Joe Taylor says Ramsgate ‘ready to give it a go’ against AFC Wimbledon in FA Cup

Ramsgate striker Joe Taylor is hoping the Kent club’s own bit of ‘Crazy Gang’ spirit can help the eighth-tier side pull off an FA Cup shock against AFC Wimbledon on Monday night.

The Isthmian League South East Division pacesetters head to Plough Lane for the televised tie eyeing another upset after winning at Vanarama National League side Woking to book their place in the second round for the first time.

It is 35 years since Wimbledon beat Liverpool’s ‘Culture Club’ to lift the FA Cup trophy at Wembley, where captain Dave Beasant saved a penalty from John Barnes, the first goalkeeper to do so in a final.

With the since-reformed south-west London club now in Sky Bet League Two, it is Ramsgate who will take up the underdogs tag on Monday night, by which time the draw for the third round will have been made.

Taylor feels Ben Smith’s “tight-knit squad” can deliver another piece of FA Cup magic.

“We are quite a small squad of senior players and then we have got a group of young lads that have come through the academy,” Taylor told the PA news agency.

“They have sort of wrapped around us very nicely. It is a really good relationship.

“Obviously all of this cup stuff helps and we are up there in the league, so when you are winning, everyone is happy – but when times haven’t been so good, the group has been really good together.

“If we can get half of that ‘Crazy Gang’ spirit, then we would stand a good chance wouldn’t we?”

With nine goals so far in the competition, Taylor is in the race for this season’s Mitre Golden Ball Award, which recognises the top scorer in the FA Cup and gives players lower down the pyramid the opportunity to compete against Premier League stars.

Despite the extra attention on the Rams, Taylor is confident they can stay focussed to deliver the required performance at Plough Lane.

“In the last couple of weeks, we have had a lot of media (interest) and stuff that we are not used to, then we have had some really important league games during that time,” he said.

“The manager sort of banned any FA Cup talk – then he brought the TV cameras into the changing room and they were following us around everywhere!

“But we have managed to win all the (league) games and then drew a tough one (at Cray Valley).

“We are sitting up there in the league and we have had all of this going on as well, so the focus has been good actually.”

Taylor added: “We are no stranger to an upset now. I think the last four teams we have played have been higher league opposition.

“We sort of suit that (underdog) tag pretty nicely and we have all bought into that.

“Let’s be frank, Wimbledon are a better side than us, they are full-time, but we know our qualities and our strengths, so we are ready to give it a go.”

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