OTS – 30th MARCH

by | Mar 30, 2024

Here’s this week’s look back on the events in Ramsbottom United’s non-league history “On This Saturday”.


Evo-Stik Northern Premier League West Division
(Jon Haslam’s match report)

Ramsbottom United looked to respond to their midweek home reversal to Newcastle with a visit to a Runcorn side who were a single place above the Rams prior to kick off as the top four sides went head to head on Saturday on what could prove to be a pivotal weekend as the season draws to its conclusion.

The visitors starting line up had a more familiar look to it with four alterations from Tuesday night as Sam Ashton returned between the sticks with Kelvin Lugsden available after suspension as both Jamie Rother and Ruben Jerome also claimed a starting berth.

With both teams looking to consolidate their respective positions in the end of season play offs the contest began with the Millbank Linnets Stadium bathed in spring sunshine , the opening quarter of an hour was devoid of any serious attempts at goal as both sides looked to claim midfield supremacy on a noticeably dry and bouncy surface but in truth just cancelled each other out.

There were almost twenty minutes played before the first serious moment of concern in either penalty area when a Tom Kennedy free kick found Luke Thompson at the far post but the under pressure defender couldn’t quite get his header on target as the attempt bounced just past home keepers Perrin near post.

Shortly afterwards the Rams appeared to be getting into their now familiar stride away from The Riverside as the combative Eddie Moran won a strong tackle in midfield before floating a cross towards leading scorer Nic Evangelinos but the headed attempt drifted over the crossbar much to the relief of the on loan Wigan Athletic goal keeper.

Then with almost a third of the encounter played the breakthrough occurred when a long ball forward from Runcorn wasn’t dealt with by the Rams defence and recent acquisition Mitchell Bryant capitalised on the visitors defensive hesitancy by sending a low shot past Sam Ashton from the edge of the penalty area to give the hosts the lead with their first attempt on target.

Ramsbottom who were on an astonishing run of twelve games unbeaten matches away from home responded positively with new addition Spencer Harris testing Perrin with a long range effort which caused the home stopper to spill the effort but as Eddie Moran looked to pick up the rebound the referee decided a foul had occurred and blew up for a free kick.

Not to be deterred the Rams restored parity ten minutes before the interval when a Tom Kennedy cross into the penalty area was inexplicably handled by Runcorns number four Peter Wylie and referee Duckworth spotted the offence having no choice but to point to the penalty spot, up stepped leading marksman Nic Evangelinos to exact full punishment by drilling the penalty past the despairing dive of Perrin to level the contest at one goal each.

With little goalmouth action to report for the remaining minutes the sides went into the half time break unable to be separated which perhaps was indicative of a competitive first 45 minutes between two well matched teams that most observers would concur was a fair score line at the interval.

The opening minutes of the second period were largely uneventful from an attacking perspective with the home side appearing to prefer the longer ball forward, although Runcorn did have the first effort towards goal from distance but the wayward effort failed to trouble the relatively under worked Sam Ashton and sailed over the crossbar.

Ramsbottom then almost took the lead on 52 minutes when a superb ball forward from the wand like left foot of Tom Kennedy found the surging run of midfield dynamo Eddie Moran and with Perrin hurtling from his goal the Rams midfielder got to the ball first and looped a header over the onrushing keeper but sadly for the visitors the ball bounced fractionally wide of the post much to the relief of the home contingent.

Moments later the speedy Iyrwah Gooden entered the fray at the expense of Ruben Jerome before Linnets tested Sam Ashton with a well struck free kick which was easily dealt with by the returning number one and with both sides searching for the next goal of a well fought encounter the contest began to at last have a more open feel to it with the Rams looking menacing on the break.

Runcorn again threatened when some positive play down the home sides right flank saw an effort from the apron of the penalty area narrowly fly over the visitors crossbar as the hosts sought to increase the points difference between the two play off hopefuls. With just over an hour played the Rams perhaps had their best chance of the second period when Tom Kennedy stepped up to take a centrally positioned free kick some 20 yards from goal but the low effort missed the target as the former Bury full back looked for to replicate his exquisite free kick in the reverse fixture in December.

Then with three quarters of a tight contest played some purposeful play down the right hand side from Eddie Moran resulted in the midfielder finding some room to send in an inviting low cross which perhaps inevitably fell to goal poacher Jamie Rainford who confidently stroked home his 17th league goal for the Rams from close range much to the joy of the travelling Ramsbottom supporters.

Incidentally a point worthy of note is that the strike from Jamie Rainford was the seventh away match in succession that the well travelled marksman has scored in again proving what a vital addition the forward has been for Ramsbottom United.

Chris Willock then looked to his bench for the second time with twenty minutes remaining when the tireless Jamie Rother was replaced by Kieran Lugsden.

The remainder of the encounter saw Runcorn looking to push forward looking for a leveller with the Rams forward trio of Rainford, Evangelinos and Gooden keeping the home defence honest as the visitors looked for a match clinching third goal on the breakaway.

In truth the defensive unit for the visitors were at their combative best with the impressive partnership in central defence of Luke Thompson and Kelvin Lugsden ably assisted by the ultra consistent full backs of Jacobs and Kennedy who almost seemed to relish the increasingly competitive nature of the contest.

As the minutes ticked away Runcorns frustrations began to surface as the home side picked up four yellow cards in a little over ten minutes as despite their best efforts the Linnets couldn’t find a pathway through to test Sam Ashton in the day trippers goal.

With the hosts progressively throwing men forward there was an opportunity for the Rams to seal the points when a strong run from Evangelinos stretched the Linnets rearguard once more but with alternative options available the clubs leading scorer decided to take a shot at goal but the effort flew wide of the target.

The remaining minutes were managed superbly by the Rams with the home side unable to fashion any more worthwhile efforts at goal and as the final whistle sounded a valuable three points on the road against a play off rival had and in some way avenged the 2-3 reverse earlier on in the season at the Riverside in a fiery encounter.

As the players and fans celebrated a potentially important yet well deserved victory manager Chris Willcocks outfit have now gone thirteen away matches unbeaten with a hugely impressive eleven victories in the win column during this period as the Rams leaped a place above their hosts for the day to sit in third position after the weekends results

Ramsbottom United:- Ashton, Kennedy, Jacobs, Moran, Thompson, Kelvin Lugsden, Jerome (Gooden 55 mins), Rother (Kieran Lugsden 70 mins), Rainford, Harris, Evangelinos  Unused Subs- Donaldson, Bembo-Leto, Schofield.


Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division 1 North
(Richard Isaacs’ match report)

High-flying Ramsbottom United were brought down to earth with a bump by mid-table Farsley in front of the biggest gate of the season at the Harry Williams Riverside Stadium.

Expectations were high that the Rams could consolidate their second spot in the table after yet another weather hit delay, but ultimately failure to turn possession into goals proved to be their downfall.

Yet all had looked so positive for the home side in the early stages.

Lee Gaskell and Jon Robinson both looked certain to score after just four minutes, but both were denied by some desperate defending as a last-gasp block sent the ball over the bar.

Grant Spencer was then inches off target from the edge of the box, before a Gary Stopforth free-kick was clawed away for a corner by Farsley keeper Tom Morgan.

At the other end, Matty James nicked the ball out of Peter Collinge’s hands but sent his header over the top.

The Rams really should have taken the lead on 17 minutes. An incisive pass from Gaskell found Robinson in the box. He played the ball out to Phil Dean on the left-hand side of the area, but despite having time, he blasted the ball first time only to see it cannon off the bar and behind for a goal kick.

Having survived an early onslaught, the visitors gradually worked their way into the game. Adam Priestley cut in from the right, but his shot sailed across the face of the goal, then Chris Walton reacted first to a free-kick but his shot flew harmlessly wide.

An optimistic appeal for a penalty when Gaskell was out-muscled in the Farsley penalty area fell on deaf ears as the home side’s attacking ideas seemed to dry up.

On 40 minutes, Farsley took the lead.

Not for the first time this season, the Rams defence was caught out by a set piece. A free-kick on the right hand touchline found Matt Dempsey at the far post, and he gratefully headed the ball home with the Rams defenders failing to pick him up.

Early in the second half Robinson looked certain to equalise, but Morgan pounced at close range to deny the striker. However, it wasn’t too long before parity was achieved. Danny Warrender controlled the ball in the area in the 57th minute, before laying it on for Robinson, who had time to pick his spot before lashing it home.

Three minutes later the home side were inches away from grabbing the lead. A superb long run by Grant Spencer down the right saw him send over a perfect cross for the unmarked Robinson. He headed firmly goalwards, but Morgan pulled off a superb diving save to keep his goal intact. From the half-cleared resultant corner, Phil Edghill blasted in a pile-driver that had the whole team appealing for a penalty, but the female referee was unimpressed and allowed play to continue.

Morgan was kept busy as the Rams rallied, having to deal with another Edghill effort and a Spencer free-kick, but having survived the mini-revival, Farsley pushed forward and looked dangerous.

Ryan Harrison saw his drive tipped over by Collinge, before a wild pass from Warrender fell into the path of James who was unlucky to see his goal-bound effort deflected by the legs of Collinge.

On 74 minutes they grabbed what proved to be the winner.

A superb flick by James, saw the ball slipped between two Ramsbottom defenders, and substitute Gareth Grant curled the ball across the face of goal and in by the far post.

A similar flick just two minutes later set up Grant again, but once again Collinge’s legs came to the rescue to deny what looked a certain third.

Spencer tried his best to grab an equaliser, whilst Dominic Smalley and Andy Dawson also saw efforts go wide, before Collinge was again called on as Robbie O’Brien broke through the Rams back line. Yet again, the home custodian had to be at his best to thwart the danger, as time finally ran out.

So despite the large crowd and the encouraging atmosphere, the Rams failed to grab the points in a game that for much of the time they had the greater part of possession.

Alas, this was one of those games when possession failed to be turned into goals, and Farsley returned over the Pennines to become the only team from Yorkshire to beat the Rams this season….and they were the Rams last Yorkshire opponents of the campaign!

RAMSBOTTOM UNITED: Collinge, Smalley, Ayres, Stopforth(Pilkington 64mins), Dawson, Warrender, Spencer, Edghill, Gaskell, Robinson(Purcell 74mins), Dean(Hulme 78mins). Subs not used: Proudfoot, Evans


North West Counties League Division 1
(report from Bolton News archive)

The Rams were denied a morale boosting away victory at the North West Counties League Division One title favourites by a controversial equaliser five minutes into stoppage time.

Claims that Carl Brown’s handling offence was unintentional were ignored with the referee backing up his decision by brandishing a red card to the midfielder.  United keeper Neil Cassidy saved the initial spot kick but was unable to block the rebound.

Earlier Brad Franks had given the Rams a deserved lead on 14 minutes with centre back Simon Woodforde earning the man of the match nomination.


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

Ramsbottom United new signing from Cheadle Town Russelll Brierley nearly capped his debut with the winning goal against Nelson.

United fought back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Steve Orrell reducing the deficit with a lobbed effort just before half-time after Martin Hulme had provided the cross.

Hulme rifled home a thunderbolt for the equaliser.

The sickening blow came when Brierley saw his goal ruled out for off-side.

United take on Daisy Hill at home tomorrow and entertain Atherton Collieries on Easter Monday at 3pm.