Here is our latest edition of Rammy On This Saturday as we look back at the events on the pitch on the respective Saturday’s in our non-league history.


(Paul Cropper’s match report from the game)

A moment of needless, mindless ill discipline in the last 10 minutes cost the Rams what would have been a hard earned and fully justified point and quite possibly the chance of grabbing all three.

Nia Bayunu has been a stalwart in recent matches and had been at the heart of a well organised defence which has kept the high flying Barwell comfortably at bay but there can no excuse for the unprovoked retaliation which set off a melee after Luke Barlone was sent off for an ugly two-footed studs-up lunge on Joel Melia. The loss of Bayunu was always going to be more potentially catastrophic to the visitors and so it proved with just a couple of minutes left when there was a scramble in the hole left by the departed Bayunu, the ball somehow evaded Grant Shenton and Jamie Towers bundled the ball in for the hosts.

Quite frankly all of those desperately working to put the club back on its feet following the floods and the hardcore of travelling fans deserve better than that and the defeat leaves a bitter taste that is not sweetened by the excellence of the performance up to that point.

Playing two up front for the first time in several matches and a narrower midfield quartet had paid dividends for the Rams. They had by far the better of the first 45 minutes and could have scored at least three with a better bounce of the ball and a little more composure.

On 7 minutes the ball fell kindly to Danny Wilkins who rounded the keeper but could only find the side netting and on the half-hour, in quick succession, both Wilkins and Michael Oates had goal bound shots blocked by desperate defending. Barwell were making little progress against a resolute back four in which Bayunu was a forceful fulcrum, Phil Edghill playing with assurance, Robbie Bromley solid and Luke Heron untroubled. So it was both a shock when the home team took the lead with almost thei last kick of the first half – a speculative cross from the right, bouncing fortuitously into the path of Owen Story who volleyed past Shenton.

The second half continued pretty much as the first. Michael Oates could not get enough force behind a volley when placed and Barwell keeper Liam Castle was able to push the ball wide and at the other end Shenton did well to deflect a firm shot away from goal.

With play becoming increasingly stretched, the turning point which led the Rams back into the game with the introduction of their latest diminutive winger Joel Melia with 30 minutes left. From his first moments on the pitch, he showed neat ability to find space and to move directly with the ball at his feet. After a quiet period the Rams got back on the front foot and with 18 minutes left Melia skipped inside from the left and from the edge of the area fired a low shot into the bottom corner of sufficient pace and unerring accuracy to leave Castle no chance.

Almost immediately Kayde Coppin nearly repeated the trick, this time from the left but his meandering dribble from the touchline almost to the far corner of the box this time resulted in a shot which again had Castle beaten and then Edghill lacked only a bit more covering on his napless dome to put a bit more friction on a looping header to put it just under rather than marginally over the bar with Castle again leaping more in hope than expectation.

But then came the unforgivable to present the Rams with a long and pointless trip home.

RAMSBOTTOM UNITED: Grant Shenton (capt), Robbie Bromley, Luke Heron, Phil Edghill, Nia Bayunu, Jake Cliffe, Alex Meaney, David Kuba-Kuba (Joel Melia 57), Michael Oates, Danny Wilkins (Prince Hayward 90), Kayde Coppin. Subs not used: John Pritchard, Cameron Dudley, Dennon Ashcroft.


(Richard Isaacs’ match report from the game)

Ramsbottom United turned in a rusty, unconvincing performance in front of a three-year best attendance at The Riverside as they beat a tenacious Atherton LR 3-2 on a blisteringly cold afternoon – but the result took them back to second.

It was far from a perfect showing on a solid surface that was given the go-ahead by the Widnes-based referee just 90 minutes prior to kick-off but, with a number of other local games postponed, the attendance swelled to 249 – the largest since Easter Saturday 2007 when over 1,000 FC United supporters came to town on the “Rammy Rattler” !!!

Rammy made a couple of surprising changes to their side that were defeated by Newcastle Town in the League Cup last week. Tommy Allen was given his debut in goal, displacing the rested Damien Rooney while Barry Massey partnered Carl Lomax in attack with Kieron Fletcher making way. Accrington Stanley academy youngster Scott Scraggs took a seat on the bench for the Rams.

The home side had the better of the early stages and came close to scoring when co-manager Bernard Morley failed to connect to a fine cross from the right from Lee Connell when the Rams had claimed the first corner of the game.

Much against the early run of play, Atherton responded through Dominic Smalley but his effort was wide of the mark and then had a second bite of the cherry when he was left in plenty of space but his chance was cleared.

The deadlock was broken on 19 minutes when Barry Massey converted the third of three Rammy opportunities in the space of two minutes. Initially, Massey had a shot saved and Eddie O’Neill’s long-range effort climbed over the bar. But, from a free-kick from the left-hand side, the veteran striker buried the chance for a deserved lead.

The visitors were relying on some long-range shots which were hardly testing Allen in the Rammy goal but, on the half-hour, the scores were surprisingly level.

With Rammy bearing down on the Atherton goal, the ball was speculatively cleared and the pacy Ashford Blake outpaced the home defensive line and placed the ball beyond Allen for the equaliser.

That early zip that Rammy had seemed to desert them after the shock of conceding and it was LR who closed the half the stronger.

Whatever advantage was carried into break was quickly dispursed two minutes into the second half when Eddie O’Neill was on the end of a good move up field to crash home his fifth goal of the season to edge Rammy back into the lead.

And that galvanised the hosts. Carl Lomax could have done better with a chance from five yards out and he had another go but shot over the bar from close range. Opportunities came and went for the home side while LR were left with just speculative efforts.

But, once again, some disappointing defending allowed Atherton to level the tally on 67 minutes. Bradley Cooke broke and as the Rammy line called for offside, it was all in vain as the midfielder tucked the ball away for 2-2.

In all honesty, Atherton had had two clear chances through the game and scored from both while Ramsbottom were peppering their goal – but the scoreline doesn’t lie and level it was.

It set up an nerve-jangling ending but it was Lomax who steadied the ship. After Lee Connell crashed the ball into the post from five yards out, Lomax clipped the crossbar with a flighted effort and was also denied by Martin Pearson just keeping the ball out, he made sure the ball crossed the line on 79 minutes, lifting the ball cleverly into the net.

The entertainment didn’t finish there though. Atherton almost levelled for a third time but hit just over on a couple of occasions and they even had goalkeeper Pearson pushing forward for an equaliser in the dying minutes but the home side held on and it was a relieved co-manager Bernard Morley at the end.

“We will take a win in those conditions”, he said, feeling that, in hindsight, the pitch wasn’t perfect. “All I asked the lads to do was go out there and win the game and they did.

“Granted, Atherton had a good go at us and they are a completely different side from the team we beat 4-0 in October but we played some good stuff and it’s three points in the bag and we are back to second.”

But he did concede that there were continued concerns over the defence. “I am not going to point the finger at anyone as I felt that, as a team defensively, we have a lot to learn. This is something that we will have to address in training before we play Abbey Hey next week.”

RAMSBOTTOM UNITED: Tommy Allen, Barry Shuttleworth (Mark Sharples 75mins), John Blackley, Andy Dawson, George Bowyer, Joel Pilkington, Bernard Morley, Eddie O’Neill, Barry Massey (Jon Robinson 71mins), Carl Lomax, Lee Connell (Scott Craggs 81mins). Subs not used: Phil Dean, Kieron Fletcher.


Unbeaten in their last two games, a midweek 1-1 draw with Mossley followed by a Steve Orrell hat-trick inspired 3-1 away win at Leek CSOB, the Rams sat out this particular Saturday, which was a pity as it halted a decent bit of momentum, as they were had been unbeaten in five of their last eight games, winning four of them.

With 17 games still to play, there was still plenty of hope to mount a serious challenge for promotion.