LATE HEARTBREAK FOR BATTLING RAMS
Harvey Hayhurst scored a cracker earlier and nearly put the Rams back in front with this effort.
However, if the home side thought this would be an easy task, their hopes were misplaced as the Rams stood toe-to-toe with the high-riders for the entire game, and were desperately unlucky to come way with nothing, as a point would have been a just reward for a sterling performance.
An early confrontation in the Town penalty area which saw a scuffle between Luke Sephton and Town’s Omorogbe, sensibly handled by the referee, lay down the tone for what was to prove a battle between two teams, neither of which was prepared to give an inch.
That battle during the first half, was mainly contained between the two penalty areas, with very little to threaten either keeper, until the deadlock was broken on 42 minutes.
Pressure from the visitors saw two close range efforts thwarted with the ball finally going out for a corner to the Rams.
Finn Bartram put the ball into the box, and although, he appeared to have been pushed over, upon regaining his feet, Harvey Hayhurst found himself on the edge of the box with his back to goal as a half-clearance reached him. He turned superbly to fire home an unstoppable volley which will be a strong contender for goal of the season.
So, a tight first half saw the away side go in at the break with a slender lead, but one that was always going to be difficult to hold on to.
The home side came out for the second 45 determined to level things, but despite their efforts, the Rams defence grouped together to repel whatever was thrown at them from the big and well-organised hosts.
Tom Bentham saw his header sail wide of the Rams post, whilst Severino’s effort took a deflection to clear the away bar before the Rams breathed a sigh of relief as a shot struck the base of the post before George Boyd could only find the side netting.
The visitors ensured that it would not be all one-way traffic, as they created a number of chances of their own.
Kayle Power was inches away from connecting with a through ball, as was Sephton as he tried to reach a tempting cross in from the right.
However, the determination of the Town team finally paid off on 72 minutes, when a ball played in from the right found ex-Premier League Boyd who calmly slotted home the equaliser.
This did not deflate the hard-working Rams, whose entire squad put in a determined and admirable show, and just two minutes later Bartram fired in a thunderbolt that Hall in the Wythenshawe goal, did well to parry out, with Hayhurst’s follow-up blocked.
Substitute Harvey Whyte, back from injury, twice went close to restoring the lead as the visitors seemed determined to gain a reward for their hard work.
Alas, and not for the first time this season, as the game entered time added on, a long punt into the box from the Wythenshawe left was returned from the far side for Boyd to again be in the right place to plant home what was to prove the winner.
Still the Rams marched forward looking for some reward, but the closest they came was a 20 yard effort from Whyte that sailed over the bar.
The final whistle blew on a cruel and undeserved defeat for a Ramsbottom team, much changed as it is, that is finally looking like a well-organised and determined outfit.
More performances like this may come too late for a promotion push, but augurs well for the club going forward.
With manager Steve Wilkes hospitalised, coach Scott Campbell gave his thoughts:
“On a personal note, I think the game against Wythenshawe Town was one of the most frustrating this season.
“I think we competed all over the park and certainly for the first 45 minutes we were the better side and deserved the lead.
“Second half was a little more even and ultimately two little slips in concentration cost us three points.
“Over the last three matches I think everyone has seen a massive change on the pitch and more of a togetherness which will help us with a big run in to the end of the season.
“After the game, the lads were down about the result but could see how well every one of them played. It could have been a lot different if we had a full-strength squad to pick from but due to suspensions and injuries we had key players missing, but I think it shows how good the squad is now.
“There are a few lads with a few niggles from the game but we are confident they will get through the week’s training ready for Colne at home.
“Finally, on behalf of the management team and players, we would like to thank the travelling fans who got behind us from the first whistle to the last, as they always do.”
RAMSBOTTOM UNITED: Hamer, Hayhurst, Walder, Power, Radcliffe, Lent, Bartram (Ogunby 78mins), Whittingham (Fitzgerald 85mins), Sephton, MaMahon (Whyte 70mins), L.Jackson. Subs not used: Hart, Onasanya