by | Nov 23, 2023

Manchester Optical

After the washout of the Wythenshawe Town game in midweek, the Rams are hoping to get back on the park as they attempt to close down the gap between themselves and the play-off berths when they receive Burscough to the HWRS on Saturday.

Manchester Optical

MATCH: Ramsbottom United vs Burscough
VENUE: Harry Williams Riverside Stadium, Ramsbottom, BL0 0BS
COMPETITION: North West Counties Premier Division
DATE: Saturday 25th November 2023
KICK-OFF: 3:00pm
ADMISSION: Adults – £9, Concessions – £5, U12 – £1 (with paying adult)

It was some three weeks ago that the Rams tied up their bootlaces for a league game when Longridge Town shared in a 3-3 firework display on Bonfire Sunday afternoon and that cam courtesy of two late, late goals from Matt Dudley and Luke Sephton.

But since then, the Rams have dropped down to 17th place in the table and eleven points separate us and the play-off places, where Prestwich Heys sit on 38 points.

It is very easy to forget that there is still 26 league games to go, even as we close in on the end of November and the colder winter days appear on the horizon so there is no need to panic or be concerned.

What the Rams really do need though is some sort of run of positive results as two wins from their last 10 is not the form of a side challenging for the swift return to the Northern Premier League although there has been a number of encouraging performances, none more so in the 2-2 full-time draw with Bury last weekend before going out on penalties in the League Cup.

There has been signs of improvement, signs of a team gelling of late and not just relying on extremely late goals to haul them out of the defeat column.
Those signs will be tested on Saturday by a side in 22nd place in the table but having just appointed the vastly experienced manager Dave Dempsey, formerly of Ashton Town, Widnes and Clitheroe amongst others.

Burscough is a name familiar with Rammy fans, having played against them in the NPL 1 North back from 2012 to 2017 before they dropped back to the NWCFL. But they have lost their last five games, conceding 11 in their last two without reply hence the change in personnel at the top.

With a new manager in charge, there will be a renewed feeling about our West Lancashire opponents so the Rams will need to be on their mettle if they are to commence their drive up the table.

This will be the 11th contest between the two sides since the first back in August 1997, the Rams winning 5 and losing three with two draws.

Burscough’s three wins all came in the first four meetings, doing the league double in 1997/98 when the men in green were promited alongside Kidsgrove Athletic while the Rams trundled in down in 17th. There was then a long gap to 2012 in the NPL League Cup when Phil Clarke and Niall Cummins put the home side two up inside 16 minutes and Bernard Morley’s second half goal wasn’t enough to bring us back into the contest.

Since then though, the Rams have dominiated with four wins and two draws, scoring 20 goals and conceding only six and those included a 7-1 league win in the NPL in November 2013 and a 5-1 thrashing in the NPL League Cup in 2014, both at the HWRS. Our last league season against each other was 2016/17 when we were held 2-2 at home before winning 2-0 at Victoria Park in front of just 55 spectators!

Manager Steve Wilkes is desperate to get back into the league action but knows that our opponents will be looking for that ‘new manager bounce’ this weekend.

“Finally we get back to league action after our cup exploits!

“I’m so glad we’re back in the league as we have dropped down the table significantly since we drew with Longridge on 5th November. Saturday sees up against a team that has just appointed a new manager this week, Burscough.

“I’ve known Dave Dempsey for many years having signed him over 10 years ago at Runcorn Linnets. This has made the game much more difficult as we all know players want to show the new manager how good they are.

“Demps will have them fired up no doubt, but it’s a game we have to win to start climbing the table.”