Rocks Review: Unsettled team was a factor in Rams’ raid for a point

Ashley Robinson scores his debut goal for the Rocks   Picture by Tommy McMillan
Ashley Robinson scores his debut goal for the Rocks Picture by Tommy McMillan

Jamie Howell felt enforced team changes were a major factor in the Rocks throwing away a 2-0 lead against Ramsgate and the chance to go four points clear at the top of the table.

Injuries, suspensions and departures have forced the management into a raft of changes to the line-up in recent weeks and Saturday’s team had two players making their debut.

Although striker Ashley Robinson and defender Sonny Cobbs showed up well in their first Rocks appearances, Howell said a constantly-changing line-up was bound to leave the side more prone to little errors that could affect results.

The Rocks were in command at the break after goals by James Crane and Robinson put them two up. But Ramsgate got one back early in the second half and nerves set in. In the end, no-one was too surprised when the Rams nicked an injury-time equaliser to leave the Rocks with one point instead of three.

Howell said: “It was two points dropped. When you go in at the break 2-0 up, you should win.

“We had a lot of chances, particularly in the first half, but at 2-1 it became a different game.

“We are having to change the team around a lot at the moment. It’s not something we want to do but when you do it, you risk little things that you’ve worked on in training being lost.

“A settled team is easier to get well-drilled in, for example, how you want to defend a one-goal lead. Hopefully in time we will be able to have a more settled line-up again and eradicate some of the things that are going against us at the moment.”

Cobb, signed from Eastbourne Town, fared well at left-back and Robinson, recruited from Bromley, looked a real handful up front and might easily have had more than his single goal.

Only six minutes had passed when the Rocks took the lead with their first attack. A neat passing move saw Ben Johnson feed Crane, who stroked it home from 15 yards.

The lead was almost doubled soon afterwards but keeper Danny Twyman saved bravely at the feet of Johnson. A Kane Wills drive from 18 yards flew just over before Johnson’s curling free-kick was tipped around the post.

Terry Dodd was put through but, with just the keeper to beat, he couldn’t hit the target - then Robinson chipped the keeper but the ball bounced just wide.

For Ramsgate, Dean Grant’s cross looped over Craig Stoner and came back off the post before being scrambled clear.

But on the stroke of half-time, Robinson made no mistake when he doubled the advantage by firing home from ten yards.

Four minutes into the second half, Ramsgate halved the deficit when Laslett’s long-range drive took a deflection on its way in.

In the 68th minute, the Rocks went close when some neat footwork from Robinson saw his powerful drive fly inches wide.

But their hopes of earning their first win of 2012 were dashed in the dying seconds.

With the visitors sensing a weakness in the home defence, Joe Taylor slotted home from six yards to give Ramsgate a point.

ROCKS: Stoner, Crane, Cobbs, Axten, Breach, Wills, Beck, Harper, Johnson, Dodd, Robinson. Subs: Wollers, Marzetti, Thomson, Saunders, Boyle.

ROB GARFORTH & STEVE BONE