PENALTY HEARTACHE AS RAMS CRASH OUT
Rammy’s recent shoot out form came to an end as they lost out 5-6 to Bury in the Macron Cup.
It came about as a result of yet another nail-biting end to a Ramsbottom game, something that is becoming habit-forming this season.
There were just two minutes of time added on to go when the visitors stole a last-gasp equaliser, as a late Matt Dudley penalty had appeared to have sent the home side through to the next round.
Before a HWRS second-best ever crowd of 1,699, both sides reacted to the noisy atmosphere with a display that saw two equally matched teams battle for supremacy.
As it happened, it was the hosts who opened the scoring after 23 minutes, when a scramble on the Bury goal-line was eventually tucked home from close range by Luke Sephton.
Bury responded through Lewis Gilboy, who saw his decent effort well saved by home keeper Kai Calderbank-Park, formerly on the books of the Shakers.
After a well-contested first half, it was Gilboy again who had the first opportunity after the break, but when through on goal, he inexplicably fired his effort wide of the post.
That was not the only effort to fall into the “it was easier to score than miss” category as this game progressed.
Kuda Chingwaro saw his low drive sail narrowly wide of the Bury post, before Matt Dudley thought he had doubled the Rams lead as he raced on to a through ball from Harvey Whyte, only to have his “goal” chalked off by the referee’s assistant’s flag.
Moments later and Gilboy was again guilty of missing a gilt-edged chance as once again, he fired wide of the post with only the keeper to beat.
In an attempt to stamp their authority on the game, Bury made five substitutions in one throw, and it seemed to work as the away side began to wrestle the game away from the Rams.
It came as no surprise that they finally conjured up an equaliser on 80 minutes when one of those subs, Andy Briggs, found himself in the right place to convert and level things up.
Yet just two minutes later, the pendulum swung the other way, as former Rams keeper Sam Ashton was adjudged to have brought down Sephton, as he raced onto a perfectly timed through ball from Fin Bartram.
Up stepped Matt Dudley to thrash home the penalty, and the Rams were once again in front.
Indeed, Dudley should have sealed the victory minutes later as clean through, he inexplicably fired wide when the net should have been bulging.
The Rams were still in charge as the added-on minutes ticked by, but with just two of the seven remaining, once again the defence was caught out. A tantalising free-kick from the left found the head of Bury skipper Tom Moore, and to the frustration of the Rams followers, but to the relief and joy of the sizable contingent of Bury fans, his header found the net and once again it was all square.
So on to penalties, and despite the flow shifting from one side to the other, the sixteenth and vital kick was converted by the Shakers, and it is they who move on to the next round.
Rams manager Steve Wilkes commented afterwards “Disappointed to go out on penalties, but I’m sure most Ramsbottom fans would have wanted us to win last week’s shoot-out (FA Vase) of the two, but like I said, disappointed to go out of the Macron Cup.
“I thought over the 90 minutes, we were the better team on a sticky pitch that didn’t let us play our normal way, and although Bury had two good chances in the second half, the two chances we missed to make it 3-1 have ultimately cost us the cup tie.
“The players now need to play like yesterday, week in and week out, and realise we are as good as the so-called top teams.”
RAMSBOTTOM UNITED: Calderbank-Park, Collinge (Roscoe 87mins), Walder, Walker, Radcliffe, Lent (Lockett 97mins), Sephton, Rigby (Lewis 79mins), Dudley, Whyte (Bartram 72mins), Chingwaro. Sub not used: Ogunby