After much deliberation, I decided to travel down to Ramsgate’s Southwood stadium for the Isthmian League South East Division tie with Burgess Hill Town Fc.
The welcome at Ramsgate was the warmest I’d had anywhere. My father has tasked me to get pin badges for him wherever I go to add to his collection. On many occasions I just get a “they’re on order” response. At Ramsgate the bar staff took me across the ground to a volunteer, who led me out to the club shop (temporarily relocated to the car park) where it was opened up for me to receive three badges.
The volunteer, apologies whose name I forget, said he works here voluntarily twice a week and talked with passion about the club, the new 3G pitch and the work it does forging a link with its youth sections. This warm approach and welcome was mirrored around the ground with staff and fans chatting to me.
I haven’t seen so many children and families at a non league game. Ramsgate is obviously a club with a mission! The club has play cages for children to play a fast and furious coaching challenge as well as a bouncy castle! Other clubs looking to raise their reach might want to mirror this! The crowd today was 540 up from an average crowd of 250 only three years ago at Ramsgate, which shows the strategy is working.
The ground benefits from a 3G pitch and a large main stand. there are covered standing areas behind each goal. I paid £2 for a copy of the match programme, which was colourful and well written.
The table, prior to Kick-off, showed a gulf between the teams. Ramsgate started the game in fourth place, with fourteen points from seven games, while Burgess Hill Town propped up the table, with just one point from six games.
The game opened with some fine passing play from Ramsgate but, against the run of play, after ten minutes Burgess Hill Town took a shock lead, through Number 9, Michael Uwezu.
The game was accompanied by the presence of a club dinosaur randomly chasing the young fans!!
On 20 minutes Burgess Hill Town, after again absorbing Ramsgate pressure, doubled their lead with a headed, second goal of the game, for Michael Uwezu.
Ramsgate’s number 14, Joshua Ajayi, caused problems for the Burgess Hill Town left back throughout the first half, despite being in obvious discomfort from a wrist injury.
On 45 minutes after battering at the Burgess Hill Town end unsuccessfully, Ramsgate grabbed a goal back to make it 1-2 at the break. Number 9, Jordan Chiedoze, let a shot fly from 25 yards which almost caught me off guard and led to the air raid siren celebration being sounded around the ground.
18 minutes into the second half, Ramsgate drew deservedly level, with a fine finish by Danny Lear, again drawing out the air raid siren celebration.
Almost two minutes later Burgess Hill Town were back in front, when Jaden Perez equalised, after the Ramsgate defence was left wide open.
At the death, on 90 minutes, Burgess Hill Town’s Max Miller scored to make it 2-4 and to seal what had seemed at kick off, an unlikely win for the away side.
This was an enjoyable and entertaining game. Ramsgate had enough possession to have secured a result but ultimately their defending allowed Burgess Hill Town to capitalise and secure three much needed points.