by | Feb 2, 2024

The first weekend of February and the weather continued to play its part in the historical look back at events on this particular Saturday, looking back at Saturday 3rd February over the years.


Evo-Stik Northern Premier League North Division
(report from Bury Times archive)

Ramsbottom United’s second trip to Ossett in seven days saw them bring home a point from their 1-1 draw at Ossett Town.

With the pitch at Inglefield looking heavy even before kick-off it free flowing football would prove a major challenge and the opening exchanges of the match did little to suggest otherwise.

It was Ossett that started the encounter positively with a couple of early excursions into the visitors’ half which ended up with Sam Ashton comfortably collecting crosses without too much threat to his goal.

With almost 15 minutes played the Rams had their first attempt at goal when a long throw was cleared to the edge of the area where it fell kindly for leading scorer Jerome Wright but his attempt flew wide of the target.

As the first half continued Ramsbottom United began to look more of an attacking threat and midway through the half Wright tested home keeper Leigh Overton with a well-struck free kick from 20 yards, the Rams’ first attempt on target.

The match was developing into a finely-balanced contest with both sides finding themselves in promising positions but failing to make the crucial final pass count.

But, with 10 minutes to go to half time, it was Ossett Town who broke the deadlock. A through ball down the right-hand channel caught out the Rams’ defence and Town winger Jake Ellam surged towards the penalty area before squaring the ball to the unmarked Martin Pembleton, who tapped into an empty net to give the hosts the lead. 

The goal sparked the contest into life and both sides started creating presentable chances.

A superb Chris Rushworth cross found the head of Wright but the effort sailed wide of the target, and Ossett responded by fashioning an opening of their own, a low shot that was collected by Ashton in the Rams goal.

As half time approached Ramsbottom almost restored parity when good link-up play down the left flank saw Wright again burst into the box before unleashing a stinging shot which Overton parried back to him but he could not find the finish at the second attempt, with the ball deflected out for a corner.

Ossett looked to extend their advantage early in the second half when an incisive breakaway resulted Ashton making an impressive save to keep the deficit at one goal.

As the minutes ticked away the visitors continued their search for a leveller with increasing desperation but despite the team’s hard work they could not fashion an effort on goal during an increasingly frustrating second period. 

In fact, Ossett Town looked the more likely team to add to the scoreline as Rammy committed more players forward in their bid for an equaliser, although the defence and industrious midfield kept the home attack at bay until home striker Nicky Boshell again tested Ashton on a breakaway. To their credit the Rams continued to push forward and almost got their reward when a scramble in the Ossett box saw three quick-fire goalbound efforts repelled by home keeper Overton and his increasingly stretched colleagues.

With half of the signalled injury time played the Rams attacked again and after superb work from Jack Burgess who drove at the defence before a tackle sent the loose ball to the ever-alert Sam Heathcote and his clinical low drive beat Overton to give the away side an equaliser, much to the delight of players, staff and travelling supporters. 

Rammy manager Mark Fell said: “In the first half we missed a hatful of chances, we didn’t deserve to go in a goal down but the defending for their goal was miles from what we expect. They outworked us for that and we need to ensure that doesn’t happen again. 

“In the second half there were chances at both ends and I think a point is probably a fair result. Their keeper has pulled off the best triple save I’ve ever seen at 1-0, but we showed enough character to keep going right to the end. 

“It wasn’t pretty on the eye and we got a bit long at times but the pitch was horrific, we’ve still some learning to do on how we adapt to pitches with no grass on them. 

“We’re 14 off the playoffs with four in hand, we’ve given nothing up yet. Of the 17 games left we have 11 at home – we’ll take each one at a time, we know there isn’t much margin for error but a run of four or five wins would put us right in the mix with lots of football still to play.”


North West Counties League Division 1

The Rams had a hiccup as they were held 3-3 at home to Blackpool side Squires Gate who are also in the bottom half of the table.

It was a game in which the Gate belied their lowly league position and produced a quality performance against United.

The hosts went ahead with a spot-kick won and converted by Steve MacDonald in the 19th minute, but poor defending allowed Squires Gate to level on 40 minutes when Couch was the first to react to a hopeful ball punted into the United penalty area.

Ramsbottom restored their lead two minutes, thanks to striker Carl Lomax.

The front-man controlled the Gate keeper’s poor clearance and lobbed exquisitely from 25 yards.

United’s defence was caught sleeping again for another equaliser from the Gate – this time from a throw-in – when Couch pounced for his second seven minutes after the restart.

The hosts were stunned 13 minutes from the end of the game when Rams stubstitute Steve Mainwaring was caught in possession.

The error allowed the Gate to break forward with Hawkins rounding off the move with a fine goal to set up an unlikely victory.

But Sculpher’s men battled back and with two minutes remaining Steve Maden rescued a point with a half-volley which looped over the keeper and went in off the crossbar.

Sculpher said: “I don’t want to take anything away from Squires Gate, but we gave away three sloppy goals. We’ve defended very well for the last couple of months and that is why we are high up the league.

“But there was some very slack marking at set pieces and throw-ins and the like. The plus side is that we battled back from 3-2 down and with games against some of the other top sides coming up we are going to need those qualities. It will be a big test for us.”

Sculpher and his men are also hoping the weather does not become a factor for the Formby clash.

“We’ve only played three times since the new year and it is important we get a run of games,” he added.

Ramsbottom will have Lee Cryer back in contention for a slot in the forward line and he will be looking to renew his partnership with Lomax.

Sculpher said: “I’m please Lee is back because he does give us something a little bit extra.”


North West Counties League Division 1
(report from Lancashire Telegraph archives)

A waterlogged pitch put paid to the match away at Woodley Sports on this Saturday, which came as a little bit of a relief for manager Ken Bridge as his side had gone through two 120-minute games in the Worthington Trophy against Clitheroe.

They had beaten Mossley on the Saturday, drew 2-2 on Monday in the cup contest and travelled to Shawbridge for the replay 48 hours later and returned 3-2 victors after extra time.  So a break week did them a little bit of a favour!


North West Counties League Division 2

(match report from Rossendale Free Press)

The rain beat the Rams once again with the match against Atherton Collieries postponed.