Ramsgate vs Cray Wanderers – Bostik League South-East – Saturday 16th February, 2019
Chapman 28, Carvalho 74
Cray Wanderers 2
Taylor 11, Dadson 51
Cray Wanderers continued their unbeaten start to 2019 and made it ten matches without defeat as the Bostik South-East league leaders fought out an entertaining 2-2 draw against Ramsgate at the Southwood Stadium.
The Wands remain 15 points clear at the top of the table and got off to a great start as Joe Taylor was on hand to tap in from Bradley Pritchard’s fine cross after just 11 minutes. Ramsgate though managed to get back into it on 28 minutes with a great finish from Tom Chapman, the first goal Cray have conceded in open play since 23rd December. Cray had chances to go back in front before half time but six minutes after the restart, Junior Dadson scored his sixth goal in four games to make it 2-1. Cray though were pegged back for a second time on 74 minutes when Gil Carvalho tapped in from close range and the two sides drew for the second time this season
Cray were looking to make it 4 wins in February before they have a weekend break next Saturday and from the side which beat Guernsey there were a couple of changes to Tony Russell’s side with Sean Roberts and Freddie Parker starting in place of Karl Dent and Jerome Federico.
Ramsgate have been in decent form themselves since late December and Nick Davis’ side began brightly and Ollie Gray hit a shot from distance which forced Nick Blue to make an early save. Then from a run down the right, Rory Smith saw an effort blocked and out to Gray whose effort was blocked behind for a corner.
Cray though were looking dangerous coming forward and almost took the lead in the eighth minute when former Ramsgate man, Joe Taylor made a good run forward and hit a decent strike from just inside the area which narrowly wide of the left post. Then from a corner down the left, Bradley Pritchard’s ball across was flicked on by Jay Leader and out to Tom Phipp but the ball was claimed by keeper Luke Watkins.
On 11 minutes though, Cray took the lead when good play by the ever industrious Pritchard down the right ended with a pinpoint cross to the far post where Taylor was on hand to head home just ahead of Junior Dadson and made if four goals in three games for the in-form striker.
Cray were beginning to take a bit of control of the game and from another left wing corner from Pritchard to the far post Taylor couldn’t quite get to the ball and Gray nodded the ball to Watkins. Ramsgate were still a threat in the game and Gil Carvalho down the left tested Blue with a low skidding drive on 25 minutes.
Three minutes later Ramsgate were back on level terms with an excellent goal from Tom Chapman after good work by Smith down the right who played a ball out to Chapman who from the edge of the area hit a sweet strike high into the top left hand corner and there could be no argument with the quality of the strike.
Ramsgate though led a charmed life in defence just after the half hour mark when Dadson got away down the left, seemed to take the ball round the keeper but his goalbound effort was cleared off the line first by Jacob Mensah, then the follow up was somehow deflected against the crossbar by a combination of defender and Watkins and then another follow up by Dadson was blocked by Luke Wheatley and out to Taylor whose shot was deflected behind by Mensah.
Before half time Cray had a couple of other opportunities to take the lead firstly from a right wing corner from Pritchard to the far post which was headed wide by Mitchell Nelson.
Then in stoppage time at the end of the half a Pritchard free kick out on the left was floated into the box and Jay Leader flicked the ball on to Taylor who from five yards somehow saw his goalbound effort pawed away superbly by Watkins.
Half Time: 1-1
Much like the first half, Ramsgate started well after the break and an early effort from Kane Rowland went through to Nick Blue and an effort from Gray was blocked.
Cray though were able to soak up that early pressure and broke away well from another Ramsgate attack to take the lead once again on 51 minutes when the ball came to Dadson, who cut in from the left and into the area and crashed home a superb finish into the bottom right corner of the net and Cray were off and running once again.
Cray had the bit between their teeth at this stage and Phipp curled an effort just over and a good move down the left saw Archie Johnson’s ball across find Dadson whose effort was claimed by Watkins.
Ramsgate were not out of the game though and nearly levelled once again when Rowland played in Chapman down the right and his ball across came to Carvalho who from a couple of yards seemed to miskick in front of goal and the ball eventually came back to Carvalho who shot over the top.
Cray continued to look for a third goal and Freddie Parker down the right set up Dadson down the right but flashed a shot wide.
On 74 minutes, Ramsgate drew level for a second time when Smith worked his way down the right and into the area. His ball across was helped on by Rowland and fell to Carvalho once again who this time made no mistake to turn the ball home from a couple of yards out.
Both sides now fancied their chances of winning the game and Jake MacKenzie curled a shot just over from outside the box for Ramsgate but Cray perhaps came closest to claiming the points.
A very patient build up down the right saw Phipp find Parker inside the area and as the keeper came to meet the ball played the ball across to the far post where Dadson set up Johnson who from just outside the area saw a goalbound shot saved by the foot of Watkins.
From here Taylor made a good run forward and into the area but Watkins did well to bravely block the ball and was cleared away.
Despite a few minutes of stoppage time and plenty of endeavour to try and win the game the match finished all square which isn’t a bad result for either side. Cray played well and created chances and didn’t always get the luck in front of goal when needed. Ramsgate had played well and contributed to an excellent game and you sense that they could end the season strongly as they are good going forward and very resolute at the back.
Cray now take a short break at the end of February with a 15 point lead at the top and so have a bit of comfort before returning to league action at Phoenix Sports on 2nd March and a busy month in which Cray face three of the current top 5. For now though the players deserve enormous credit for what they have achieved so far and to come to Ramsgate and pick up a point is by no means a bad result and helps maintain a good unbeaten run.
Cray Wanderers: Nick Blue, Ben Mundele, Archie Johnson, Jay Leader, Mitchell Nelson (Capt.), Bradley Pritchard, Sean Roberts (Karl Dent, 86), Tom Phipp, Joe Taylor, Junior Dadson, Freddie Parker: Subs: Jerome Federico, Daniel Uchechi, Marcus Evans, Lee Lewis
Booked: Johnson, Roberts
Ramsgate: Luke Watkins, Jake MacKenzie (Charlie Dickens, 80), Rob Saunders, Jacob Mensah, Luke Wheatley (Capt.), Connor Saunders (Tijan Jadama, 58), Tom Chapman, Ollie Gray, Kane Rowland, Rory Smith (Harry Stannard, 86), Gil Carvalho: Sub: Ryan Birch
Booked: Smith, MacKenzie, Rowland
Referee: Joe Stokes
Assistants: George Lowe, Nick Dunn