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/ Young Blues Enjoy Thanet Derby Win
Young Blues Enjoy Thanet Derby Win
Report by Ant Coombes
Whilst it must be said that the Thanet Youth Derby is not listed in any compendiums on football rivalries, but it is a fair assumption that were circumstances different, there'd have been more than the smattering of hardy souls in attendance at the Southwood Stadium for this Bluefin Sports Insurance development league fixture. A bitterly cold evening just a couple of weeks before christmas was never going to lure the casual fan away from their chestnuts, and - truth be told - it could be argued that they made the right choice.
An experienced Ramsgate side awaited the Young Blues, and it was never going to be one for the purists. Jay Stubberfield was missing a host of regulars, including Henry Ikeije, Adekunle Bakare, and Jack Fenton, whilst The Rams named former 'Gate custodian Lewis Mitchell, and one time Gillingham striker Aaron Millbank in their starting XI - the latter having registered 18 goals in 24 games for the Ramsgate first team since returning to his home town club.
"We only score good goals". Stubberfield was heard telling his side this just before kick off, presumably in expectation of a scrappy game. This quote was exemplified by a cracking strike from Man of the Match James O'Hallaran in the opening minute - the ball falling to him 20 yards out and his half volley flew low into Mitchell's net courtesy of the inside of his left hand post.
O'Hallaran was involved again almost immediately as Margate nearly made it 2-0 straight from The Rams kick off. Racing away down the right hand side, he skinned the last man before drilling the ball dangerously across the 6 yards box but the home side were able to clear their lines.
Margate were seeing plenty of the ball in dangerous areas, and in the 7th minute it was Harrison Hume who went close to adding a second. Having cleverly sidestepped his man and found himself an opening, he forced a fine save from Mitchell after pulling the trigger from the edge of the box - a full length save low to his right to deny his former teammate.
Stubberfield had opted for a 3 man defence for this game, perhaps to nullify the threat of Millbank, and to compensate for the pitch - although it has to be said that the turf had held up pretty well to the recent wintry conditions. However, whilst the back 3 were dealing with all that was thrown at them, the home side were expoiting the extra space they were being afforded down the wings. Their right winger had pace to burn, whilst on the other side Harvey Killick was being tested more than he was perhaps used to, with a tricky winger with two quick feet.
It was from an attack down the Ramsgate right that Margate received their first real scare in the 9th minute. The winger got to the dead ball line before pulling the ball into the danger area. With bodies flying in on the end of it, it was a relief when the ball trickled wide, and a goal kick awarded.
The home side were finding their rhythm, and Tom Lindsey was called upon in the heart of the Gate defence to bravely charge down a goalbound effort, before Jack Bray was nearly caught trying to shepherd the ball behind, but as he recovered position he was impeded and the resultant free kick enabled his side to clear their lines.
Margate were still looking dangerous, though, and two chances in as many minutes went begging - firstly in the 19th minute when Bradley Rudd's effort from the edge of the box was blocked, and then when Sidney Warden hit the bar with a looping header from a fine left wing cross.
Warden and Joe Ford were both unsuccessful with long range efforts as the half wore on, before the Gate youngsters were rewarded for their efforts with a second goal just two minutes from the end of the half. As Ramsgate cleared their lines, Warden showed why he is one of the hottest prospects in non-league football as a moment of sheer improvisation doubled his side's lead. Mitchell was well off his line, but take nothing away from Warden who clipped the ball over him and into the roof of the net from 35 yards.
HALF TIME: Ramsgate U23 0-2 Margate U23
Ramsgate came out all guns blazing in the second half, with Margate seemingly content to sit back on their lead. It was a fiery opening quarter of an hour to the half, with tackles flying in from both sides.
It took until the 63rd minute for the blues to get on the ascendancy, and from another late challenge they were awarded a free kick 20 yards from goal. The effort, however, was wasted as it was fired straight into the wall...and less than 10 seconds later it was 2-1 - a lightning break from the Rams totally stunned the visitors as it was worked first out to the left, and then into the midde for the finish to give Tommy Taylor no chance in The Gate goal.
Evidence of the nature of the second half was provided with the award of 7 minutes of stoppage time at the end which was well played out by Stubberfield's boys, holding the ball in the corners and frustrating their hosts.
3 points in what is a rare league outing for Stubberfields's Striplings this season - closing the gap on the Rams in third place with some 4 games in hand - and a whopping 6 over leaders Hastings. Their FA Youth Cup exertions have led to a fixture backlog, with the next game coming on Thursday as we renew acquaintance with Greenwich Borough at Hartsdown Park.
FULL TIME: Ramsgate U23 1-2 Margate U23
Starting line up: Tommy Taylor, Harvey Killick, Jardell Conteh, Tom Lindsey, Ben Fitchett, Jack Bray, Bradley Rudd, Joe Ford, Sid Warden, Harrison Hume, James O’Halloran
Subs: Harry Priddle, Ziyad Ghali, John Brown, Connor Miller
Saturday, 09 December 2017
By Ryan Day