by | Mar 10, 2024

Rearguard action as the Rams try and protect stand-in ‘keeper Kayle Power from another AFC attack.

NWC Premier Division • 9 March 2024

An afternoon that started so brightly quickly deteriorated as the injury jinx once again struck hampering any attempt to put together a winning run.

Leckenby's Tea Rooms

In a season dominated by bad luck, the team needs to put a decent run together before being dragged into what would have seemed a most unlikely relegation scrap as the season commenced.

Leckenby's Tea Rooms

Yet within the first sixty seconds, the home side took the lead with a superb finish from Harvey Whyte.

Maine Walder, who has been one of the stand-out players of this campaign, again provided the assist, and Whyte took his pass from the left wing before venturing into the penalty area and unleashing an inch perfect drive into the far top corner.

Little did the team know that just fifteen minutes later they would suffer the latest blow.

A well-struck free-kick from 25 yards out by Liverpool’s Luke Porter, sailed inches wide of Ryan Hamer’s post. However, having dived to ensure he covered the ball, Hamer lay prone on the ground for a full eight minutes as the medics attempted to deal with the injury. A stretcher was called and the keeper was carried off with a nasty back injury, leaving substitute Kayle Power to come on and don the keeper’s jersey.

Minutes later, the visitors first attempt at unsettling Power came when a thunderous free-kick sailed just over the bar.

Despite the disadvantage, the Rams went looking to double the lead, and Whyte had a couple of attempts that missed the target before the visitors levelled things up.

On 31 minutes, a long Crossfield ball from the right found Porter in acres of room on the left, and he pushed forward before cleverly slotting the ball past a flat-footed Power.

Suitably encouraged, the away side set their sights on taking the lead and testing the stand-in keeper with efforts from distance from Porter again and Bradley Shearwood, but the closest they came was in the last minute of the nine added on when an almighty scramble in the six yard area, saw the ball strike the foot of the post before numerous attempts at conversion were denied by some stout defending by the hosts.

The first chance after the break came for the home side, when a left-wing corner was headed back in at the far post by Oscar Radcliffe only to see Tommy Lent’s close range connection fly inches wide.

Strangely, with the exception of an excellent double save by Power, the visitors failed to test the stand-in on as many occasions as was expected in the second half.

They did, however, do enough to grab all three points on 62 minutes when Liam Paton found himself in space on the right hand side of the penalty area to slide the ball home and give AFC Liverpool the lead they rarely looked like squandering.

The closest the Rams came to an equaliser was after 74 minutes when Walder’s free-kick was turned round for a corner, from which Radcliffe headed over the bar.

The away side held on for the win despite losing their captain, ex-Ram Tom Croughan late on for comments made to the referee.

Manager Steve Wilkes is bewildered by recent events; “I’m beginning to think I’ve run over a black cat.

“I’ve never known injuries like we’ve had this season and today sums it up. Luke Sephton tweaked his groin in the warm-up followed by goalkeeper Ryan Hamer being stretchered off in the 15th minute after damaging his back which saw him stretchered off and taken to hospital.

“Having said that, Kayle who we put in goal hardly had a shot to save all game.

“My disappointment was how poor we once again were with the ball and never created anything ourselves.

“The players now need to stick together and get out of the rut we’ve got ourselves in”.

RAMSBOTTOM UNITED: Hamer (Power 15mins), Lawless (Mahyoub 81mins), Walder, J.McMahon (Lucas 60mins), Lent, Radcliffe, Whyte, Whittingham, Sephton (Finlay 70mins), Birchall, Hayhurst (Ogunby 86mins)

Att: 230