Match Report: Guernsey 2 - 1 Ramsgate FC
It's that day in the season when the Rams go international and head to Guernsey but on this occasion the Green Lions came out on top for only the 2nd time in the 10 meetings of the two sides, of which the reds have won 6, leaving the Rams to fly home without any points.
Both sides moved the ball smartly over the 3G surface from the start, and an early effort by the Green Lions’ new 6’ striker Will Fazakerley was easily gathered by Luke Watkins, while Rory Smith’s 6th minute shot had caught a deflection that favoured home ‘keeper Callum Stanton, re-signed on loan from AFC Bournemouth. Guernsey took an early lead when in the 7th minute the lineman's flag stayed down allowing Kyle Smith, who had been lively down the left from the start, to go 1-on-1 with Luke Watkins and the striker made the most of it. Billy Munday replaced TJ Jadama after 10 minutes, the latter starting to struggle owing to the lingering effects of the heavy landing in the Whitstable game on Bank Holiday Monday. In the 12th minute Tom De La Mare combined with Kyle Smith in the area, but the Rams’ defence blocked and cleared, while 5 minutes later a Ramsgate corner caught the head of Fazakerley and Stanton had to react quickly to punch it away from Luke Wheatley’s head, but when Chapman put the ball back in it went out for another corner. This was cleared as far as the half-way line, where Munday floated it back into the danger zone and Rory Smith’s header nearly levelled the score, but again it was scrambled behind for a corner.
In the 28th minute Fazakerley was putting pressure on Luke Watkins, who had to come out of his area to clear, and although the danger seemed to have passed the clearance dropped to young Charlton Gauvain who tried to take advantage of the ‘keeper being off his line with a 40yd lob – but Watkins managed to get back to push the goal-bound ball past the post for a corner. On 31 a cross from the right fell to Sam Lawford right in front of goal, but his shot caught a deflection from De La Mare and went over. Tom Chapman beat the offside trap in the 41st minute and he cut inside and lobbed Stanton, but De La Mare was on hand at the far post and put the ball out for a Ramsgate throw. Two minutes later and a speculative effort by Gauvain was well over and rising, and in the final minute of the half Rory Smith’s freekick for yet another foul on Aaron Millbank was blocked and came out to Lawford, whose volley was deflected over for the first of three corners in quick succession as the clock ran down.
Within 2 minutes of the restart the Rams almost equalised again, when a ball forward found Rory Smith, who passed it to Millbank to his left and the resulting volley called for a top drawer reaction from Stanton to block it, and while Millbank was quick to latch onto the 2nd ball this time it went just over the bar. On 50 Thomas Dodds’ blatant foul on Chapman was penalised by a freekick alone, and after the referee insisted the first ‘quick’ freekick was re-taken, Munday’s shot from outside the area sailed over. Guernsey continued to break on the counter, but those attacks that did not end with forward balls going out for a goal kick were thwarted by the back four or Watkins. With 57 played the Rams had another good chance when, after an interchange between Jake Mackenzie, Chapman and Smith, an overhead kick by Kyron Lightfoot kept the ball in play and a header from MIllbank was snatched form under the crossbar by Stanton. On the hour mark Munday was brought down by Frank Tobin, but the 25yd freekick by Rory Smith was well-held by Stanton and the counter saw the ball forward release Gauvain to go 1 on 1 with the out-rushing Watkins, and although the ’keeper only got his fingertips to the lob he managed to turn and catch the ball before it crossed the line. Four minutes later and Chapman found Rory Smith, but his shot was deflected out by Dodds for a corner, and a minute later a cross from the right wing by Lightfoot was headed down by De La Mare allowing Millbank a volley on the turn, but again a great reaction block from Stanton.
Millbank was caught by a late challenge by Dodd on 67, and after the ball was crossed toward the left flank he had managed to run into the area, but just failed to connect with his head on the ball in. With 15 to go Chapman received the ball on the half-way line and ran past 3 up the left and then cut inside as a 4th put the challenge in, and his shot under pressure across the goal beat Stanton but went just outside the far post. On 81 the Rams had a freekick for Dodds’ handball just outside the area on the right, but Craig Young blocked it at the near post. Almost immediately Harry Stannard broke down the left but his 25yd shot was over, after which Mackenzie’s attempt was blocked at the near post. Moments later a great drive from Charlie Dickens from well outside the area was only just parried by Stanton, who managed to gather himself in time to catch the second ball from Lightfoot on the right. The Rams were piling on the pressure now and on 87 Chapman was countering quickly when, after a couple of lunges from behind, Seb Skillen scythed him down and was booked. The crowd were confused when Chapman managed to stand and re-join the fray, clearly unaware that if you are fouled and your opponent is booked you do not need to go off after treatment, however the 35yd freekick was over the bar. In the 89th minute Gauvain tried a very similar long-range lob to that in the 28th minute with Watkins off his line, but this time from half-way, and on this occasion it was third time lucky as the ‘keeper didn’t get back in time (perhaps with the sun affecting Watkins’ judgement of the flight of the ball). From the restart the Rams forced a corner, which Lightfoot played short to Harry Stannard, who turned his man and passed another before firing past Stanton into the top right corner to get a goal back. Guernsey tried to keep the ball near to the corner flag for a fair chunk of stoppage time, and when they could the Rams tried to chase an equaliser, and although they forced another diving save from Stanton, Guernsey had done enough to get all the points.
Guernsey: Callum Stanton, Tom De La Mare, Jamie Dodd (c), Thomas Dodds, Frank Tobin, Kieran Mahon (Seb Skillen 75’), Dave Rihoy, Charlton Gauvain, Craig Young, Kyle Smith (Paris Pereira 61’), Will Fazakerley (Carlos Canha 73’). Not used: Keanu Marsh, Liam Mahon.
Ramsgate: Luke Watkins, Jake MacKenzie, Jack Penny, Jacob Mensah, Luke Wheatley (c), Tijan Jadama (Billy Munday 10’), Tom Chapman, Charlie Dickens, Aaron Millbank, Rory Smith (Harry Stannard 77’), Sam Lawford (Kyron Lightfoot 53’). Not used: Ethan Madden, George Crimmen.