Pitching In Isthmian League

South East Division. Saturday 23rd March 2024

Ramsgate (The Rams) 7 Lancing 2

Attendance 1,109


The mood on the coach for the outward journey of 114 miles from Culver Road to the WW Martin Community Stadium, the home of Ramsgate, was distinctly more cheerful than the homeward leg, with a shell-shocked group of supporters, committee, players and management wondering what went wrong.

The Rams had slipped down the table, following their 1-0 loss away to Horndean, largely attributable to the condition of the playing surface, it would appear, and sit one point behind Cray Valley, occupying the top spot. The Rams did more than reverse their 4-2 loss at Culver Road and sent out a clear message to Cray Valley but the margin of their victory, Lancing’s heaviest defeat of the season, could not have been predicted.

Lancing were missing Knory Scott, away on international duty for Bermuda, Andrew Briggs, such a force in midfield, but unavailable, and George Taggart, not yet fully recovered from injury. Leon Fisher joined his twin Noel in the starting line-up for the first time.

The writing was on the wall as early as the 6th minute, by which time the Rams had raced into a 2-0 lead. Louis Rogers had already been called upon to make a good save, before lost possession in the midfield allowed Tijan Jadama to open the scoring with a low drive into the far corner. Three minutes later, 28 goal Joe Taylor had the ball in the net with a diving header at the far post.

Lancing changed things about at this point, with Alex Laing moving to right back and Charlie Bennet taking up his usually mid-field role.

Lancing showed some character by reducing the arrears on 14 minutes. A good build up on the right gave Alex Laing the space to deliver a cross to Lukas Franzen-Jones who laid the ball off to Destiny Ojo. He was upended before he could pull the trigger. Referee Jake Woodman had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Lukas Franzen – Jones made no mistake, converting the penalty.

Lancing’s joy was short lived as, almost immediately, another error led to a cross field pass being intercepted leading to a second goal from Jadama.

Louis Rogers prevented an almost certain goal with a fine save and then had to face a penalty from Joe Taylor. To everyone’s great surprise, the league’s leading marksman put his spot-kick wide.

Sam Bull came to his side’s rescue blocking a shot away for a corner. Lancing survived this and went up the other end with some good interplay between Ben Pope and Alex Laing with Laing finding Lukas Franzen-Jones at the edge of the box but Lancing’s leading scorer missed the target, the ball clearing the cross bar.

Lancing’s willingness to try and take the game to the Rams paid off as they again closed the gap, on 28 minutes. Lancing won the ball at the edge of the box and Ben Pope seized the opportunity to cut the Rams lead with a well struck finish.

The Rams continued to threaten the Lancing goal. Louis Rogers had to get down low to his right to keep out a free-kick. A corner followed and Lancing had to clear the ball away as it was about to cross the line. Alex Laing was brought down with a dangerous tackle but, to the astonishment of the Lancing following, referee Woodman chose not to take any action, apart from awarding a free kick.

The Rams threatened again but with Louis Rogers quickly off his line this was sufficient to force the shot to go wide. Lancing came close to drawing level with a cross in from Sam Bull which Charlie Bennett met with a deft touch but which had insufficient power to trouble keeper Hadler. Ben Pope did well to reach a long ball in behind from Charlie Bennett but his cross was cut out for a corner. Charlie Gibson floated a dangerous looking in-swinger from the right but it went behind without a Lancing player being able to get a touch. The Rams came closer with a corner on the stroke of half time which had Lancing clearing from the goal line.

Lancing were relieved to enter the second half with only a solitary goal separating the sides but, with only seven minutes gone, the Rams put a dent in Lancing’s optimism when another loose pass gifted Joe Taylor, who gave The Rams their fourth and his second.

Immediately afterwards Lancing made a triple substitution, bringing on Charlie Pitcher, Alex Plummer and Nicholas D’Arienzo for Destiny Ojo, Leon Fisher and Charlie Gibson. Pitcher was soon in the action, bringing the ball under instant control with the outside of his right foot, setting off towards goal before finishing powerfully. It was too hot for Hadler to hold but he was able to palm it down and gather it in.

Lancing presented the Rams with another gift. A poorly taken free kick resulted in the ball being played towards the Lancing box but, fortunately, Louis Rogers was again alert enough be off his line and win the race for the ball before clearing it upfield. Rogers was again to the rescue with a save at the near post following a short corner and punching the ball clear from another Rams corner.

The Rams were building up some momentum and Lancing were again guilty of some careless play allowing Lee Martin to finish well on 66 minutes.

Another penalty was awarded against Lancing and, this time, Joe Taylor made no mistake sending Louis Rogers to the right and finishing low to his left.

Although the game was out of reach at this stage, Lancing continued to look for goals. Nic D’Arienzo set up Charlie Bennett whose shot on the turn was just the wrong side of the upright. Charlie Pitcher did well to retain possession, despite a half stumble and picked out a pass to the overlapping Sam Bull whose low drive towards the near upright was well held by Hadler. Ben Pope was breaking towards goal but thrown off his stride by a blatant shove in the back but, yet again, referee Woodman saw nothing wrong.

The Rams were not resting on their laurels and Louis Rogers was again put to the test, to which he responded with a fingertip save to put the ball over and. in added time, reacted superbly to keep out a shot which took a wicked deflection.

A minimum of three added minutes was signalled and how sub Joe Turner was able to score in the sixth minute of added time is something of a puzzle.

Lancing have only themselves to blame for the magnitude of the Rams victory. Losing possession in vital areas and some misplaced passes were contributory factors, added to which, The Rams had rediscovered their shooting boots, not wasting many of the chances which fell their way. Lancing could thank Louis Rogers for preventing double figures. There was a feeling that the referee had been rather harsh towards Lancing after dishing out 4 cautions and only one to the Rams and that was awarded to one of their management team

Chichester’s 2-0 win against Sheppey puts them clear of Lancing by one point on 56, and into 4th place, Lancing dropping down to 5th but still in the play-off zone. Three Bridges beat Ashford and are breathing down Lancing’s neck on 52 points with a game in hand. Next in line come Chichester at Culver Road. The sides have met twice already, with Chichester triumphing 3-0 in the league and 5-1 in the Velocity cup. They come into this fixture with 6 wins out of six, having scored 15 goals with none conceded. The Lancing players know that this will be a tough challenge but they are ready for it.

Not many of the Lancing players stood out for Player of the Match. Louis Rogers was certainly a candidate but the clear majority went for Ben Pope. Ben put himself about energetically, fending off some robust challenges and scored an excellent goal. This is what influenced travelling committee and supporters. Good to see Ben getting recognition and another goal after a difficult period.


Dave Wilmott

Lancing Starting XI :

Louis Rogers, Alex Laing (Capt.),Jack Meeres, Sam Bull, Charlie Gibson (Nic D’Arienzo 54)m Leon Fisher (Alex Plummer 54), Destiny Ojo (Charlie Pitcher 54),Noel Fisher, Ben Pope, Lukas Franzen-Jones.


Unused subs: Dan Howick, Callum Erskine.


Lancing manager Dave Altendorff gave us his reaction: “We put in our worst performance of the season against Ramsgate which was a great shame because we didn’t show everyone what we are capable of in front of a big crowd. The goals were littered with basic mistakes and in truth we were lucky it was only 7 in the end.

“I take a big share of the responsibility however, we have been playing well in a 3-5-2 shape recently but I decided to revert back to the 4-3-3 that we played at the start of the season.

“This meant that we had a number of players deployed out of position and by the time we had made the necessary adjustments we found ourselves 2-0 down and had a mountain to climb.

“Funnily enough we had 3 great opportunities to draw level just before half time which might have made for a different team talk in either respective dressing room but in truth this would not have been a fair representation of the game so there’s no complaints from us – Ramsgate were the better side from start to finish.

“We were also without George Taggart, Knory Scott and Andrew Briggs and my young group found it difficult to cope in their absence. We hope to get all 3 players back in time for the away match vs Horndean but of course this depends on a number of external factors out of our control.

“In the meantime we need to dust ourselves down and regroup as we have an important home fixture against in-form Chichester this Saturday. We will look to get back to basics and focus on implementing our passing game and our aggressive high pressing style which was sadly lacking last weekend.

“I think when you play as expansively as we do you will get these freak results from time to time, but we believe in what we are doing and will not be looking to change anything radically in our remaining fixtures that’s for sure.”