by | Feb 4, 2024

Matty Birchall pokes Ryan Hamer’s long punt forward over the visiting ‘keeper to make it five.

NWC Premier Division • 3 Feb 2024
It was an afternoon of celebrations at the HWRS on Saturday as manager Steve Wilkes was presented with a signed shirt to commemorate the fantastic achievement of managing 1,200 matches.
Leckenby's Tea Rooms

As if to do the gaffer proud, the team followed up with a five star performance to cap a memorable day for all at the ground.

Leckenby's Tea Rooms

Eager to follow up the impressive win against in-form Lower Breck on Tuesday, this was a performance to banish the recent poor run, with the much-changed Rams looking full of running and confidence.

Indeed, the game could have hardly begun better, for within just 13 minutes, the hosts were two goals to the good.

A move down the right after just six minutes, involving Finn Bartram and Luke Sephton ended with the ball being bundled in at the far post by youngster Luke Thompson.

Seven minutes later and a superb cross from the right by Oscar Radcliffe was helped on by Sephton past Jack Reynolds in the way goal, and the Rams were off to a flyer.

Sephton, fitting seamlessly into his new striker roll, had another effort minutes later, but this time it was saved.

A couple of attacks from the visitors were repelled, but the home side continued to march forward with confidence. Reynolds had to be alert to punch clear another attempt from Sephton, whilst Jackson wriggled his way along the by-line before the Remyca defence managed to snuff him out.

Radcliffe went on a marauding run which ended with him firing inches wide, and it did seem like the visitors were desperately attempting to hold back the onslaught.

This they managed, and in so-doing gradually worked their way into the game, and following a corner, James Hamil managed to poke the ball home in a goalmouth scrummage to halve the deficit.

Jackson continued to look dangerous down the Rams left hand side, whilst at the other end Hamil was disappointed to see his header fly past the post.

Half-time arrived with the score at 2-1, but the general feeling was that the home side should have gone in at the break with a wider winning margin.

The second half would ensure that they did.

After an early scare when the ever-dangerous Hamil was thwarted by Ryan Hamer in the home goal, the third came for the Rams on 62 minutes.

A tempting cross in from the right was converted by Matty Birchall, and from then on, it was almost one-way traffic.

Kayle Power brought out the best in Reynolds as his fierce drive was tipped over, a feat repeated when Radcliffe had a go. In between, a thunderous volley from Birchall crashed against the bar and away to safety.

It was a matter of how many at this point, and on 78 minutes, Sephton was alert enough to latch on to a ball near the by-line, and he cleverly sneaked round the keeper and planted in number four.

Birchall was denied on 89 minutes by a stunning close range save, but he wasn’t to be denied as a minute later, he latched on to a high clearance from keeper Hamer, and cleverly lobbed the ball over Reynolds to notch the Rams fifth.

5-1 sounds comprehensive, but the visitors will probably feel relieved that they managed to escape with just that deficit, as the Rams put on a sparkling performance on an afternoon of celebrations.

Manager Steve Wilkes was naturally delighted, “Probably the most complete performance so far this season”.

 “Every player worked hard for each other and that’s what we’ve needed for a while.

 “Pleased for Matty Birchall who’s showing everyone what a good player and goal scorer he is, and Luke Sephton has been a revelation since moving up top.

 “But like I mentioned, it was a fantastic team performance. The players were asked to back up Tuesday’s win, and they did that in some style.

 “Not a bad way to celebrate 1200 games as a manager!”

RAMSBOTTOM UNITED: Hamer, Radcliffe, Hayhurst, Power, Lent (Collinge 83mins), Henson, Bartram (Fitzgerald 76mins), Whittingham (Hart 89mins), Sephton (McMahon 89mins), Birchall, L.Jackson (Walder 81mins)

Att: 164