by | Jan 13, 2024

New signing Matty Birchall goes close with a header.

NWC Premier Division • 13 Jan 2024

Ramsbottom United supporters must be wondering how many black cats have been run over, as bad luck seems to haunt the team at the moment.

Leckenby's Tea Rooms

Having been robbed of a win in the 94th minute at Litherland last week, a 96th minute winner for Skelmersdale had them and the players wondering what else could possibly go wrong.

Leckenby's Tea Rooms

Had this been a boxing match, the referee would have stopped it at half-time, such was the dominance of the home team, yet the interval arrived with the visitors in front by the odd goal.

The Rams took control of the game from the very beginning, launching attack after attack on the away side, yet it was they who took an unexpected lead after just 15 minutes when a mix-up in the Rams defence allowed Yasir Salim to stroke the ball home courtesy of a deflection.

Despite the disappointment, the home side continued to pepper the Skem defence, with newcomer Matt Birchall looking particularly impressive. Just after the opening goal he watched as his header flew inches wide before a spectacular scissor-kick just failed to hit the target.

Matt Dudley saw his effort blocked on the line for a corner, from which Luke Sephton’s attempt met a similar fate.

A tempting cross from Dylan Fitzgerald caught Skem defender Haris Bouraima, but flew inches wide, preventing him from the embarrassment of an own goal.

Harvey Hayhurst sent over a tempting cross but Kuda Chingwaro’s connection failed to hit the target, whilst another Birchall header sailed into the arms of the overworked Skem keeper Ben Barnes.

So, the interval arrived with the onlookers mystified as to how the home side had not managed a breakthrough.

The second half opened in familiar style with Dudley again going close, but buoyed by their good fortune, the visitors gradually managed to pull themselves back into the game, although not troubling the Rams defence.

As the minutes ticked away along with the possibility of the home side earning anything for their efforts, hope appeared with 15 minutes to go.

There was a touch of fortune as Dudley’s strike took a deflection, but the sense of relief was audible as the ball nestled in the back of the net.

A corner from Hayhurst swept along the face of the crossbar as the Rams looked to grab a well-deserved three points, but the Skem defence continued to frustrate, and as so often happens, fate decreed that whereas a point was looking like scant reward for the Rams efforts, that, too would be taken away as the added-on time counted down.

A corner from the left was fumbled by Ryan Hamer in the home goal, and in the ensuing melee, Abdullahi Ahmed managed to scramble the ball home, much to the joy of his team-mates and supporters, in stark contrast to the bewilderment of the home side.

The visitors had the good grace to call it a smash and grab raid, and so it was, for the Rams must be wondering just what they can do to shake off this frustrating spell.

RAMSBOTTOM UNITED: Hamer, Radcliffe, Hayhurst, Sephton, Lent, Black, Fitzgerald (Bartram 69mins), Whittingham (Lewis 76mins), Dudley, Birchall (Ogunby 84mins), Chingwaro (Campbell 87mins). Sub not used: Collinge

Att: 222