We once again dip into the Ramsbottom United archives to see what happened on this respective Saturday in our non-league semi-professional history. And, it will be centered on 2010, 2004 and 1999.
SATURDAY 11th DECEMBER 2010
RUNCORN LINNETS 0 RAMSBOTTOM UNITED 5
(Tony Cunningham’s match report from the very old RUFC website)
On their first ever visit to the new Millbank Linnets Stadium, Ramsbottom United produced the most comprehensive of performances to ditch the hosts 5-0 to keep up their promotion challenge.
To return to action, after a weather-induced three week break, with an away game against a side that had won their last three games was a daunting enough prospect. To do it with the back-bone of the team ripped out, made the task even more difficult. Keeper Grant Shenton was suspended, Andy Dawson was down with the flu, and Jon Robinson was out with a long-standing ankle injury.
So this result really did emphasise the depth of the squad that joint-managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley have put together.
The Rams did not just beat the startled home side, they outplayed them in every department, so much so, that two home fans were heard to say, as they trudged off despairingly “If we’d put out two teams today, Ramsbottom would still have beaten us”!
This performance was outstanding. The quality of the passing both long and short, the movement off the ball, and the all-round enthusiasm shown by every player made this the perfect performance.
The visitors showed their intentions from the off, and after five minutes Lee Gaskell was inches away from heading home a Mark Drew free-kick. Moments later Drew fed Phil Dean but his effort from the edge of the box was blocked, then Drew, again, played in Gaskell but he was beaten to the ball by the on-rushing home keeper.
The home side did briefly reply. Prescott’s fine shot was brilliantly tipped aside by Matt Ince on his League debut, then former Ram Sean Pearson should have done better than weakly head a cross wide.
However, in the 18th minute, United took the lead. Gaskell was played in down the left, and as he cut inside his fierce drive was parried by the keeper straight to the feet of the on-rushing Joel Pilkington, who took great delight in netting against his former club.
Shortly afterwards, Dominic Smalley, who along with Dean, was proving to be a thorn in the side of the Runcorn full-back, raced through the home defence in fine style before pushing the ball through to Mark Sharples. His effort struck the outstretched legs of the keeper to keep the score down to just one goal.
The home side had a good shout for a penalty when the ball appeared to strike the hand of Danny Warrender, but the referee thought otherwise and waved away their protests.
A couple of long range efforts from Gaskell and Drew were dealt with by Eastham in the Linnets’ goal, before Ince was called upon to magnificently turn away what looked like a certain equaliser just before the break. The relieved visitors then stormed up to the other end and Gaskell saw his shot diverted straight to Smalley who smashed it home from ten yards to double the Rams’ half-time advantage.
Nine minutes into the second half, and it was game over. A high free-kick from just inside the Linnets half on the right was played in by the influential Drew, and Ian Flannery found himself unmarked as he powered in a header to make it 3-0.
Smalley then produced yet another fine run at goal, but his cross-cum-shot was inches away from being converted by Gaskell.
Not that it mattered, for the one-way traffic continued, and seconds later, on 57 minutes, the Rams scored their fourth. Pilkington picked the ball up 25 yards out, and let fly with a superb shot that had the net bulging before the keeper could move.
Not to be outdone, Drew attempted the same trick, but he was unlucky to see his pile-driver crash behind off the post for a goal-kick.
At this point, the visitors were cruising, so much so, they took off three midfield players and sent on three more attackers.
The only surprise was that Andy Sensale and Mickey Saunders did not add to the scoreline, for time and again they found gaps in the demoralised home defence, but poor finishing and fine goalkeeping combined to keep the score to four.
The home side should have notched a consolation when their best move of the game opened up the Rams defence, but Pearson skied the ball over from five yards when he looked certain to score.
On 84 minutes Lee Gaskell wrapped things up from the penalty spot after Dean’s run into the box saw him unceremoniously up-ended.
That made it 5-0, a repeat of the hammering the Rams gave the Linnets back at the Harry Williams Riverside Stadium three months previously.
It sealed a performance of true quality, and on this evidence, it would be unwise to rule the Rams out of the chase for the League title. The second half of the season looks like being quite entertaining!
RAMSBOTTOM UNITED: Ince, Warrender, Rothel, Pilkington (Sensale 62mins), Shuttleworth, Flannery, Smalley, Drew (Lomax 62mins), Gaskell, Sharples (Saunders 62mins), Dean. Subs not used: Lea, Johnson.
SATURDAY 11th DECEMBER 2004
CONGLETON TOWN 0 RAMSBOTTOM UNITED 2
(Report from the Lancashire Telegraph archives)
The Rams’ travels yielded three crucial points on Saturday as managerless Congleton were comprehensively outplayed at Booth Street.
The victory moved the Rams into the top four and with an intriguing encounter at league leaders Fleetwood Town next week, the confidence within the camp appears to be increasing with each performance.
Throughout the opening half, the Rams were guilty of missing several clear cut chances although a sterling performance between the sticks from Barry Higson kept the home side in the match.
After only six minutes, a scuffed shot from Bernard Morley fortuitously found Michael Saunders but he was unable to get enough elevation to lift the ball over the advancing Higson.
This set the pattern of the opening exchanges and Higson came to the rescue again when Saunders was played in behind the defence but he fired the ball into the body of the keeper.
Higson’s performance was even more influential after an injury he was carrying prior to kick off appeared to flare up affecting his overall agility.
Morley almost opened the scoring after 23 minutes when he picked up the ball on the edge of the box and unleashed a dipping drive that slipped through the grasp of Higson but struck the top of the crossbar before floating behind for only a corner.
Another golden opportunity fell to the same player when Morley dragged his shot wide with only the keeper Higson to beat.
The hosts fought back during the latter part of the half with a succession of corners, the Ramsbottom defenders having to cope with a barrage of aerial threats most notably Scott Murcott who directed two headers into the arms of Andrews having risen above the Rams defence.
For the most part, the visiting defence coped with everything Congleton could throw at them but without the breakthrough both sides still felt confident that they could go on and win the game in the second half.
The second half continued in much the same vein with Ramsbottom pushing forward yet lacking the killer touch, and the home side looking particularly dangerous at set pieces.
On 53 minutes Jamie Petrie hit a fierce strike from 25 yards that tested the alertness of Andrews but he was equal to the task put in front of him.
Derek Egan introduced both Ewan Purcell and Matt Edgington to increase the attacking influence on the game and almost immediately these changes proved dividends.
Eventually the pressure on Higsons goal told when Edgington was found inside the box and after firing a powerful strike towards goal that Higson did well to palm on to the post, Saunders was well placed to nod home.
Moments after scoring, Saunders was on the end of a dreadful challenge from Steve Maddocks that resulted in a red card for the offender.
With Congleton pushing men forwards, any counter attacks would provide guilt edge chances for the visitors and after Edgington failed to convert a one on one by firing wide of the upright, Saunders eventually made the game safe as the match entered injury time by latching on to a Walsh through ball before firing into the bottom corner beyond Higson.
RAMSBOTTOM UNITED: Andrews, Raywood, Ingham, Kozlowski, Robertson, Blackley, Mackay (Edgington), Hayes (Walsh), Saunders, Morley (Purcell), Cook.
SATURDAY 11th DECEMBER 1999
GLOSSOP NORTH END v RAMSBOTTOM UNITED
With a two match break due to the weather, the Rams had hoped to travel to one of the sides struggling that season in Glossop North End.
Ken Bridge’s men had climbed into mid-table with games in hand on the back of a run of just two defeats in 16 league games.
And they would have been at near full-strength, bar Brendan O’Shaughnessy as he serves the last game of a ban. Steve Orrell (rib) and Neil Wallace (hamstring) had shaken off injuries to take their place in the squad.
But the game didn’t happen as the weather struck once more!