Tony Rickson reports
Saturday 19th January 2019
By Tony Rickson
Bostik League South East Division
Ramsgate (2) 4 (Millbank 2, Rowland 7, Smith 58, Chapman 76) Sittingbourne (0) 0. Attendance: 245
Ramsgate: Luke Watkins, Jake Mackenzie, Rob Saunders, Jacob Mensah, George Crimmen, Connor Saunders (Tigan Jadama, 67 min), Tom Chapman (Yellow card) (Harry Stannard, 75 min), Ollie Gray, Aaron Millbank, Rory Smith (Jack Penny, 81 min), Kane Rowland. Subs not used: Charlie Dickens, Luke Wheatley.
Sittingbourne: Patrick Lee, Ardal Ndew (Rob Lofting, 45 min), Chris Webber, Arben Muskaj, Ben Fitchett (Yellow card), Lewis Chambers, Henry Woods, Tommie Fagg, Tom Loynes (Keith Orenuga, 36 min) (Izzy Adebayo, 72 min), Billy Lewins, Liam Middleton. Subs not used: Khalel McFarlane, Matt Funnell.
Referee: Kane Dempster. Assistants: Jamie Eacott, Peter Conn.
Photographs by Ken Medwyn.
Chris Lynch must have dreamt of a start like this to his first game as Sittingbourne manager.
Tom Loynes and Liam Middleton combining on the left and Billy Lewins finding space inside the box to fire home a drive that the Ramsgate keeper could only keep out at full stretch.
All this with less than a minute played.
And just as quickly the dream turned into a nightmare with Ramsgate scoring twice in the first seven minutes to effectively the kill the game there and then.
Sittingbourne hadn’t exactly gone into the game with high hopes, but Lynch had made an impressive start with new signings and giving the whole club fresh impetus.
There was bound to be a settling-in period but Ramsgate were in no mood to give them time for that. They were quick, effective and motivated under the management of ex-Sittingbourne boss Nick Davis, and looked pretty good for a mid-table side.
Following the loss of so many players from the squad, Sittingbourne had needed reinforcements and four players were blooded in this game – defenders Manny Ndew and Arben Muskaj, midfielder Lewins and left-sided attacker Middleton.
And they still had loyal and hard-working stalwarts who have stuck with the club during a bad spell like Chris Webber, Tom Loynes, Tommie Fagg, Lewis Chambers, Ben Fitchett and Patrick Lee to call upon.
But on a chilly afternoon near the coast, they were swept aside early doors and Ramsgate were ahead in just two minutes. A blocked clearance fell nicely for Kane Rowland, on loan from Folkestone, and he sent Millbank through to shoot past Lee and inside the far post.
Just a few minutes later and Sittingbourne shot themselves in the foot.
Lee tried to play a short goal-kick out to Fitchett and Rowland – a familiar face to Sittingbourne after all his goals for them last season – reacted quickest to nip in and score an easy goal.
Unbeaten in their last few games, confident Ramsgate continued to pour forward and one shot hit the top of the bar, Lee made a couple of good saves from Rowland and George Crimmen – another ex-Brickie – got the ball in from a long throw into the six-yard box only for the referee to rule it out for a foul on Lee.
Sittingbourne were just trying to keep in it and mount the occasional counter-attack and Fitchett saw his effort cleared off the line and Henry Woods went close with a header.
Loynes, who had been playing as the main striker in his first game for a month because of injury, limped off in the first half and although Sittingbourne stuck manfully to their task, there was clearly quite a gap between themselves and Ramsgate.
Not on the terraces, though, where Sittingbourne’s fans were again outstanding and unstinting in their support – after all, they’d seem their team lose 5-0 last time out, and it must be tough to stay so optimistic as they watched another heavy defeat.
Ramsgate added a third just before the hour when Smith’s shot went in off Lee, and they completed the scoring on 76 minutes when Chapman was sent clear in the inside-left channel and went round the advancing keeper to score.
Sittingbourne threaded together the occasional decent second half move, with half-time substitute Rob Lofting impressing and Lewins running hard for the whole 90 minutes, but to be fair they were beaten by comfortably the better side.
Plenty for new boss Lynch to consider though this, when all’s said and done, was only his first game in charge, and it was never going to be an easy one. So plenty for him to do in the next few weeks to build a side capable of getting away from the relegation-threatened bottom place.