Published: 05:00, 02 November 2021
Ramsgate ended a run of four defeats after dropping star striker Jordan Chiedozie.
Chiedozie averaged a goal a game during Rams’ mini-slump but made way for Ashley Miller in a 4-0 home win over Phoenix Sports in Isthmian South East on Saturday.
The former Margate forward was more than a little miffed by the decision.
“It was a big call to leave Jordan out because he’s been scoring even though we’ve not been winning,” said manager Matt Longhurst, who saw Josh Ajayi’s hat-trick and a Callum Peck strike earn the points against Phoenix.
“I just felt Ashley suited the team better in terms of overall performance and he was excellent.
“Jordan didn’t take it very well, he wasn’t overly happy. We had a conversation after the game and we’ll probably have another one about it.
“I don’t want people to be happy about being left out but how you react and the way you react is important when you’re part of a group.
“It’s a conversation I’ll have with him in private.”
Longhurst isn’t disputing Chiedozie’s goal return - he’s hit double-figures - but wants more in other areas.
“The team wasn’t firing, so it’s hard to single people out,” said the Rams boss.
“He would say as a centre-forward his job is scoring goals, and that’s what he’s done, so I can’t knock that.
“What I’ve said is if you want success, whether it’s the Premier League or the Isthmian League, you need to do more than just your own job. You need to do a job for the group.
“Where Jordan had been out for a while he’s probably still not up to speed fitness-wise.
“He started the season, then he got Covid, he came out the other side of that and it took a few weeks to get going.
“His individual performances have been good, he’s a very good player, but maybe he could do a little bit more for the team.
“That’s not just Jordan, I would suggest I’ve said that to all the players.
“The first five or six games of the season we were very hardworking, then we had a few players missing and it knocked the continuity of the group.
“When you’ve got a young group their confidence can go a little bit.
“It was a case of pressing the reset button at training last Tuesday, we reminded them quite frankly what’s expected of them and they took it on the chin and accepted that.”
Ramsgate are at Herne Bay tonight, with Chiedozie’s involvement uncertain.
Speaking yesterday, Longhurst said: "I don’t know if he'll play yet, we’ll decide in the coming hours. I’m not sure.”
Bay went out of the FA Trophy at the weekend, with Longhurst taking their team selection in the 2-0 defeat by Binfield as a compliment to his side.
“They left a few out on Saturday in preparation for Tuesday night, which they must feel is the more important game,” he said.
“A team who have been together a few years changing what they do on a Saturday to combat a team who’ve been together a couple of months shows a level of respect for what we’ve been doing and how far we’ve come.”
On Saturday, Longhurst takes Rams back to his former club, East Grinstead.
He was sacked by the Wasps two years ago having led them to the highest finish in their history - 13th in Isthmian South East - the previous season.
“I should have left before I did because I’d done what I thought I could do there,” said Longhurst.
“I knew my last season would be extremely tough because we lost a whole squad of players but I’ve still got a decent relationship with 80 per cent of the fans there.
“When I went back last year they were a little over the top celebrating beating us, should I say, and that kind of stuck with me a little bit, but they were young fans who didn’t act in a great light.
"For me, it’s just another game. It’s not Rangers v Celtic, it’s East Grinstead v Ramsgate.”