MATCH: Ramsbottom United v Clitheroe
VENUE: Harry Williams Riverside Stadium, Ramsbottom
COMPETITION: Pitching In Northern Premier League West Division
DATE: Saturday 12th 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.
One win in the last nine games. One point from the last 18 on offer. Bare statistics. But bare statistics that don’t tell the full story.
All of the talk and all of the evidence has been that the Rams are turning their recent tide. They are having plenty of the games but the results are not falling their way. Anyone who saw the footage of the Widnes game on Tuesday night will certainly feel manager Lee Donafee’s pain about things not going their way!
Saturday is the start of 13 crucial games – seven of which are at home. And that starts with a game against local rivals and old foes Clitheroe at the HWRS.
Much like the Rams, Billy Priestley’s side are enduring a difficult run with just one win from their last six games and they had to battle out a 1-1 draw last Monday night with bottom side Market Drayton Town, coming from behind to take a point with a 76th minute equaliser.
Rather surprisingly, this will be the first time we have met Clitheroe this season – the original fixture was postponed on December 4 – so we finally lock horns with a handful of former Rams, including Clitheroe’s captain Sefton Gonzales, Danny Wilkins, Richie Baker and, of course, Billy himself.
Is now a better time to play them as they were second in the form table and fourth in the overall table when we were due to play them in December and fresh off ‘that’ game at Warrington Rylands? Who knows!
Anything is possible in this league but the Rams know they need to find their winning boots again.
STAT OF THE PREVIEW:
The Rams are unbeaten in home games against Clitheroe in their last four – the last defeat at the HWRS against the Blues was in February 2017 when Kurt Willoughby hit an 81st minute winner in a 4-3 win.
LEAGUE FORM GUIDE (most recent game first):
Ramsbottom United: L D L L L L
Clitheroe: D D L W L L
You can read all about the history between the Rams and Clitheroe in our comprehensive “Have We Met” article – originally produced for the December fixture.
Manager Lee Donafee is throwing down the gauntlet to his side as he feels that the performances of the last couple of games have not gained the rewards they deserved.
“After those disappointing results in the last two games, I felt we deserved six points but in reality, we have only gained only one,” he said.
“We will be going out to fight for the three points again, as always, on Saturday.
“We now have to focus on ourselves and the lads and the management know the current situation regards form and league position.
“I know it is not acceptable for this club or the fans, I believe everyone connected with the club is up for the fight and the task ahead.
“The work in training and in last two games as been unreal which makes only getting one point tough to take.”
He is adamant though and wanted to thank the supporters as well. “We just need that win to kick us on and it will come.
“The fans have been amazing towards me and the team and I pray we can repay them sooner rather than later.
“It’s a tough game on Saturday but this league proves time and time again that any one can beat anyone and I just hope it’s us that win Saturday and for once the fans and players can enjoy a nice Saturday night.
“As a team, we have took so much but we must keep moving forward and that’s how winning is done.”
Team news wise, both Colin May and Khalil Osi-Efa are still unavailable but Michael Fitzgerald, who turned in a man of the match performance captaining Blackpool to a stunning 3-0 FA Youth Cup fifth round win over Newcastle United on Tuesday night, is in line to return to the side as his loan spell continues.