Cray Wanderers finish their February Bostik South-East League fixtures on Saturday looking to extend a nine game unbeaten run and their lead at the top of the table at Ramsgate. Kick off at Southwood Road is 3pm.
This match sees two sides in good form with Ramsgate looking rejuvenated under the management of Nick Davis and have lost two out of the last eight.
Cray made it three straight wins in February last Saturday with a 3-0 win at home to Guernsey which put the Wands 16 points clear at the top, with 2nd placed Ashford United not in action. A purple patch of quality football from Cray saw three goals before half time, a superb strike from Junior Dadson, his fifth goal in three games, a clever tap in from ex-Ramsgate man Joe Taylor and a fine finish from Bradley Pritchard wrapped the game up before half time.
The only down side to the game at the time was the last minute red card for Tom Phipp which following an appeal to the FA and the use of video evidence, the offence was cleared and with it a potential four game ban. Despite, injuries to key players at times during the season including recently the likes of Barney Williams, Aaron Rhule and for much of the season, Michael Power, the side have coped tremendously well and the consistency of picking up points has been very impressive.
The Wands have a week sabbatical themselves next Saturday so will be looking to end February on a high but will have their work cut out against a strong Ramsgate side. The Rams were of only three teams to take a point off Cray at Hayes Lane at the end of November in a goalless draw, where Cray were down to ten men for close to an hour.
Since then Nick Davis took over and after four straight league defeats, a 1-0 win at home to Faversham Town on 29th December started a strong run of form with five wins, one draw and two defeats. They were beaten in their last league match, 0-1 at East Grinstead Town last Saturday. They are currently ninth on 33 points. The two sides also met very early in the season in the Kent Senior Cup at Hayes Lane with Cray winning 2-1 with a Freddie Parker double after Aaron Milbank gave Ramsgate the lead.
Ramsgate’s home form has been good of late with wins against Whitstable Town (4-1), East Grinstead Town (3-2), Faversham Town (1-0), Sittingbourne (4-0) and Greenwich Borough (3-1). They drew with Horsham (0-0), Hythe Town (1-1) and Guernsey (2-2). They were beaten by Hastings United (2-3), Herne Bay (4-5), Sevenoaks Town (1-3) and Ashford United (1-3). Away from home they won at Sittingbourne (1-0), Greenwich Borough (2-1), Haywards Heath Town (3-2) and Herne Bay (5-1). They drew at Whyteleafe, Phoenix Sports and Cray Wanderers and lost at VCD Athletic, Guernsey, Three Bridges, Whitstable Town, Horsham and East Grinstead Town. Leading scorer is Rory Smith with 12 league goals.
The last time the two sides met at Ramsgate was just over a year ago on 10th February, 2018 and Cray were 2-1 winners with two late first half goals from Power and Brandon Scott scoring for Cray. Ramsgate pulled a goal back through Smith and Lea Dawson was sent off just after the hour but Cray held on to the win. The overall record between the sides in league football in 61 games, Cray have won 27, Ramsgate 19 and 15 draws.
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 finished 16th last season.
With February going through something of a mild spell for weather, this could be a great time to be at the coast and watching what should be a tremendous game of football.
DIRECTIONS TO RAMSGATE FC
Ramsgate CT11 0AN
Adults – £10.00
Concessions (60+ & Students & Unemployed) – £6.00
Juniors (12-16) – £1.00
Accompanied under 12’s – Free
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 57 minutes past the hour. The journey takes 1 hr 42 minutes. You can catch a 27 minutes past train which requires a change at Rochester. Returns from Ramsgate direct to Bromley South are at 53 past the hour. The 20 past train is a high speed service which requires a change of train at Faversham.
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.