by | Dec 22, 2023

Last Saturday shopping day before Christmas – Bury Market will be heaving today! But there was still football to be had as we look back on the events of our non-league history on Saturday 23rd December.


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

Ramsbottom United made the trip to North Yorkshire for their first match in 18 days in the reverse of the opening day fixtures with three changes to the starting line up.

After a number of departures and injuries in recent weeks the Rams began with Charlie Albinson in goal after a loan move from Blackburn Rovers along with 19 year old Accrington Stanley central defender Zehn Mohammed and leading the line was Rams favourite Lee Gaskell who returned to the Riverside after a brief stint at Colne.

The visitors began the contest positively and with barely 5 minutes on the clock Greg Daniels had the first effort on goal which was comfortably gathered by Ingram in the home goal. Tadcaster responded with an attempt of their own which sailed wide of the target in a lively opening before Sellars struck the crossbar with a well taken free kick as the home side looked for the opening goal of the contest.

Ramsbottom’s front four attackers were involved in some good approach play without reward but with 25 minutes played Liam Brownhill tripped the tricky Greening in the box and the referee pointed to the spot, the penalty was confidently despatched by Sellars as the visitors unfortunately fell behind.

The goal appeared to give the home side a confidence boost as Tom Corner flashed a shot wide but as the half wore on the Rams looked to restore parity with Gaskell testing Ingram from a free kick. The away team almost got their reward with 5 minutes of the half remaining when a free kick found Sam Heathcote whose well-directed header look destined for the net before hitting the inside of the post before being scrambled off the line by a home defender, amazingly the clearance was prodded back towards goal before a defender cleared off the line for a second time in a matter of seconds.

Just before the half time whistle sounded both teams traded attempts on goal with Heathcote testing Ingram before Corner flashed a shot wide of the target but it was the home side that enjoyed a slender advantage but Ramsbottom could feel unfortunate to be behind in a very watchable encounter.

The second period began with no changes to either side but Tadcaster almost doubled their lead when Greening flashed an effort over the bar when well placed.

The Rams were gaining a foothold in the match and looking more of a goal threat as Phil Dean brought a good save low down from Ingram.

With just over an hour played the visitors scored a deserved equaliser when good play between Gaskell and Dean lead to Jerome Wright receiving the ball on the edge of the penalty area before finding some room and fizzing a well-placed shot past Ingram and into the corner of the net.

Shortly after the equaliser Alex Meaney replaced the hard working Eddie Moran in the Rams midfield but the home side almost retook the lead when a Greening shot brought a superb save from Albinson to keep the contest level.

Both sides were looking dangerous as the match began to get stretched with raiding full back Heathcote firing in a low shot which the home keeper did well to keep out before Jerome Wright nearly notched his second goal with a shot that Ingram tipped onto the post before grabbing at the second attempt.

Tadcaster were pushing forward as the minutes ticked by but the Rams defence responded well with Mohammed having a very accomplished debut alongside the ever dependable Luke Thompson with full backs Brownhill and Heathcote repelling the home side when needed.

Lee Gaskell made way for Yves Zama with 5 minutes remaining and the substitute almost won the game for the Rams when his well struck drive just missed the far post but ultimately the game ended all square in what was a very enjoyable contest to witness.

As the Ramsbottom United supporters applauded their teams efforts the players and staff made their way over to shake hands and offer their best wishes to the fans that had made their way over the Pennines. A classy gesture from all involved!

Ramsbottom United manager Mark Fell summed up the afternoons proceedings with the following statement

“2nd half we were excellent, we looked like we’d not played in 3 weeks early on but again it looks like we’ve been let down by the officials on a certain goal that’s crossed the line to send us into half time level. We pinned them in after the break and once the equaliser went in I thought we were the only team who looked likely.

“Zehn Mohammed and Charlie Albinson were superb on their debuts – both will have a major part to play over Christmas. We move onto Boxing Day which will be a tough test against Atherton Colls”.

Ramsbottom United: Albinson, Heathcote, L.Brownhill, Stott, Thompson, Mohammed, Dean, Moran (Meaney 63 mins), Gaskell (Zama 85 mins), Daniels , Wright. Subs not used: Rother, M. Williams, T.Williams


North West Counties League Division 1

Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a full match report for this momentus game in Rammy’s history as they crushed struggling Atherton LR 9-1 at the Riverside to give the 149 watching a real Christmas treat.

There wasn’t really much of the sign of what was to come when Steve Maden opened the scoring on 12 minutes and it was levelled just before the half-hour mark by Duncan Richards.

Ryan Moore restored the Rams’ lead and they went into the break with just a 2-1 lead.

But four goals in the space of 11 minutes certainly ensured the tea bar queue emptied quickly as Carl Lomax added Rammy’s third in the first minute of the second half, Maden added a second two minutes later and then Ryan Moore slotted two in three to open up a 6-1 advantage before an hour had passed.

Lee Cryer has only been on for seven minutes before he added the seventh goal and then Stephen McDonald followed it up on 67 and 78 minutes to leave the visitors stunned and the hosts jubilant as they headed down to Gigg Lane a couple of days later for the ‘local derby’ with FC United of Manchester.

That 9-1 victory is still a Rams record for most goals scored although the 9-0 success over Stantondale in 1996 remains the biggest winning margin.


North West Counties League DIvision 1
(match report from Lancashire Telegraph archive)

Russell Brierley took his Ramsbottom goal tally to 17 this season but the Rams just failed to make it four successive wins.

Ken Bridge’s side dominated the first half against fellow NWCL Division One promotion hopefuls Kidsgrove and took the lead ten minutes before the interval. Chris Willcock piled on the pressure in the area, his effort was cleared by a Kidsgrove defender but it fell to

Brierley who made no mistake from six yards out.

But the hope side grabbed an equaliser 10 minutes after the restart to make Bridge’s men pays for a series of missed chances.

Darren Bowman shot wide, Mike Langhorn fired over the bar with the keeper beaten and Danny Goodall had a couple of half chances.

“I felt it was an excellent first half but, after just two games in six weeks, we visibly tired in the second half on a heavy surface and made a few mistakes,” said the Rams chief.

One of these was by defender Mike Smith who gifted the home side a free kick on the edge of the area ten minutes after the restart. It was played into the box, flicked onto the back post and although keeper Keith Neild did well to block the shot it found the back of the net for the equaliser and, on a bobbly surface, both sides had limited efforts after that.

“It’s all set up for a battle of the valley’s today after Rossendale drew on Saturday against Curzon,” said Bridge as his side welcomed Dale to the Riverside in a huge NWCL Division One clash (ko3pm). “Both sides try and play football so it should be entertaining.”


North West Counties League Division 2
(match report from Rossendale Free Press)

Debutant Mike Langhorn made a big difference to the Ramsbottom United side as they notched up an impressive 3-0 victory against high-flying Castleton Gabriels.

Langhorn made several charges down the left wing and made Johnson’s opening goal.

Manager Ken Bridge made a tactical switch moving skipper Phil Rose from midfield into the back four to strengthen the defence and this proved decisive.

“It was our best performance of the season,” said Bridge. “There were some fine individual efforts right through the team. I thought our goalkeeper Mike Kelly was outstanding.

“Steve Johnson also had a tremendous match holding the ball up well.”

Johnson opened the scoring when he volleyed home an early ball from Langhorn after he had made a fine run down the left wing.

Centre-half John Parkinson headed home the second goal from a Mark Isherwood corner.

Johnson then added his second when he toe-pked the ball home after a goalmouth scramble following some excellent play by Mark Keegan.

“This result has certainly lifted the club after our barren run of form,” commented Bridge.

United have been hit by a flu-bug as they prepare for their home clash with Tetley Walker tomorrow.