by | Apr 24, 2024

Manchester Optical

282 days, 9 months, 55 games, 54 players and 20 different goal scorers. Finally the end of the season cometh. It has been a long, long season since its start way back in July but it hits the buffers on Thursday night in a classic end-of-season style – 17th taking on 18th as the Rams head to Barnoldswick.

Manchester Optical

MATCH: Barnoldswick Town v Ramsbottom United
VENUE: Silentnight Stadium, Greenberfield Lane, Barnoldswick, BB18 5LJ
COMPETITION: North West Counties League Premier Division
DATE: Thursday 25th April 2024
KICK-OFF: 7:45pm
DISTANCE FROM RAMMY: 40 minutes, 25.2 miles

Adults – £7, Concessions – £4, Under 16s – £1, Under 12s – FREE. Programme – £1

So here we are then. The last rites of the 2023/24 season, the final day. 272 days have passed under the bridge, 13 league wins, ten draws and 22 defeats. Its been far from the huge success that the Rams had hoped for following the relegation from the Northern Premier League last season.

There can be no doubting that, entertainment wise, it has been enjoyable. Steve Wilkes’ side have certainly not be scared to put the ball into the net – in fact it has only been in the last three games that they have drawn a blank since mid-December. Unfortunately, the words of the 1998 World Cup ‘song’ Fat Les’ “Vindaloo” of ‘we’re gonna score one more than you’ hasn’t really been the case for us this season.

It really has been a funny old season where many will look back on ‘what ifs’ here and ‘what about’ there.

Strange decisions, swirling winds in Chadderton, last minutes goals both for and against. It is a season that will live long in the memory, if not necessarily for the right reasons.

The Rams will finish in 18th place, our joint lowest league finish at this level joining the 2005/06 campaign under Lee Sculpher when we closed with nine wins and 18 draws from 42 games. 96 goals is the second most we have ever conceded – not conceding 100 is the target today.

So we travel up to Barnoldswick Town for this last encounter. With 16 goals in their last five games, they are finishing the season with some smiles despite going down 2-0 to play-off chasers Charnock Richard on Tuesday night. We can’t catch them but they could leap ahead of West Didsbury and Chorlton with a win into 16th.

I am sure that the irony of playing our final match of this season at the Silentnight Stadium is not lost on anyone involved in the Rams – finally, we put this season to bed, a wish many have been dreaming of for quite some time!

We have only met on seven previous occasions and it is 4-2 to the Rams with one draw, that coming early in this season in August when Matthew Dudley’s penalty was cancelled out by Brad Carsley’s equaliser in the first half.

It will be a fifth trip to the Silentnight Stadium, the first coming in November 2010 when Aaron Hollindrake’s 88th minute winner claimed the game for the hosts but we would take all three victories in the 2011/12 campaign, an FA Cup victory 2-0 in August, a 3-2 home win at the Riverside and that 2-0 victory as mentioned earlier.

The fourth visit was that remarkable FA Cup game in August 2021 when Paul Turner’s hat-trick and a Gareth Hill brace put the home side 5-2 up with 20 minutes to go. Richie Baker and Eddie Cooper’s strikes made the game interesting but the hosts held out for a Cupset (as we were in the league above at the time!).

Here is a reminder of the reverse fixture between the Rams and Barlick back in August.


“So the final fixture has arrived, only 272 days since we started back on July 29th.

“We want to finish on a high as we’ve played well these last few games, Colne aside, so we’d like to give the fans a send off into the summer with a win.