MATCH: Ramsbottom United v 1874 Northwich
VENUE: Harry Williams Riverside Stadium, Ramsbottom
COMPETITION: Pitching In Northern Premier League West Division
DATE: Saturday 5th February 2022
You can pay on the gate – adults £9, concessions £5, students (age 17-18) £6, children under 12 £1 (with a paying adult). Pie and Peas available throughout the afternoon – and tea and coffee in a proper mug! Programmes are £2 each.
A rot stopper? A much needed point? Or a missed opportunity? The feeling is decidedly split about how to take last Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Newcastle Town.
But that it did do was give the camp a boost to take a point away from an away trip was something that hadn’t happened in the previous ten on their travels so there was definitely a plus.
And with three home games in the next four and a trip to lowly Widnes inbetween, hopes are high for a considerable bounce up the table.
Standing in the way on Saturday though is a fairly new club, a first-timer to the Harry Williams Riverside Stadium, and a side that grabbed a late-late-late winner when we met earlier in the season.
Manager Lee Donafee still admits that that particular result sticks in his gullet, the 88th minute winner from Matthew Woolley giving 1874 Northwich all three points. It hurt … and was our only defeat in the four games around it.
1874 Northwich, promoted out of the North West Counties last season, come into this game with just one win from their last five games – that win a stunning 4-0 away day success over Colne a couple of weeks ago.
Sitting in 11th place, they do enjoy themselves when they play on the road, losing just one of their 10 games away from their Barnton base but have ensured tough times at home, losing nine of their 14.
The Rams have six home wins from 12 starts – a record that was considerably better before 2022 started when we endured three straight losses at the HWRS.
A decent team at home against a side with a decent away record – Saturday’s game has the hallmark of a great contest. And the Rams have a little score to settle too!
STAT OF THE PREVIEW:
1874 Northwich are the 150th different team to play at The Riverside/HWRS since the club joined the semi-professional ranks in 1994 – this is in all competitions, including cup games.
LEAGUE FORM GUIDE (most recent game first):
Ramsbottom United: D L L L L W
1874 Northwich: L W L L D W
You can read all about the history between the Rams and 1874 Northwich in our comprehensive “Have We Met” article – originally produced for the November fixture.
There was plenty to be encouraged about last weekend and, as manager Lee Donafee said, “I am glad that we stopped the rot but their goalkeeper pulled off two Premier League class saves and we hit the bar and the post so we could have taken all three points.
“I thought we had much of the first half in that game but really turned it on in the second half and I was really pleased for Aaron Fleming to get his first goal.”
He knows that Saturday’s game with 1874 Northwich is a vital one, although he didn’t speak of how close his side are to the relegation zone.
“We were very unlucky at theirs with that very late goal. We had clear cut chances to win it ourselves and that’s a result which still stings now.
“But we have to put that behind us and we have every intention of going for it tomorrow and being aggressive. It’s a home game and we need the win.”
He will, however, be forced into making a number of changes. Ryan Graham has been recalled by Lancaster City and Michael Fitzgerald is back at Blackpool as they have a youth Cup fixture to play.
Jason Carey must sit out two games following his red card on Saturday last but he is pleased to bring in young Aiden Marshall-King, who has impressed in the Academy.
And … he is trying to get a couple of new signings over the line, both of which “are huge”.
“We have never worked as hard as we have in the last few weeks in training and in the games. It is only a matter of time that we get our reward.”