It’s a magnificent seven for the Fleet as Scott Ginty scores a hat-trick by the seaside…
The Fleet’s Goodwood horse may have trailed home in fourth place but this afternoon’s pre-season friendly was certainly more of a one-horse race. In good voice, possibly due to the nearby beer festival visited by plenty of them, the Fleet faithful were treated to a goals extravaganza. And while Fleet boss Liam Daish had promised changes, there was only one new face, that of ex-Cambridge midfielder Jai Reason, who had been on trial for Concord Rangers earlier this month.
Aidan Sherlock started in defence, Ram Marwa returned to action, while Craig Stone, Tyrone Sealey and Nicolas Plumain dropped to the bench. And after a fairly muted frontline performance against Croydon, the Willock-Ginty partnership looked solid from the start. Willock had the first chance, latching on to a long clearance, but his shot was blocked and went wide. Willock was involved in the opening goal on 9 minutes, feeding Michael West out wide and the young winger’s cross was intercepted by Ramsgate’s Olly Gray who could only divert the ball past his own goalkeeper.
Fleet’s next chance arose courtesy of Marwa on the half-hour who broke through the Rams lines but was upended as he threatened the home side’s penalty area. But Ginty’s resulting spot kick didn’t have enough on it to get past the goalkeeper’s outstretched hands and he made an easy save. In the aftermath, Sherlock made way for Stone after an injury during the penalty build-up. Not one to feel too disheartened, Ginty got his own back three minutes later, heading home West’s cross from close range.
Willock and Ginty were enjoying their afternoon and could have added to the scoreline in the first half, though any mercy they showed in front of goal was short-lived. Just before the hour mark, Willock’s superb snap shot flew past Conor Quinn for 3-0 and before Ramsgate could catch their breath, the ex-Stevenage striker grabbed his second, feeding off the creative West’s clever ball inside and heading into the net.
Fleet are seldom a side in recent years to turn their dominance into a slew of goals but they indulged their excited supporters a little more in the final quarter of the game. But first Preston Edwards had to be alert to tip James Gregory’s free kick over the bar and he showed good technique to stretch high for it. Then on 75 minutes, Sealey – on for West – added to his burgeoning reputation with a fine effort from the Fleet right before Ginty fired home his second and third of the afternoon for a rare Fleet hat-trick. First, he accepted penalty responsibilities again after Tom Phipp was fouled and blasted a text-book power penalty down the middle for 6-0 and then, with seven minutes remaining, he collected trialist Ashley Carew’s pass and sublimely hit home for a magnificent seven.
Daish gave Chris Henry and goalkeeper Joe Hagan late runouts and may have been forgiven for running for his calculator after this game – both to tot up the final score and to work on his budget to see how many more contracts he might hand out in the forthcoming days. While the seasoned observer will have learned to ignore pre-season friendlies for better or worse, the evidence here was of a team quickly getting to know each other.
TEAM: Edwards (Hagan 77), Sherlock (Stone 32), Easton, Pooley (Henry 77), Lorraine, Duncan, West (Sealey 60), Reason (Plumain 72), Marwa (Carew 52), Ginty, Willock (Phipp 73).