When the draw was made for The Buildbase FA Trophy and it paired Pickering Town and Ramsbottom United in the second qualifying round, the romantics amongst us wound their minds back three years.
The FA Trophy and a Saturday trip to the North Yorks Moors. It was chapter four of one of the most incredible stories in our club history and while the 0-0 draw at Mill Lane probably didn’t live long in the memories, what followed certainly did.
Travelling east as the sole representatives of the West Division remaining in the competition on 24th November 2018, having sent Cambridgeshire side Yaxley packing just four days previously in a replay, 222 spectators enjoyed an attricional game between two sides that had never met before and a Pickering Town side who had never played in this competition previously either.
There was a strong start from the Rams and the Pikes threatened but neither could find a way through, although there was no shortage of attempts in the first 45 minutes.
And the second half fell much the same way with the visitors creating a number of chances but the hosts were probably the more disappointed not to have taken the victory when Blott’s late effort was blocked by Ashton in the Rammy goal – one of many fine saves that kept the Yorkshiremen at bay.
So, it was more a sense of relief to have headed back over the M62 with another opportunity on the Tuesday evening, this being their sixth consecutive FA Trophy original fixture away from home.
The replay went the way of the Rams in a game described in the official match report as “a couple of competitive old fashioned cup ties played within a few days of each other which were full of effort, determination and very watchable football.”
Nic Evangelinos – really, who else across that magical FA Trophy run – opened the scoring after 15 minutes when Eddie Moran (Cooper)’s run presented him with a left-footed shot that hit the target for his fifth goal in the last four FA Trophy games.
Parity was restored just after the break when substitute Dalton was unended in the box which allowed Ryan Blott to fire home the resulting penalty.
The match continued to flow end to end, both sides challenging for that illusive winner, it took until just two minutes from time for the breakthrough to come and what a strike it was! Ruben Jerome’s initial effort was blocked by the impressive Andrew in the Pikes goal but the rebound fell to Moran who found Kyle Jacobs on the edge of the area who carved a searing 20-yard shot into the back of the net.
It started chapter five which created the epic chapter six and the mesmeric chapter seven in the Rammy FA Trophy tale of 2018/19.
We have also met three times in league competition, although none of them officially count – twice in 2019/20 and once in 2020/21. The leagues were split once more and we went our separate ways this season.
Danny Earl’s second minute strike was cancelled out by a brace of Rammy goals within sixty seconds of each other – Iyrwah Gooden and Ruben Jerome both netting to give the Rams a 2-1 away win on 20 August 2019.
And the return fixture just four days in 2020 when a horribly out-of-form Pickering headed to the HWRS to face in-form Rammy and it could have gone either way right up to the final whistle.
Goals from Flynn McNaughton and an 84th minute wedge from Iwan Heeley from the half-way line cut the arrears after Luke Thompson’s early header, a Tom Kennedy penalty and a right-foot blaster from Evangelinos thought he had made it more comfortable for the hosts.
Then there was the 3-0 victory at the end of September 2020 in the very short campaign thanks to Sefton Gonzales double and Khalil Osi-Efa scoring late on.
So, all in all, it is 4-0 to the Rams with one draw in the five meetings to date. However, both sides will be looking to this game for some kind of boost with the Pikes next to bottom of the East Division with a solitary victory to their names while the Rams are without a victory in five and a goal in four.
Whatever happens, we are looking forward to heading east to the picturesque town of Pickering and adding to the rich, if limited, history between the teams.
And the start of new chapters?