by | Aug 8, 2023

Up next for the Rams is a name that will be familiar to many Ramsbottom United supporters, even though we have only met six times previously in competitive action and that name is Barnoldswick Town.

Our history with Barlick is contained to just two league seasons but a look at the Ramsbottom United history will notice that they feature fairly prominently – mainly as our primary competitors to the North West Counties League Premier Division title in the 2011/12 season.

It was nip and tuck all the way through that incredible season and meant that Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley’s side had to pull out all the stops – which they did with a tally of 37 points from the last available 39, only a draw at Bootle the dropped points.

That run included a thrilling 2-0 win at the Silentnight Stadium thanks to Jon Robinson’s double either side of the half-time break in front of 317 enthralled spectators.

The 2-0 win was actually the third meeting that campaign as we had played in the FA Cup Extra-Preliminary Round on 20 August 2011 which would serve as the appetiser to what would follow. And it was Robinson once again that did the damage, scoring twice in the first half to seal a 2-0 success. Our FA Cup passage then befell Salford City 2-1 on a memorable Friday night with the trophy in attendance before we dropped to a 2-1 loss at home to Nantwich Town a couple of weeks later.

The home league game on 4 October 2011 was described in the match report as a ‘nervy win’ but lead to reporter Tony Cunningham to state “A fine game, played in the right spirit will have lifted everyone at the Riverside. On the evidence of this match, it’s quite likely that both these teams will have a say in the title race, as this proved an excellent advert for North West Counties league football.” He wasn’t wrong!

Robinson – seemingly who else – opened the scoring after just nine minutes and the Rams held that lead until the 65th when Spencer Jordan tapped home from close range and then, a moment of controversy when the visitors were awarded a penalty on 75 minutes. With the ball bouncing harmlessly out of play, the referee adjudged that Shane Birtles had pushed Airdrie as they were both chasing the lost cause. Despite the vehement protests, Paul Fildes calmly took his chance to give the visitors the lead.

The Rams hit back with Dominic Smalley being upended in the box with ten minutes left and Mark Drew hammered home the spot kick and then Andy Dawson was at the far post to crack home a header to send the crowd into raptures. A brilliant game which the Rams took 3-2 in the end.

That season went right down to the final game but the Rams’ 5-1 beating of Winsford United was enough for us to lift the title.

The only other season together in the leagues was the 2010/11 year when the Rams finished second and Barnoldswick seventh. A 1-0 win at the Riverside opened the season with Joel Pilkington scoring after 41 minutes but the reverse fixture gave Barnoldswick their only league win over the Rams to date – winning 2-1 with Liam Garbutt and Aaron Hollindrake’s 88th minute strike giving them the win despite Mark Drew’s penalty 12 minutes from time.

We did meet in a pre-season game back in August 2020 with the Rams win 5-4 and no-one thought that the FA Cup clash which came on 21 August 2021 could match that – but it sure did!

The home side roared into a 2-0 lead with Paul Turner scoring both but Domaine Rouse pulled one back just before the interval. Turner completed his hat-trick shortly after the restart.  Rouse closed the gap once more on 53 minutes for 2-3.  The game was surely over when Gareth Hill slotted twice on 55 and 67 to put Barlick 5-2 up.

Not so!  Richie Baker pulled one back again and when Eddie Cooper brought the house down with the ninth goal of the afternoon, blasting into the top corner of the net from the edge of the box with four minutes remaining and anything could happen.

The Rams tried the utmost to pull back the equaliser but it just wasn’t to come and Barnoldswick held on for a 5-4 win.

18 goals have been scored in the last two encounters – a pre-season game and an FA Cup clash.  Can this league meeting match up to that?