by | Nov 18, 2023

Let’s take a moment to look back over matches played on this particular Saturday in our non-league history and today it’s Saturday 18th November.

Evo-Stik Northern Premier League North Division
(match report by Jon Haslam)

The Rams made the trip to the Sir Tom Finney Stadium on Saturday to take on league leaders Bamber Bridge looking for their first away win of the season with new additions Jacques Kpohomouh and Yves Zama making their debuts after arriving from Southport in the last few days.

It was the hosts that had the first effort on goal on 8 minutes when Carsley forced a save from Danny Taberner but Ramsbottom had started the game confidently and forced a couple of early corners as they sought to improve their fortunes on the road.

Sadly Zama’s promising first start for the visitors was curtailed through injury on the quarter hour mark and with Greg Daniels suspended it was Sam Heathcote who replaced the stricken forward.

After an even 20 minutes it was the Rams that took the lead when Eddie Moran won the ball in his own half before a surging run took him to the edge of the box before drilling a well-placed shot past Rigby to register his 2nd goal in 3 games.

Ramsbottom had performed well in the opening half hour restricting Bamber Bridge to a single strike at goal whilst looking a threat themselves on the break.

As the half wore on the hosts began to create more problems for the visitors with a Vasey header drifting wide of the target before Richardson replied for the Rams with a well struck effort which Rigby saved comfortably.

As the half concluded Ramsbottom merited their lead with the excellent Dean Stott protecting the defence in his usual combative and effective style, debutant Kpohomouh slotted into the backline seamlessly with the ever reliable trio of Brad Roscoe, Luke Thompson and Kyle Brownhill impressing at the half way point.

The second period began with hope amongst the visiting supporters that the first away win of the campaign was possible but understanding that table toppers Bamber Bridge would likely improve after the break.

The home side made two early substitutions as they looked to change the pattern of the match but it was the Rams who doubled their lead as the hour mark approached when Roscoe sent Phil Dean scampering down the right touchline before cutting inside and curling a delightful effort which hit the inside on the post before falling to Jerome Wright who rifled past Rigby to give the away side a merited two goal advantage.

Ramsbottom were playing with a confidence that belied their recent away results and were looking a huge threat on the counter attack as Bamber Bridge threw more bodies forward looking for a way back into the contest. Home keeper Rigby had to be at his best to deny Wright again before both sides made changes with Jamie Rother replacing the impressive Ben Richardson.

The contest looked all over with 15 minutes remaining when more wing wizardry from Dean gave an unmarked Heathcote a simple tap in from 2 yards out to give the auxiliary striker his 8th goal of the campaign and a seemingly unassailable lead for the Rams.

The first 70 minutes from Ramsbottom was a joy to witness as each member of the side contributed to a very strong performance which must have pleased the Management team.

Phil Dean then left the field to be replaced by another debutant Callum Spooner, indeed Dean had without doubt his best game since returning to the Rams recently as his two assists highlights.

Bamber Bridge gave themselves a lifeline on 84 minutes when a right wing cross found Boyd whose header beat Taberner to reduce the arrears. The goal gave the hosts some hope and a superb block from Thompson denied Dudley before the referee turned down two penalty appeals as the pressure built on the Rams.

With 5 minutes injury time signalled the home side laid siege to the visitors goal with Carsley firing over the bar before a second Bamber Bridge goal arrived with 2 minutes remaining as Waddecar slammed a loose ball past Taberner at the near post.

Nerves were jangling amongst the Rams fans in attendance but despite their best efforts Bamber Bridge surrendered their unbeaten home league record as Ramsbottom United celebrated their first away victory of the season in what was a superb advert for non league football.

An understandably thrilled Mark Fell had the following to say after the match:-

“I’m delighted for the lads, away from home we’ve not got what we deserved but today we dominated large spells and took our chances. We made it tough in the closing stages and fair play to Brig they are very resilient. It was torture for me in the stand but Lanky and Scott did a great job in the dugout, I thought Phil Dean and Jerome Wright tortured them at times and Jacques at centre half had a great debut.

“The key for us was to get the away win monkey off our back and push on now, we’re 4 points off the playoffs and we need a bit of a run to put us back in the mix but I feel this group of players are capable of that.”

Ramsbottom United: Taberner, Roscoe, K.Brownhill, Stott, Thompson, Kpohomouh, Dean (Spooner 76 mins), Moran, Zama (Heathcote 15mins), Wright, Richardson (Rother 71 mins).  Subs not used: Meaney, Brooks                                                                                


North West Counties League Division 1
(report from Chris Dunn)

Another poor home performance saw the Rams slip further off the pace at the top end of the table.

Yet again, poor finishing cost them dear as Abbey Hey took all the points from a game in which they rarely threatened.

The Rams should have taken the lead on 16 minutes when Neil Rhodes’ cross fell kindly to Lee Cryer, but Cryer’s flick towards goal was blocked on the line and from the clearance, the ball fell to Anthony Johnson whose first time shot was again blocked on the line and eventually put out for a corner.

From the resulting corner, Ryan Moore got his head on the ball but agonisingly it trickled along the line and was cleared out to safety when all it needed was a Rams player to come in and tap the ball into the net.

Abbey Hey started to get back into the game and on 19 minutes they were awarded a free kick. Michael Kearney stepped up but Martin Campbell in the Rams goal pulled of a good save to keep the scores level.

As the first half came to an end, the Rams were awarded a penalty when Liam McManus made a surging run into the Abbey Hey penalty area and, with the slightest of challenges, he went down.

Ryan Moore, the Rams top goalscorer so far this season, took his time but his eventual spot kick went high and wide over the bar.

In the 43rd minute, the Rams had yet another chance to take the lead when Lee Cryer latched onto a poor pass by Abbey Hey, and as he ran forward the Rams found themselves with just one defender to beat, but Lee Cryer opted to pass to Johnson and his shot was easily blocked by the last defender.

The second half was much the same as the first with the Rams starting the brighter. A cross by Cryer was met by Johnson but there wasn’t enough power in the shot and the keeper made an easy save.

On 59 minutes, Ryan Moore tested the keeper with a stinging shot but again, the Abbey Hey number one had it covered.

After much domination by the Rams, it was Abbey Hey who took the lead when they were awarded a dubious free kick after the referee had adjudged Moore had fouled a player from a throw-in.

Graham Hicks took the free kick and, as he launched the ball into the area, Michael Kearney was the first to connect and simply flicked it over the stranded Campbell and into the net.

With 20 minutes remaining the Rams, as much as they tried, failed to seriously test the Abbey Hey keeper.

Johnson had a chance to equalise when the ball fell kindly to him from a poor clearance by the keeper, but his powerful shot was too high and the keeper made an easy save.

The game ended in controversial fashion as a shot by Moore, deep into injury time, looked to have been handballed in the area but the referee was well placed to ignore the Ramsbottom shouts. He was immediately surrounded by the men in blue but he waved away the protest.

Overall, it was a poor performance by the Rams in a game they should have won.

As for the Rams, this is two games without a goal, it is another home defeat and with Flixton and Colne coming up this week, it is going to be a testing time for Lee Sculpher and his side.


For a second successive Saturday, the weather ensured the Rams were without a game as their game with Kidsgrove Athletic fell foul to the continued rains that blighted the area across the course of November – meaning their last five games had all been called off.

Manager Ken Bridge was able to select from a full squad for the game too apart from the long-term benched Warren Brierley and Dave Roach while Andy Grimshaw and Barry White were beginning seven day suspensions on Monday so would miss the midweek re-arranged cup game with Colne …. if it was going to get the go-ahead (note: it did!)


North West Counties League Division Two
(report from Rossendale Free Press)

Ramsbottom United put up a brave fight against undefeated Atherton Collieries before going down 2-1.

After a scoreless first half, Rammy were unfortunate to go behind when Mel Burke converted a killer cros spast his own goalkeeper.

This spurred the Riverside club into action and they were rewarded when an equalising goal from Phil Rose, headng home a Paul Stanley corner.

Collieries grabbed their winner eight minutes from time when Owens broke clear and confidently stabbed the ball home.

“They have a lot of experience at Atherton having several players on loan from Hyde United,” said Rammy boss Ken Bridge.

“I felt we held them well but Darren Hardman had a tough time against their striker Chadwick.

“The only weakness was on the flanks where Paul Stanley and Martin Hulme were unable to provide the final pass.

“I was pleased with the performance of Maurice Thompson.  He made some telling passes from midfield.”