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 18th DECEMBER 2010
RAMSBOTTOM UNITED v ALSAGER TOWN
(Report from the very old RUFC website)
The match between Ramsbottom United and Alsager Town has been called off due to a frozen pitch with the decision being made on the Friday afternoon. There was a covering of snow on the ground and with more freezing temperatures forecast, it has been decided to call the game off!
SATURDAY 18th DECEMBER 2004
FLEETWOOD TOWN 1 RAMSBOTTOM UNITED 2
(Report from the Lancashire Telegraph archives)
Unpleasant scenes after the final whistle marred an entertaining top-of-the-table clash on the Fylde coast, as the Rams completed an amazing double over the league leaders.
Rams’ boss Derek Egan had a selection headache prior to kick-off, with goalkeeper Mark Andrews unavailable, however, the last minute capture of Daniel Woodhead from local rivals Clitheroe proved decisive.
He had a debut to remember with a strong display between the sticks, although his early mistake may live with him for a while yet. However, it was nothing compared to the nightmare that Fleetwood keeper Cyril Sharrock endured.
The home side made a bright start and took an early lead.
Following a harsh decision against Bill Robertson on the edge of the box, striker Lee Catlow stepped up and confidently lashed the ball into the back of the net, with Woodhead stranded in the middle of his goal.
His first touch in a Ramsbottom shirt was to pick the ball out of the net, but things improved.
The Rams could quite easily have caved in against the league leaders, but instead they fought back superbly.
The equaliser arrived minutes later when Sharrock made his first horrendous blunder of the game by palming a Bernard Morley shot – that appeared to be going wide – into the path of Robertson, who gratefully accepted the chance to head the ball into the empty net.
As the half continued the league leaders were being overrun by a determined Ramsbottom side, and only fortune denied the visitors the lead after 20 minutes.
Another Morley drive was fumbled by Sharrock, but agonisingly the ball looped over the upright and away to relative safety.
The home side were struggling to keep up with the pace and flair shown by the Ramsbottom side; Town’s main threat came from set pieces.
Adam Tong was a danger with his aerial prowess, but his chance to shine was denied when his header was cleared off the line.
The visitors were probably a little disappointed to hear the half-time whistle, as they were gathering some momentum, and matters deteriorated as the players left the field.
As a result of a scuffle between both sets of players, Fleetwood defender Tong was red-carded and took no further part in the game.
After being reduced to ten men the home sides frustrations continued as they failed to create any meaningful chances.
The Rams then introduced Matt Edgington for Cook and Ewan Purcell for Mackay, demonstrating their intention to go for all three points.
On 62 minutes Mickey Saunders was almost rewarded for an afternoon of hard work when he embarked on a mazy run that took him past two defenders before unleashing a powerful strike that Sharrock parried before eventually clearing to safety.
The pressure continued and eventually the vital second goal came for the Rams on 70 minutes, when Edgington picked up the ball and after cutting inside he let fly a dipping shot that nestled in the back of the net after deceiving the unfortunate Sharrock.
Although the Rams had further chances to extend their lead the hosts almost grabbed an equaliser following a goalmouth scramble, but a combination of Woodhead and determined defending cleared the ball away from the danger area.
The remaining 10 minutes saw Town fail to muster any opportunities at all and the Rams emerged worthy winners.
The final whistle then saw players and supporters clash on the pitch to bring an unseemly conclusion to the game.
Ramsbottom United: Woodhead, Raywood, Ingham, Kozlowski, Robertson, Blackley, Mackay, Hayes, Saunders, Morley, Cook. Subs: Edgington (for Cook), Walsh (for Hayes), Ewan Purcell (for Mackay).
SATURDAY 18th DECEMBER 1999
RAMSBOTTOM UNITED v ST HELENS TOWN
A waterlogged pitch would put paid to Rammy’s home game with St Helens Town on this day in 1999 but there was a great article by Andy Neild, printed in the Lancashire Telegraph, about the Rams’ excellent goalkeeper Gary Stones, who had received the NWCFL’s Safe Hands award for November 1999.
FIREFIGHTER Gary Stones is used to answering emergency calls.
So when Ramsbottom United boss Ken Bridge needed helping out of a crisis earlier in the season, Gary was more than happy to lend a hand.
United have been plagued by goalkeeping problems during the last six months.
First, Paul Horridge, who became increasingly erratic towards the end of last season, quit the Riverside for UniBond outfit Barrow in the summer.
Then Bridge snapped up Chadderton stopper Mark Bedford as his replacement but a couple of howlers in United’s opening games saw him quickly shown the door.
That meant assistant boss Mike Kelly had to be pressed into service to fill the breach.
But while the veteran performed admirably as United reversed a slump which had seen them sink to the bottom of the table, Bridge knew it was little more than a stop-gap measure.
That’s when he decided to recruit Stones from Trafford.
And the former Atherton Collieries stopper has repaid his faith with a string of top performances which have coincided with the side’s surge up the FNWTL First Division.
United are currently 12th in the table going into tomorrow’s home game against St Helens. And Bridge has paid tribute to the stunning contribution Stones has made to his team’s revival – which led to him receiving the FNWTL First Division Safe Hands award for November.
“Gary has done very well since he joined us and it’s nice for anyone to receive an award,” said Bridge.
“Good keepers are very hard to find because there aren’t many of them about.
“But Gary has overcome a few problems recently with ‘flu and work commitments to fit in very well at the club.
“I tried to sign him last season when he was at Atherton LR but we just missed out because he wanted to try his luck with Trafford in the UniBond League.
“But he didn’t feel he was getting much of a chance there so, when I inquired about him again this time, he decided he wanted to come.
“We signed Mark Bedford at the start of the season but I was very disappointed with his performances and it cost us in a few games.
“Gary has solved that problem for us now.”
But United’s change in fortunes is not solely down to the form of Stones.
Striker Russell Brierley has also been instrumental with 22 goals, which makes him the league’s second leading scorer.
And Bridge is delighted with the way he has responded after taking some stick from the terraces last term.
“There were one or two remarks thrown his way,” said Bridge. “But he had started the season recovering from a double hernia and then he dislocated his shoulder so he was always struggling for fitness.
“But I never had any problem with how he was playing.
“This season, he’s been more like himself but he’s a quality player and, like goalkeepers, good strikers are also hard to come by.”
With the upheavals of the opening month now behind them, Rammy are entering the festive period in a position of strength.
And Bridge is quietly confident the year 2000 may turn out to be a memorable one in the club’s history.
“I’ve always said the Millennium was going to be our year and, with a bit of luck, we may be in the frame.
“I’m confident the second half of the season is going to be even better for us than the first half has been.”
Bridge reports no injury problems ahead of tomorrow’s clash against St Helens.
But the biggest doubt could be over United’s Riverside pitch, which was waterlogged earlier in the week.