by | Apr 12, 2024

Matty Birchall gave Rammy hope of a late comeback after his 90th minute strike.

NWC Premier Division • 11 April 2024

What would have been unthinkable just a few years ago, saw Ramsbottom United make the short journey down to neighbours Bury for a league match.

Leckenby's Tea Rooms

The home side took an early lead, no doubt hoping that would open the floodgates in their quest for promotion, but in front of the biggest crowd ever to watch a Ramsbottom United match, the Rams refused to buckle, and gave as good as they got on an horrendous playing surface.

Leckenby's Tea Rooms

The match was in doubt due to the weather and the state of the pitch, but fortunately, with time running out, it played out better than expected with both sides producing better quality football than was expected.

The Shakers took just seven minutes to take the lead. A cross in from the right-hand side found Connor Comber, who stroked the ball past keeper Chris Thompson and into the far corner.

Far from deflating the visitors, the Rams set off looking for an equaliser, with Matty Birchall cutting in from the left only to see his curling shot sail over the bar.

Harvey Whyte and Harvey Hayhurst both had quick-fire attempts charged down, whilst a scramble in the six-yard box was eventually cleared to safety.

At the other end, Will Reeves would have been disappointed to see his effort sail wide of the post, but the half-time break arrived with the Rams one goal down but certainly not out of the contest.

The hosts were denied early in the second half thanks to some determined defensive interventions, but the Rams countered with a fine cross from Hayhurst, although Whyte’s attempt was easily gathered by Wright in the home goal.

The keeper then snuffed out a close-range opportunity for Oumar Camara before Bury clinched a second, and ultimately match-winning goal on 61 minutes.

A long through ball found Dean Pinnington, as he darted between three Rams defenders, shaking off the challenges and firing past the advancing Thompson.

Still the visitors created chances. Hayhurst again provided a cross for Matty Birchall but he was unable to finish, and the same player poked the ball wide from a Camara pass.

The home side should have sealed the win with ten minutes to go as an excellent cross from the left found the head of Andy Briggs, but he inexplicably put it over the bar from six yards out.

Fellow-substitute Tanaka Cherera was foiled as Thompson turned his rasping drive round the post, before a glimmer of hope arrived for the visitors on the 90th minute.

A ball played into the area found Birchall, and he confidently picked his spot to halve the arrears.

With the encouragement of the healthy number of visiting supporters, the Rams went looking for a point saver, and were denied what looked like a penalty, with the referee waving play on. Had it been given and scored, Bury could have had no complaints, as a draw would probably have been a fair result.

Considering the conditions and the inevitable opening of the heavens, both sides deserved credit for producing an entertaining ninety minutes.

Manager Steve Wilkes assessed the match, “I’m so proud of my players, to put in a performance on that kind of pitch was outstanding. We all know the game would never have been played six weeks ago but it was given the go-ahead due to only nine days remaining in the season.

“I’ll have to be careful how I word the next sentence, but at 2-1 in the fifth minute of the six added, we were denied a most blatant penalty and by that I mean even the Bury players said it was a stone-wall penalty. If there were 150 in the ground, the referee gives it, but in front of 3,800 he somehow didn’t.

“A massive thank you to our travelling fans who never stopped singing all night. A credit to the football club”.

RAMSBOTTOM UNITED: Thompson, Radcliffe (Ogunby 83mins), Hayhurst (Walder 77mins), Allen, Lent, Butterworth, Walker (D.McMahon 76mins), Birchall, Camara, Whyte, Sephton. Subs not used: Tavakoli, Hamer

Att: 3,776