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Ramsgate striker Joe Taylor confident the lowest-ranked side left in the FA Cup won’t be overawed when they visit AFC Wimbledon in Round Two

Ramsgate will embrace their underdog status when they visit AFC Wimbledon in the FA Cup Second Round.

The Isthmian South East leaders face a huge task to upset the League 2 outfit in their own backyard on Monday night (7.45pm), live on ITV4.

Joe Taylor in FA Cup first-round action against Woking. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Joe Taylor in FA Cup first-round action against Woking. Picture: Barry Goodwin

But they’ve already made history in reaching this stage for the first time and 1,500 travelling fans will be at Plough Lane to see if they can create a bit more.

The Third-Round draw will have been made by the time the sides kick off in south-west London, and you can only imagine the buzz in the away dressing room if they are 90 minutes away from facing a Premier League side.

Ramsgate have put the FA Cup on the backburner since coming from a goal down to beat Woking 2-1 at the start of November, with the quest for league points taking priority.

But it’s all eyes on Wimbledon for Ramsgate and their 25-goal leading scorer Joe Taylor as they look to pull off another FA Cup shock as the lowest-ranked side remaining.

“The manager (Ben Smith) said he wanted to concentrate on the league and not talk about the FA Cup but it is hard not to think about it,” said Taylor. “It’s been a lot of fun.

“I’ve never been this far before and I’ve never played on telly before. It’s crazy. I think all the boys are just ready to put in a performance.

“We know we’re massive underdogs but we’ve been underdogs in most rounds we’ve played.

“We’ve had a lot of important league games since Woking but we’ve got a free week leading up to Wimbledon where can train and do our bits.

“Them being full-time, they’ve got more time to prepare but we’re definitely not going to be overawed.

“Hopefully we can put in a performance and send all the fans back home proud because we’ve got a lot coming up.

“We’ve sold out our tickets and it should be a really good atmosphere. It’ll be the biggest crowd I’ve played in front of.

Ramsgate manager Ben Smith. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Ramsgate manager Ben Smith. Picture: Barry Goodwin

“It’s exciting. It’s a proper ground, a proper set-up, and a really good club. In my eyes, it’s a great draw.

“As a group we’re history-makers - no one else has been this far with the club - and we’ve all put in a lot of work to achieve it.”

The team come first but Taylor also has his eye on personal glory on Monday night.

With nine goals in this season’s competition, he’s just one behind Biggleswade striker Jonathan Lacey.

But Biggleswade are out, leaving the path clear for Taylor to draw level or go ahead of him.

The top scorer is invited to the final at Wembley to collect the Golden Ball award.

“As a striker, I’ve got my eye on it,” said Taylor.

“I know in the last round against Woking I hardly had any chances.

“You never know what the game is going to be like but it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s tight and I don’t get many chances again.

“But the lad who’s one ahead of me is out so if could nick a goal, or maybe two, then you never know.

“I’d love to go to Wembley to pick up that trophy, so that’s another thing that’s adding to everything.”

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