling was that they would need to improve again after the break to return home with the points.

Whitstable are on the attack in the opening minutes
Stuart West heads towards goal
The ball is in the net and Whitstable are 1-0 up

Soon after the restart however Mackenzie delivered a cross from the right and Smith beat Eason with a good diving header to equalise for the Rams. Walmsley was fouled in midfield and although play was initially allowed to continue, the free kick was then awarded just as Saunders appeared to be breaking clear and the Whitstable bench were warned for their vocal protests. On 58 minutes, Ramsgate were in front as Chapman brought the ball forward and passed to Smith who shot past a helpless Eason. Luke Wheatley and Teddy Nelson were both booked on the hour mark, before a poor clearance by Watkins went straight to Walmsley, who played in Wright, but his shot went past both the goalkeeper and the far post.

Ramsgate score their first
Jordan Wright see his shot go just past the far post

The home team were now well in control and went close on a couple of occasions, but then a good through ball sent West clear for Whitstable, but he was unable to find the right angle to beat Watkins and his shot went just wide of the near post. It was to be the last opportunity for the visitors to get back into the game and shortly afterwards when the ball was not properly cleared, Smith latched onto it and had no trouble beating Eason for the third time. Whitstable made two substitutions, but Ramsgate went close to a fourth when a header just missed the target. They did soon add a fourth when some quick passing eventually found Millbank in space. He looked as though he may have been offside, but he fired the ball into the net and there were few protests from the deflated Whitstable side. In the final minutes, Chapman ran through a static defence once more, but this time his shot was stopped on the line by Nelson after he had taken the ball past Eason. Whitstable substitute Charlie Smith almost got on the end of a ball over the home defence in stoppage time, but the danger was cleared and the visiting fans were quite relieved when the final whistle blew.

Luke Watkins saves this effort

It was overall a very disappointing display by Whitstable, who next face Ashford United at the Belmont and they will be hoping to get their injured players back ahead of another difficult test.

Ramsgate Whitstable
12 Attempts 5
5 On Target 3
4 Corners 1
2 Offside 3
20 Free Kicks Won 8

Luke Watkins, Jake Mackenzie, Jack Penny, Jacob Mensah, Luke Wheatley (c), Tijan Jadama, Tom Chapman (Harry Stannard 88), Charlie Dickens, Aaron Millbank, Rory Smith (Billy Munday 90+1), Sam Lawford (Kyron Lightfoot 83).
Subs (unused): Ethan Madden, George Crimmen.
Goals: Rory Smith 47, 58, 73, Aaron Millbank 81.
Yellow card: Luke Wheatley 60

Whitstable Town
Dan Eason, John Walker, Josh Burchell, Stuart West, Rob Gillman, Teddy Nelson, Jordan Wright, James Morrish (c), Tom Walmsley (Charlie Smith 76), Brett Ince (Nathan Hardwick 76), Chris Saunders (Jai McKinlay 78).
Subs (unused): Kyran Connolly, Tom Bryant.
Goal: Stuart West 22
Yellow cards: Chris Saunders 36, Josh Burchell 41, Teddy Nelson 60.

Attendance: 260
Referee: Peter Cruise
Assistants: Joe McKay & Thomas Fennelly