Ramsgate’s shock FA Cup First Round victory over Woking might have never got off the ground had the club’s volunteers not come to the rescue.

The Rams spent all week preparing for one of the biggest matches in the club’s history, with officials working around the clock behind the scenes to ensure everything was ready for a bumper crowd of 3,000.

But the fixture was put in doubt as Storm Ciarán wreaked havoc at the WW Martin Community Stadium as well as a floodlight bulb blowing less than 48 hours before kick-off.

However, the Rams’ volunteers came together to ensure the show would go on, with one even travelling all the way to London and back to retrieve the vital part to switch the lights back on.

And under-18s coach Elliot Austin admitted the chaotic week of preparation was made more than worth it by Lee Martin’s second-half winner, which sent the Rams into the FA Cup Second Round for the first time thanks to a 2-1 win.

“The lead-up was typical non-League football, chaos behind the scenes,” he said.

“The weather wasn’t on our side but the actual day on Saturday couldn’t have gone any better, all the hard work and chaos that had gone before was forgotten as soon as the game kicked off.

“Without our army of volunteers, most matchdays aren’t possible – we are heavily reliant on volunteers – but certainly Saturday, they pulled it out of the bag. It was more than just our normal volunteers.

“We rely on a small group of volunteers week in, week out but we put a call out to our local community, and they really didn’t let us down. They came in their numbers on Friday and then again on Saturday morning when it was looking like the game was in jeopardy.

“We had a local band and some DJs and they turned up early and started helping us clear away the broken marquees.”

Austin admitted there were doubts the game would go ahead right up until Saturday morning after storm damage struck the club on both Wednesday and Friday night.

But fans turned up in their droves as early as 7.30 on Saturday morning to make sure everything was ready for their National League visitors.

The Rams’ reward for their victory is a trip to League Two AFC Wimbledon and Austin is hopeful the fairytale cup run continues to bring the community together.

He added: “We are a little seaside town, we don’t have a massive pool of fans and players, but the local community of Ramsgate pulled together. It has really pulled the community together which is brilliant to see.

“Right up to Saturday morning, if we hadn’t had people coming up to the ground from 7.30 onwards, there is a good chance they would have deemed the game not safe to go ahead.

“If we hadn’t got someone up to London on the train on Friday, the game couldn’t have gone ahead.

“It felt like the Gods were against us before the game but they were certainly with us during the game.

“We will give it a good go [against Wimbledon] and I think we showed on Saturday that the level we are playing at is actually a good level.

“I think Cray showed that when Charlton perhaps didn’t give them the respect they deserved. It probably makes League teams realise that the standard of non-League football has improved.”

Find volunteering opportunities at your local club by visiting https://pitchinginvolunteers.co.uk/