Cray Wanderers look to get back to winning ways on Saturday as they travel to Kent for the second successive away game to take on Ramsgate. Kick off at the Southwood Stadium is 3pm.
Cray at least stopped a two game losing run with a draw last weekend with East Grinstead Town at Hayes Lane on Saturday with a side that was not at full strength through injuries and suspensions.
One good thing perhaps from the last three weeks has been that the league position hasn’t changed and Cray remain 2nd in the Bostik South with Lewes having drawn their last two games not quite pulling away at the top. However, Carshalton Athletic, Greenwich Borough, Walton Casuals and Corinthian Casuals have now closed the gap behind and this is the stage of the season where things get very interesting and you start to get the feeling who is going to be celebrating at the end of the season. With Lewes at home to Carshalton Athletic on Saturday this could be a pivotal day in the promotion race.
The Wands will hope to have Barney Williams and Mitchell Nelson available after their two game suspensions but Aaron Rhule still has one more match of his four game ban to go but hopefully can return for next Saturday’s huge game with Carshalton Athletic.
Tony Russell has a very strong belief in the honesty of his group of players and that they can bounce back from their first real sticky patch of the season.
Michael Power’s goal last Saturay was his 17th in the league this season but will face competition from Ramsgate who have Rory Smith and Alfie Paxman both on 14 league goals in the race for the Golden Boot.
Lloyd Blackman’s Ramsgate side lie 19th in the Bostik South table with 31 points and have been on a bad run without a win in the last eight games since a 2-0 win at home to Lewes in December. Last Saturday they lost 0-1 at in-form Whyteleafe. Their scheduled midweek game at Sittingbourne was postponed.
When the two sides met on 29th November on a bitterly cold night at Hayes Lane Cray were on fire at that time and won 5-1 with Power scoring a hat-trick and Nelson and Rhule getting on the scoresheet. Ramsgate showed some positive moments in attack at times and Smith replied for the Rams. They have a very young side full of pace and will possess an attacking threat.
Their season began indifferently with just one win in their first six games but picked up sufficient points over the next three months to leave them well clear of the relegation place. At home they have beaten Faversham Town (3-2), Horsham (1-0), Ashford United (3-0), Whyteleafe (4-1), Herne Bay (2-1) and Lewes (2-0). Ramsgate drew with Walton Casuals (2-2), Guernsey (0-0), Hythe Town (2-2) and Shoreham (3-3). They lost at home to Phoenix Sports (1-3), Hastings United (1-2), South Park (1-3), VCD Athletic (0-1), Greenwich Borough (1-2), and Thamesmead Town (2-3). Away from home they won at Faversham Town (2-1) and Thamesmead Town (3-1) and drew at Carshalton Athletic, Molesey and Chipstead. They lost their other games at Hythe Town, Ashford United, Greenwich Borough, Phoenix Sports, Corinthian Casuals, VCD Athletic, Cray Wanderers, Hastings United, East Grinstead Town, Walton Casuals and Whyteleafe.
The last time we met at Ramsgate was on 6th September 2016 when the game finished in a very lively 2-2 draw with Karl Dent and Lea Dawson scoring for Cray with Paxman and Luke Girt scoring that night for Ramsgate. The overall record is P 59 W 26 D 14 L 19.
Ramsgate were quite a strong side in the old Kent League winning the league three times in the late forties-mid fifties. They joined the Southern League after the collapse of the Kent League before returning to the rejuvenated league in 1976. They remained in the Kent League until 2004-05 when they won the title and were promoted to the Isthmian South for the first time. There they met Cray in the 2005-06 season and won the title at the first attempt. They remained in the Isthmian Premier for three seasons, reaching the playoff semi final in 2007-08 losing to Staines Town but were relegated the following season. They have been members of the Isthmian South since then and although usually finishing mid-table are quite a big name at this level and have a habit of producing some very good young players and can rise to the occasion.
If anything has been proved the last two weeks is that there are no dead cert games in this league and every win has to be well earned and all teams respected. It promises to be a chilly afternoon but a very competitive and tough game.
DIRECTIONS TO RAMSGATE FC
Ramsgate CT11 0AN
Approach Ramsgate from the west via A299 (Canterbury/London) or A256 (Dover/Folkestone) to Lord of Manor roundabout. Follow the signpost to Ramsgate along Canterbury Road East, counting via 2nd exit of the 1st roundabout. At the 2nd roundabout, continues towards Ramsgate on London Road (2nd exit). Take the 3rd turning on the left, into St Mildred’s Avenue, then 1st left into Queen Bertha Road. After the right hand bend, take left into Southwood Road, and 1st left into Prices Ave. The stadium is at the end of Prices Avenue. There is ample free parking at the ground or on the surrounding streets.
The nearest railway station is Ramsgate, which is probably 10-15 minutes walk away. When you come out of the station turn right, and walk along Wilfred Road (past the sorting office) and straight on at the traffic lights at the junction with St Lawrence Park Road into Grange Road. Follow Grange Road until you get to shopping centre and at Zebra crossing turn right into Southwood Road. Go up Southwood road, following road round to right at the top, then turn 1st left into Prices Avenue.
For those going by train from Bromley South direct trains to Ramsgate leave at 53 minutes past the hour. The journey takes 1 hr 42 minutes. You can catch a 23 minutes past train which requires a change at Rochester. Returns from Ramgate direct to Bromley South are at 54 past the hour. The 20 past train is a high speed service which requires a change of train at Faversham or Gillingham.
THE CRAY MASSIVE ON TOUR – PART 2 OF OUR KENTISH TOUR
You should find quite a few pubs in and around Ramsgate itself. Perhaps the nearest to the ground are the Australian Arms and the St Lawrence Tavern in the High Street. Otherwise near the sea front are the Belle Vue Tavern and the Pegwell Bay Hotel.
As a popular seaside resort you shouldn’t struggle to find a Fish and Chip Shop in Ramsgate. The most recommended is the Sunrise in Queen Street (CT11 9DR) but there is also the Best Fish Bar in the High Street.
For lovers of Indian and Chinese food there is the St Lawrence Tandoori Restaurant in the High Street and the Panorama Chinese restaurant in Queen Street.
I’m sure many of you would have been to Ramsgate at some point in time perhaps on a family holiday, on business or to catch a cross channel ferry. It lies in the East of the county and is part of the area of Thanet which includes Margate (perhaps Ramsgate’s more glamorous neighbour) and Broadstairs. A major sea port and the home of the only Royal Harbour in the UK and had a big bearing during the Napoleonic Wars and the Dunkirk evacuation where the harbour was a starting point for the mission mainly for the small boats. There is also an airfield at Manston which was an RAF base during the First World War and is now the Kent International Airport.
It is mostly known for its seacoast and the Ramsgate Main Sands which is major blue flag winning beach. It was also a destination for cross channel ferries to Ostende until 2013 and has a 700 berth Marina.
There is a lot of tourism history in the Thanet area of Kent and as a Saturday you could make a day of it perhaps walking the four miles from Margate to Ramsgate with Broadstairs inbetween.