Tonight Ramsgate made another evening rush hour trip into southeast London, with a visit to Bromley's Hayes Lane ground to play the re-arranged fixture with Cray Wanderers. However, with injuries and a couple of last-minute work issues, the Rams had to make do with a starting XI and 3 possible subs (including a 'keeper), and on top of this delays on the road meant the squad only arrived just over 1/2 hour before kickoff (which was not delayed).
So, the challenge of playing high-flying Cray appeared to be magnified, yet it was the Rams who had the best of the opening exchanges and home 'keeper Nick Blue had to make several saves early on, including a 9th minute volley from Alfie Paxman that he couldn't hold onto (but ended up going out for a corner). Cray's first chance came in the 12th minute when Aaron Rhule found his way through, but he screwed his shot well wide. The majority of the play remained in Cray's half, with the pace of the Rams' attack causing Cray problems, however the home side had another chance on 23 when a 25yd freekick for an alleged handball ended with a header well over the bar. Custodian of the Ramsgate goal was Daren Hawkes, making a guest appearance as Luke Watkins was one of the players unavailable, and he didn't have to touch the ball until the 37th minute, if you exclude him placing it for goalkicks. Unfortunately, Cray broke the deadlock in 1st half stoppage time, when centre forward Michael Power was allowed a free header from a corner.
The second half initially looked to be going the same way as the first, however a blatant foul in the area 4 minutes in allowed Power to get his 2nd of the night from the penalty spot. Less than 2 minutes later and the Rams pulled one back, when Rory Smith broke forward rapidly, and outpacing Ben Mundele fired low past Blue (pictured). On 55 the Rams nearly levelled the score, when after a handball denied Paxman the ball fell to Smith, but on this occasion Blue managed to turn his shot over the bar. Cray extended their lead 3 minutes later, when a corner was headed in at the near post by Mitchell Nelson. A second yellow ended Luke Wheatley's involvement and Cray made the extra amber shirt pay off, with Aaron Rhule getting a fourth 5 minutes later. Billy Lewins made his first appearance for the 1st team this season on 77, when he replaced Tom Chapman, but Power completed the scoring and his hat-trick with 5 minutes to go.
Ramsgate: Daren Hawkes, Jacob Mensah, Jack Penny, George Crimmen, Luke Wheatley, Tijan Jadama, Tom Chapman (Billy Lewins), Billy Munday, Rory Smith, Danny Lawrence, Alfie Paxman. Unused subs: Aaron Millbank, Lewis Mitchell.
On Saturday the Rams return to home action, with an east Kent derby against Herne Bay at 3pm.
Updated 13:40 - 11 Jan 2018 by Edward Lucas