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Ramsgate boss Matt Longhurst says it was the right decision to rest Jamie Coyle before London Marathon


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Ramsgate lost their unbeaten record after leaving Jamie Coyle out of the side - but still hope the decision will have long-term benefits.

Coyle was an unused substitute in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat by VCD at Southwood, with the defender running the London Marathon the next day.

Jamie Coyle completed the London Marathon on Sunday Picture: Twitter/@education sport
Jamie Coyle completed the London Marathon on Sunday Picture: Twitter/@education sport

It was a mutual decision between manager Matt Longhurst and Coyle, who completed the race in 3hr43min28sec.

There’s no doubt Ramsgate missed the influential 38-year-old but they were looking at the bigger picture.

Longhurst said: “It probably had an impact on the result, because he’s been our best player, but it was the right thing for Coyley personally and sometimes you have to look beyond what’s right for the team on the day.

“We didn’t leave him out in case he got injured in the game, it was more that playing 90 minutes in that weather might make him more likely to pick up an injury in the marathon and then he’s out for ages.

"For the sake of one game, it’s better to leave him out so he’s fresh for the marathon, rather than losing him to a calf or a hamstring injury during it.

“We made that decision between us, we felt it was the right thing to do.

“We’ve got 31 league games to go and if Coyley plays 28 of them, we’ll be more than happy.

“He’s been running 21/22 miles practising for the marathon and, to be honest, the way we’re looking at it is we haven’t had him fully fresh yet.

“Now the marathon is out of the way, and he recovers, next week we could start to see him fresher and he might be even better.”

Jordan Chiedozie missed an early penalty and a sitter from two yards also went begging before Marcus Elliott’s double put VCD in charge.

TJ Jadama replied after the break and Rams felt the visitors should have had a man sent off for an elbow on Chiedozie, but yellow was the verdict.

The goals might have been avoidable with Coyle in the team but overall it was a frustrating afternoon for Rams, whose first defeat sees them drop a place to third in Isthmian South East.

Longhurst said: “I think it’s possible the situations the goals have arisen from don’t happen if Coyley’s playing, because the information he passes across to the team helps nullify danger signs higher up the pitch.

“It’s not that he’d have blocked the ball, or stopped the cross, or won a header.

“He may well have done, but I don’t think you can look at it like that, because that’s a guessing game, but I certainly think he’d have prevented certain situations happening that led to the goals.

“We didn’t start well, and give VCD credit because they came out extremely lively and I thought they were better than us in midfield for the first 20 minutes.

"Having said that, we’ve missed a penalty and had the whole goal to aim at from two yards, so we could’ve been 2-0 up without playing well and that would have changed the game.

“I’m more disappointed with the way we started than the chances we missed.

“In the second half we were better than them, we got one back and their centre-half should have been sent off for an elbow on Chiedozie.

“The referee’s given him a yellow but it’s either a red card or it’s nothing, it’s off the ball and he’s the last man, which it made it worse.

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

“If they’re down to 10 men for the last 25 minutes and we’re in the ascendancy I’d have fancied us to get a point but it wasn’t to be.

“It was a big moment in the game but I’m not moaning about it.

"I said to the players there’s been moments in games where our keeper’s made a good save and we’ve gone up the other end and scored.

"This time, we’ve not had the rub of the green but that’s part and parcel of football."

Ramsgate travel to Westfield in the FA Trophy second qualifying round on Saturday.

Their hosts, who play in Isthmian South Central, took Hythe to an FA Cup replay this season, and are a useful side on their day.

“If you let them get into their groove they can be a real problem,” said Longhurst.

“We’ve had them watched and we’ll have a look at things for Saturday.

"We’ve only lost once away, which was in the FA Cup, but we had one or two missing that day.

"That’s been the one thing so far - the team has picked itself because we’ve normally had one or two missing for different reasons.

“When we were able to pick the same team for three or four weeks we won every game and then all of a sudden you’ve got to change it.

“Ideally you want a settled side and certainly at the back, you don’t want to be making changes unless you really have to. I’d rather have the same back four right the way through if I could.”

Ramsgate are awaiting news on midfielder Mitch Chapman’s fractured metatarsal.

If he’s out any longer than three to four weeks, Longhurst is likely to go into the market.

He said: “If it’s six to eight weeks we’ll have to go and get someone because by the time he’s fit after that long out, it more like to 10 to 12 weeks.”

Read more: The latest sports news in Kent

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