Pickering Town are another side that we haven’t met that often. In fact, if you allow for the FA’s ruling that the 2019/20 season was null and void, then we have never met in league competition.
Of course, that is not the case and the North Yorkshiremen were one of the few sides that we did play twice in that uncompleted West Division campaign in the ‘old world’.
It was match number two of the season when we took a Tuesday night trip along the M62 to Mill Lane. Having grabbed a late win over Widnes on the Saturday, we travelled with some confidence to continue our good start.
That would have been dented when Danny Earl slotted past Tom Stewart in the Rammy goal with just two minutes on the clock to give the Pikes the lead, which they held onto until the 71st minute – despite Nic Evangelinos missing a penalty – when we hit them with a good old fashioned ‘one-two’.
First, Iyrwah Gooden stood unmarked at the far post to convert a cross from the right wing to level the scores and then, within sixty seconds, a through ball sliced through the Pickering defence and Ruben Jerome and smashing a well struck shot into the bottom corner of the net for his second crucial goal of the fledgling season to seal the 2-1 win and two wins from two starts.
The return game, just after New Year should have been something of a formality, given Pickering had suffered eleven defeats on the road while the Rams were in good form, scoring 22 goals in the previous four games. But nothing is certain in football and we had to cling on desperate to secure a 3-2 win at the HWRS.
The Rams took an early lead when Luke Thompson escaped his marker to connect with Tom Kennedy’s corner but this just sparked the visitors into action and they got a deserved equaliser from Flynn McNaughton just before the break.
Kennedy put the Rams ahead again from the spot and a free-kick from the ever-scoring boot of Evangelinos surely secured the points especially when the skipper had another penalty but this time, it was well saved by Harrison Foulkes in the Pikes goal.
Ryan Cooper lofted a wedge shot from 35 yards out to close the gap to a single goal again and the Rams were forced to hold out to take the three points.
But Pickering Town will always be remembered as being one of the sides we defeated in our memorable FA Trophy run of 2018/19.
Having beaten Trafford, Frickley Athletic and Yaxley in the previous rounds, a visit to Mill Lane came next and we took a 0-0 draw away on the Saturday afternoon third qualifying round to force a replay.
Evangelinos’ 15th minute strike – his fifth in the campaign – gave us the lead before Ryan Blott’s penalty levelled shortly after half-time.
With extra time and maybe penalties on the horizon, full-back Kyle Jacobs launched a thunderous right from 20 yards that flew past Charlie Andrew for his first Rammy goal. What a time for it to come with just two minutes left on the clock.
The rest – as they say – is history!
HEAD to HEAD: Rammy 3, Pickering 0, Draws 1
at the HWRS: Rammy 2, Pickering 0, Goals 5-3
at Mill Lane: Rammy 1, Pickering 0, Draws 1, Goals 2-1