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Ramsgate defender Beckham Kennelly back in business after injury nightmare

Ramsgate are hoping Beckham Kennelly’s injury woes are finally behind him.

Kennelly, a young defender who grew up in Spain before returning to the UK, has had rotten luck since joining Rams in the summer.

Ramsgate manager Matt Longhurst Picture: Ramsgate FC
Ramsgate manager Matt Longhurst Picture: Ramsgate FC

But he got through 90 minutes in the Velocity Trophy at Haywards Heath last week - a tie the visitors lost 7-6 on penalties after a 1-1 draw - and was among the substitutes for the goalless draw with Sittingbourne on Saturday.

His return is timely, with Rams facing a busy Christmas and New Year period in their Isthmian South East promotion push.

“Fingers crossed, we can keep him fit,” said manager Matt Longhurst, whose side take on Three Bridges at Southwood this Saturday.

“He’s a very good player, he’s only 22 but he’s played a lot of men’s football.

“He was brought up in Spain, from five or six through to 18, so he’s had Spanish coaches all that time.

“He likes to bring the ball out from the back, there are times he might over-do that slightly, but he's played 100-odd games at our level in Peterborough before moving down to Ramsgate for work, so he understands the game, he talks well, he’s a physically strong guy and a good athlete.

"We’ve got lots of games coming up, so he’ll be a good addition for us."

Ramsgate didn’t want to risk Kennelly from the start at Sittingbourne and so gave a debut to Brickies old boy Ben Fitchett in central defence, with Callum Emptage unavailable.

Fitchett, who’s also played for Margate, joined the Rams from Phoenix Sports.

“He’s going to be very good player in three or four years’ time,” said Longhurst.

“He actually reminds me of Lewis Knight at Margate. They’re very similar.

“Lewis is good on the ball and quick for a big lad and Ben is the same.

“I’m sure a few people were surprised to see us take a centre-half from a team at the bottom of the league but, individually, he played well against us even though we beat Phoenix 4-0.

“We kept looking at it and we think he’s another player we can make better.

"He’s got all the attributes, he’s only 22, he knows a lot of our players and he’s got that attitude where he wants to play as high as he can. He’s a good fit, on and off the pitch.”

Longhurst was satisfied with a point against a Sittingbourne side boasting an array of attacking talent.

“It’s a tough place to go,” he said.

“To be honest, I’ve never seen a great spectacle of football there, it always seems to be wet and windy.

“They’re a big side, physically strong, and very experienced, so it was a good point for us.

“If I’m being really critical, our front players didn’t perform at the level they have been but you can’t be brilliant every game and, credit to Sittingbourne, they defended well and didn’t leave space for us to exploit.

“We possibly had the two best chances - one in each half - but a draw was fair.

“I’m disappointed in how we played but I do think Sittingbourne had an impact on that.

"Sometimes you’ve got to accept that we’re not on our own out there, there’s another team trying to stop us being good at what we do.”

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