Isthmian League

Preview | Ramsgate (A)

It’s the proverbial ‘big game’.

2nd host 3rd for about the 850th time this season as Shaun Saunders’ side, fixated on that prized second spot, journey to Ramsgate’s Southwood Stadium on Saturday for the final road trip of the league season.

A coveted position as the eventual side sitting second will have guaranteed home advantage in both play off matches. Don’t forget, these are only one-off games. All is to play for.

Indeed, there easily could be further trips on the road to come, but as Whitehawk take things game by game, there’s little questioning the magnitude of this clash in Thanet.

‘The Rams’ 13-game unbeaten streak was brutally ended on Bank Holiday Monday at high-flying Chatham Town, who need only a point form their two remaining games to claim back-to-back promotions.

For the Hawks that confidence has swiftly returned after a frustrating week on the road was followed up with wins against Chichester City and Haywards Heath Town, making this a climax to a campaign for the ages.

Last time out

Following a rocky spell on their travels in recent weeks it was crucial Whitehawk came into Saturday’s meeting with Ramsgate in full vigour.

Flying out of the tunnel, the Hawks carved through an insipid Heath backline to strike twice in the opening 20 minutes. First through Rob O’Toole who slammed home the opener from close-range, before the red-hot Alfie Rogers recorded his third in as many matches with a deflected strike.

Byron Napper halved the deficit with an arrowed strike into the corner that left Luke Glover rooted to the spot, but there would be no further way through as the Hawks’ defence prevailed as the rains began to fall on a soggy Hanbury Stadium turf.

The hosts

Situated on that jagged bit of Kent not too far from the water’s edge, Ramsgate’s season has been as expected with Steve Lovell taking them to the top for much of the season.

That was, before a surprise change in manager saw centre-back Jamie Coyle take the reigns, and he continues to slot into the defence on a consistent basis.

Although unbeaten in 13 matches in all competitions prior to Monday’s meeting with Chatham, seven of those finished level with 3-3 draws at home to Faversham Town and Haywards Heath stunting their progress.

Without a win in four now as the prepare to face a Hawks side whose inconsistencies on the road have seen them without a win at any of the top-nine sides in the division. Oh, what a time it would be to change that.

Despite not scoring since the middle of February, Ashley Miller leads the goalscoring charts with 12 in the league, whilst Tijan Jadama is hot on his heels with 11.

Previous encounters

In the reverse fixture Ramsgate stole the show with a clinical 3-1 victory at The Enclosed Ground, charged by their brilliance on the counter that the Hawks simply could not deal with.

Nathan Cooper levelled things right after the interval, but breakaway goals from Miller and Kane Rowland made sure of three vital points.

The Hawks previous visit to Ramsgate was back in November 2021, when an early Omarr Lawson goal counted for little as the hosts again ran out 3-1 winners.

Since slipping down to this division, the two sides have faced each other on five occasions, with Whitehawk’s two wins both occurring on home soil.

Alfie Rogers pre-match interview

You can read what the man in form has to say ahead of tomorrow’s match by clicking this link:

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