Published: 06:00, 06 February 2020
Whitstable manager Lloyd Blackman reckons his players will be eager to respond after their midweek defeat when they host Ramsgate this weekend.
The Oystermen conceded two late goals on Tuesday as they fell to a 4-3 loss away to fourth-placed Cray Valley PM on Tuesday.
Saturday’s opponents Ramsgate, now managed by Matt Longhurst, are second-bottom and have only collected 14 points in Isthmian South East this season but Blackman said: “They have picked up a couple of results of late.
“In a Kent derby, the form book goes out the window.
“They got a good result against East Grinstead recently. I know they lost (4-0) against Herne Bay on Tuesday but, with another Kent derby coming thick and fast, they will be wanting a reaction but we are the same.
“Knowing my players the way I do, they will chomping at the bit already.
“It should be a tough game but it's one we are looking forward to.”
Despite ex-East Grinstead boss Longhurst taking charge at Southwood on New Year’s Eve, the Rams have continued to struggle, although they did beat Ebbsfleet to progress into Kent Cup quarter-final before winning a crucial bottom-of-the-table battle against East Grinstead.
“If you look at Ashley Miller, Tom Chapman and Kane Rowland, they have players that have been at higher-league clubs and we will not be taking them lightly,” said Blackman, himself a former Ramsgate boss.
“But we need to focus on what we are good at and try to impose ourselves on them.”
Efforts from John Ufuah, Tijan Jadama and Aaron Millbank looked to have earned Whitstable a 3-2 success at Cray Valley, only for Gavin Tomlin to equalise before Ryan King-Elliott scored a last-gasp winner.
Reflecting on the defeat, Blackman said: “It was a tough one to take.
“I’m speaking 12 hours after the game and there is still an emotional side to it (Blackman’s reaction).
“The first thing to say is that the players did really well.
“To be leading with three minutes to go against one of the favourites for promotion at the start of the season, that’s testament to the players.
“Now, obviously, to concede two goals like we did was a real sucker punch.
“In the second half, (goalkeeper) Dan Eason didn’t have to make too many saves out of the ordinary for him (prior to Cray's two late goals).
“But I have said to the boys we have 12 hours to sulk, but then, we will look for a reaction this weekend.”
That came after 10th-placed Whitstable had earned a 2-1 home win over Burgess Hill on Saturday thanks to goals from Harry Stannard and Millbank.
Blackman said: “To get the three points there was really nice.
“It wasn’t our best performance to be honest but we did enough to earn the three points.”
Midfielder Liam Gillies has left Whitstable and signed for Sevenoaks.
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