by | Dec 2, 2023

It’s Saturday once again so its time to look back at what was going on with the Rams on this particular Saturday in our semi-professional history and today is Saturday 2nd December.


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

Table topping South Shields were the visitors to the HWRS on Saturday afternoon and were made to fight all the way to the end of an entertaining contest against a battling Ramsbottom United side.

The Rams started the game with an excellent home record, suffering only two league defeats this season beginning the match in determined fashion as the visitors, backed by a vociferous travelling support from the North East, looked to consolidate their lead at the summit of the table.

It was the visitors who took the lead shortly before the quarter hour mark with their first attempt on target when a free kick was swing into the home box and Finnigan’s flicked header fell kindly to Storey who side footed home past Danny Taberner.

As the half progressed more chances began to be created as Phil dean tested Connell from the edge of the penalty area for the Rams before another set piece for South Shields was headed over by Morse when well placed.

South Shields almost doubled their lead just after the half hour point when a good run from the impressive Holmes found Armstrong whose shot struck the post much to the relief of the home supporters.

Ramsbottom responded when an excellent pass from November Player of the Month Eddie Moran sent Dean scampering away down the left side before taking the ball past the onrushing keeper, sadly the cross was cut out but gave the home side some encouragement as they looked to restore parity.

Sadly bad luck was to strike on 37 minutes when Ramsbottom unfortunately lost their regular custodian when Danny Taberner succumbed to injury and with no sub keeper on the bench it was midfielder Ben Richardson who yet again showed his versatility by taking over in goal.

As the half was almost at an end, the Rams created a decent chance when Greg Daniels played a sublime pass through to Moran whose ball across the six yard line evaded the home sides’ attackers and as the referee blew his whistle for half time it was South Shields that held a single goal lead.

The league leaders showed their efficiency in front of goal shortly after the restart when they increased their lead after good work from Stephenson on the right picked out Holmes at the back post before the wide man chested the ball down and sent a shot goalwards which found the target despite the best efforts of the retreating Jacques Kpohomouh.

The Rams reacted positively and with the probing play of Alex Meaney allied to the accomplished work of skipper Dean Stott, the home side looked to find a way back into the contest.

Ramsbottom made their second change just before the hour when Sam Heathcote replaced the hard working Moran and the substitution had an almost immediate impact as a Dean cross found the head of the recently arrived forward , whose downward header beat Connell and the visitors lead was halved.

The goal gave the Rams some attacking momentum as they pushed for an equaliser although the visitors always looked a threat going forward themselves as the encounter was becoming an excellent watch on a heavy surface.

Indeed the home side had a chance to get back onto level terms when a Jerome Wright cross evaded his onrushing colleagues.  Almost immediately and as soon often happens, the opposition made the Rams pay when a through ball from Briggs found Finnigan who confidently lifted the ball over the onrushing stand-in keeper Richardson and the away fans sensed their team were en route to victory.

Ramsbottom again responded and found a way back into the contest when an excellent pass from Dean on 78 minutes sent Heathcote through one on one with Connell before finishing with a low drive to reduce the visitors advantage to a single goal for a second time whilst registering his tenth goal of the campaign.

The Rams pushed forward looking for a leveller in the remaining 15 minutes of a hugely entertaining contest but ultimately without reward as it was South Shields that saw the game out by the odd goal in five.

With South Shields looking favourites to gain promotion it was nevertheless a resilient and promising team performance from the Rams as they pushed their high spending opponents all the way.  It would perhaps be remiss not to mention Ben Richardson’s individual effort in pulling on the goalkeepers gloves in unfortunate circumstances and performing admirably.

Ramsbottom manager Mark Fell had the following to say after the match.  “Gutted for the lads.  I felt we deserved a point at least, fine margins and at the moment we are finding outselves just on the wrong side of them.  South Shields are the best side in the league and we matched them.  Our progress won’t be judged on our results against them, but against the other sides in the division – we’ve a big month and we have to go to Droylsden on Tuesday and replicate our work rate from today.”

RAMSBOTTOM UNITED: Taberner (Richardson 39mins), L.Brownhill, K.Brownhill, Stott, Thompson (Roscoe 86mins), Kpohomouh, Dean, Meaney, Moran (Heathcote 57mins), Daniels, Wright.  Subs not used: Spencer, Williams


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

The Rams produced a quality performance to come away from the Lyme-Valley Stadium with all three points.

The visitors had to wait until the eleventh minute before they took the lead and it came courtesy of a 25 yard screamer by Liam McManus.

Within a minute of the re-start, the Rams were very unlucky not to extend their lead as a cross by Steele was met by the head of Moore, but it was a difficult chance and he could only divert the ball into the keepers hands.

From this Newcastle started to create chances of their own and the influential Lee Talbot started to give the Rams defence all kinds of problems.

Nick Wellecomme had a glorious chance to even the scores in the 35th minute, but quick thinking by Rhodes saw the ball put out to safety.

In the 45th minute and after surviving four consecutive corner kicks, the Rams once again broke forward and O’Shaughnessy found McDonald in space.

As they moved forward, McDonald found Maden inside the area with a quick throughball and with the slightest of touches, the ball was in the back of the net.

From the restart, Newcastle got themselves back into the game as a hesitant Campbell came for the ball then changed his mind, but unfortunately Diskin was close by to simply head the ball into the net.

In the 77th minute the Rams extended their lead when a poor clearance by Bentley in the Newcastle goal went behind him and as he scrambled back, he could only palm the ball into the path of the onrushing Moore who put the ball into the net.

Anthony Johnson was dismissed late on for a second bookable offence, but the result was at this stage guaranteed.


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

Striker Chris Willcock made a dream debut against his old club to spark Ramsbottom United’s first league win in four weeks.

Willcock scored twice and had a hand in another to give the Rams a morale-boosting win over a side that started the game third in the table.

Mossley were the first to show in a lively opening spell. Andy Gayle got in a low shot that Keith Nield saw early to get down and save.

Andy Grimshaw headed over the top from a corner for Ramsbottom before they went in front in the ninth minute.

Chris Willcock drifted out onto the right flank and crossed to see the ball go in off the far post.

Mossley tried to get back into it down both flanks, but the Rams defence held firm. Then another former Mossley player, Phil Porter, put a shot just wide after Willcock set him up.

Ramsbottom were winning the midfeld battle and in the 42nd minute Willcock almost added a second when he fired over the top from an acute angle.

A minute later he grabbed his second goal. The ball came into the box after some good work by Danny Goodall down the left side and Willcock stabbed the ball under Tommy Allen as he came out to try to narrow the angle.

Allen denied Willcock a hat-trick with a superb one-handed save just before half-time.

Ramsbottom continued to attack at the start of the second half and Darren Bowman unleashed a 20-yard shot that went just over.

The third Ramsbottom goal came in the 51st minute when Russell Brierley stooped to head Goodall’s cross past Allen, who got a hand to the ball but couldn’t keep it out.

Mossley hit back in a desperate attempt to save the game and Nield was forced into a fine save to tip over a Gayle effort.

The Rams defence weathered the storm and at the other end Allen pulled off another fine save to keep out a Mike Langhorn free-kick that beat the wall from 25 yards out.

In the 68th minute Willcock was brought down in the box and Brierley stepped up to hammer home the penalty to make it 4-0 to the Rams.

Three minutes later Mossley finally reduced the arrrears. A free-kick from the right was played into the box and midfielder Pedro Brennan ran in to glance a header past Nield.

The goal led to a spell of Mossley pressure, but Ramsbottom finished strongly with Allen saving efforts from Steve Orrell and Darren Bowman.

RAMSBOTTOM UNITED: Nield 8, Porter 8, Langhorn 8, Smith 8, Thomas 8, Grimshaw 9, Bowman 8, Holt 8, R Brierley 8, Willcock 8, Goodall 8. Substitutes: Orrell (for Willcock, 70 mins) 8, Wallace (for Grimshaw, 85), Briddon (for Holt, 75).


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

Ramsbottom United manager Ken Bridge is looking to strengthen his side and threatens to ring the changes after the 3-0 disaster defeat against Formby.

“Formby are a very medioacre side and most sides in the Valley could beat them,” fumed Bridge.  “I have to make changes otherwise we will be in relegation trouble.

“The lads did not show any guts in their performance.  We need some experienced players in the side.  Some of the current players are not up to the required standard for this level of football.”

Bridge has been in contact with Radcliffe Borough manager Kevin Glendon about the availability of players.