Published: 06:00, 24 August 2021
Manager Matt Longhurst criticised the state of their opponents’ pitch after Ramsgate came from behind to progress in the FA Cup.
Rams won 2-1 at Hollands & Blair on Saturday to set up a first qualifying round tie away to Harrow Borough.
The visitors trailed their Southern Counties East hosts inside a minute when Jack Simon struck.
Jacob Russell saved a penalty to deny Blair a second before Rams battled back with Jordan Chiedozie’s spot-kick and Josh Ajayi’s late winner.
“It was a case of get through and get out as quick as possible,” said boss Longhurst.
“The pitch there, I’ve never seen anything like it.
“To be fair, I spoke to Simon Halsey (Blair boss) before the game and he said they aren’t doing anything with it because they’re looking to get 3G.
“It’s non-league, and I understand a lot of time and money goes into facilitating a pitch but, realistically, we’ve had nine months of no games and there shouldn’t be a pitch in the country that’s not playable.
“I’d imagine there won’t be one good game on that pitch until it’s changed. That’s not being disrespectful, it’s just the honest truth.”
Longhurst knew what was coming and set up his team accordingly.
He said: “We’ve gone 1-0 down after 54 seconds and then given away a blatant penalty through terrible defending but Jacob’s made a massive save, because at 2-0 it would have been a very difficult afternoon.
“We’ve turned it round, and it’s not that we’ve played badly, we’ve just had to play a completely different way.
“We had seven teenagers in our squad, a teenager’s saved a penalty and a teenager’s won the game for us.”
Ramsgate have strengthened their squad by signing former Gillingham striker George Baker-Moran.
The 6ft 4in youngster, released by Gills in the summer, has had trials with Sunderland and Colchester.
Longhurst said: “He’ll be a really good addition. He’s a different type of forward to what we’ve got. He actually contacted me and said he wanted to come down.”
Baker-Moran looks set to play some part over the Bank Holiday weekend with Rams facing two games in three days. They welcome Isthmian South East favourites Hastings to Southwood on Saturday and go to Hythe on Monday.
“Games don’t come a lot harder,” said Longhurst.
“Hastings will be a real test, they’re very good. I’m slightly disappointed this isn’t later in the season because I think it would be a better game.
“Most managers will say it’s hard at this level playing twice in three days but, that said, we’ve sat indoors for the best part of 18 months, so I’m not going to moan.
"Hythe have got experienced players and an experienced manager - you never get an easy game there.
“The only plus from our side of it, is they’ll have had an FA Cup replay at Westfield on the Tuesday, they’ve got VCD on Saturday and we’ll be the third of three games in seven days.
“It will be a very tough weekend for us but these are the games you look forward to.”