Our head-to-head history with Leek Town is limited to just one season, which is maybe a little bit surprising as we have followed a fairly similar path to that of the Staffordshire side over the years.
Starting off in a local league before moving to the North West Counties then into the Northern Premier Division One, promoted to the Premier Division and then heading back down to this level. That is the story of Leek Town, although they have added two seasons in the Conference in the late 1990s.
You can certainly see the similarities in their story to ours although Leek’s happened well before ours did.
And when the Rams were in the Northern Premier Division 1 West, Leek Town were in 1 South – we have mirrored or matched their achievements in recent times.
So the only time our paths have previously crossed came in 2018/19 and our Blues are yet to defeat their Blues as they ran out comfortable 4-0 victors in September 2018 under Mark Fell before a post New Year game at the HWRS resulted in a 1-1 draw.
The game at Harrison Park was the start of the end for the Fell administration. The Rams had started the season fairly well and both sides were in the top ten in the early table but they were handed a hefty hiding on that Saturday afternoon.
Two goals in the space of three minutes from Robert Stevenson and Dan Trickett-Smith gave Leek a 2-0 lead after just 17 minutes and the card was firmly marked as the home side continued to press and the Rams struggled to find anything of merit.
There were two goals in the first half and hoped for at least two for the Rams in the second but it didn’t come and it was the home side that capitalised with Jordan Johnson added their third after 63 minutes before Darren Chadwick converted the penalty awarded when Stevenson was upended to complete a miserable afternoon for the Rams.
Another couple of defeats and a couple of draws and that was time for Fell as he departed and joined Lancaster City.
It was the first Saturday of 2019 when an inform Leek Town headed to Ramsbottom for the return game. The Rams had lost just two games of the 19 under their new manager Willcock and were just seven days away from a historical FA Trophy Round 2 game with Weymouth… and we all know what happened there!
But needing to bounce back from the 0-3 reverse at home to Atherton Collieries on New Years Day, the Rams claimed a decent 1-1 draw having had to play the game with ten men for 59 minutes after Ruben Jerome was given a straight red for an off the ball incident.
The Rams took the lead on 16 minutes when Ryan Ellison and Eddie Moran combined well to present the onrushing Jamie Rother who hammered a right-footed low drive for the opener.
And the Rams were seemingly having the better of the contest, even after the red card, but saw their lead ended after 53 minutes when Tony Donaldson was deemed to have handled which presented Aaron Bott with a penalty which he safely converted.
That’s it! That is the sum total of the history between our two clubs. Leek were moved back to the South East division, where they played 36 games across the two null-and-void seasons and lost only three of them – a record, once again, sounding all too familar.
Leek head to the HWRS in sixth place in the league table but lost 3-2 on Tuesday night at table topping Mossley, that coming after beating the much fancied Clitheroe last Saturday 2-0 at Shawbridge.
So, welcome back to our corner of East Lancashire to everyone from Leek Town, heading to our for just the second time.