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Ramsgate manager Steve Lovell on Thanet Cup success at Margate and the return of Jordan Chiedozie

Three players saw red in Ramsgate’s Thanet Cup success at Margate - but Steve Lovell said it wasn’t a dirty game.

Rams continued their unbeaten pre-season under Lovell with a 2-1 success at Hartsdown Park on Saturday.

Ramsgate boss Steve Lovell. Picture: KPI
Ramsgate boss Steve Lovell. Picture: KPI

Returning striker Jordan Chiedozie added to a Harvey Smith own goal as the visitors opened up a 2-0 lead before seeing Callum Emptage sent off for a challenge on Peter Ojemen.

James Bessey-Saldanha pulled a goal back for the Gate but that wasn’t the end of the story, as two further reds followed after a late ruckus in the penalty area.

Home substitute Montrell Deslandes was dismissed following a clash with Callum Peck, while Jamie Coyle could count himself unlucky to join him as Rams finished with nine.

“It was never that kind of game,” said Rams boss Lovell. “It was a good game, we played really well.

“We got ourselves 2-0 up and then Callum was sent off for a very strong tackle which, back in the day, wouldn’t have been a booking, never mind a red.

"It was a good strong challenge but the referee felt it was a bit too strong and sent him off.

“The boy got up and was OK - Callum probably hurt himself more than anyone else.

"It was a good slide tackle, he got the ball but followed through and caught the fella.

“The incident at the end, their player has gone down in the box, Pecky told him in no uncertain terms he’d dived and the fella took umbrage and lashed out at him.

“Coyley said he didn’t do anything but the officials pick people out and they sent him off and one of theirs.

“It was a local derby, you’re going to have a few little niggles in a game like that, but up to that point, it was a good game.

“The Ramsgate fans enjoyed it, they hadn’t won the cup for a few years, so it was nice for them.

“Quite a few came over to watch and I was pleased for them but it’s pre-season and I don’t want to get carried away.

“It’s what happens when the season starts that matters but we’re doing everything we can at the moment.

“We’re playing well and getting together a good system of play and the boys have responded.

“They’re enjoying their football and when players enjoy their football, it doesn’t half help.”

Lovell says Emptage and Coyle will sit out Ramsgate’s final pre-season friendly, this Saturday’s visit of Hastings, but will be available for the league opener at home to Cray Valley on August 13.

Chiedozie’s return is good news for Ramsgate.

He hit double figures in the early months of last season before being released by former manager Matt Longhurst.

Lovell sees him as a safe bet for goals and is delighted to have the striker back at Southwood.

“We just need to get him fitter but he knows that himself,” said Lovell. “He’s a great lad who loves his football.

“He’s got a little bit of a nasty streak to him but in a good way that you need on the pitch, and he’s a great character.

“I don’t know what happened last year but he’ll get goals for us and he’s going to be a big signing.

“He most probably won’t get his match-fitness until two-to-three weeks into the season but if we keep him playing and working hard he’ll get there.”

Lovell, whose side beat Dover 3-0 last Wednesday, has room for two more additions but is likely to hold off for now.

He’s happy with his squad and won’t sign players unnecessarily.

“I’ve got 16, so there’s room for a couple more, but only if they’re the right ones," he said.

“I don’t want more than 18 to start with.

“You can have 20-odd players in your squad but come the first game you can only name 11 players and five subs and, straight away, there’s four people who aren’t happy.

“I think 18 is the ideal number because it gives you a couple to fall back on if you get injuries or whatever in the first game and then you’ve got people to come in for the next game on Tuesday.”

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