PREVIEW – HALLAM (H)
Ramsbottom United will be looking to break new ground – if the ground doesn’t break them first – by progressing to the fourth round of an FA tournament for the very first time in their history when they welcome Hallam to the HWRS on Saturday in the FA Vase.
MATCH: Ramsbottom United vs Hallam
VENUE: Harry Williams Riverside Stadium, Ramsbottom, BL0 0BS
COMPETITION: Isuzu FA Vase Third Round
DATE: Saturday 2nd December 2023
ADMISSION: Adults – £9, Concessions – £5, U12 – £1 (with paying adult)
It was 20 years ago that the Rams last played in the third round of the FA Vase when they travelled to now defunct Gedling Town, just outside Nottingham, and turned in a disappointing performance in losing 2-1, Robbie Smith scoring the last consolation for the away side.
That was the one and only time that Rammy reached round three of that competition although there was a round three game in the FA Trophy and if this game with Hallam matches up to that particular contest at the HWRS back on that electric Tuesday night in February 2019 against AFC Fylde, there may need to be a wholesome supply of ambulances for those of weak heart. The goosebumps still tingle every time that game is mentioned!
But this is the FA Vase and we are down to the last 64. Five wins from Wembley if you like and the next round into the new year – 13 January to be exact. Is it too early to start to feel a little bit excited? Maybe it is yes and no-one is looking beyond the strong Sheffield-based outfit who are in the Northern Counties East Premier Division and sitting in ninth place.
They will travel across the hills still smarting from a heavy home midweek defeat to mid-table Golcar United and without a win in their last three games having won their previous six.
But they come to Ramsbottom for the first time since the FA Extra Preliminary round meeting in 2008 having dispatched Lower Breck on Merseyside on penalties before thrashing Coventry United 5-1 and getting past Atherstone Town 3-2 at home in the proper rounds to set up this clash and our visitors are looking for their first fourth round FA Vase game since the 1981/82 season.
However, there is a threat that the game might not go ahead at all with the pitch already very firm courtesy of the dropping temperatures and with that unlikely to improve – forecasters predicting that the ‘feels like’ celsius constantly in the negatives for at least the next 48 hours – there will be pitch inspections and news will be posted on our socials and website.
Fingers are firmly crossed!
17 August 2008 was the one and only time that the Rams have faced one of the oldest football clubs in the world and that was in the FA Cup extra preliminary round where 135 spectators saw the home side progress 2-0.
Goals from Josh Hill and Andrew Sensale in the first half was enough to see the game through and we moved into the preliminary round where our run came to a halt at Mossley, going down 3-1.
STEVE WILKES’ THOUGHTS:
A veteran of many an exciting run in the FA Vase, including taking Northwich Victoria to the semi-finals in 2018/19, Rammy manager Steve Wilkes would love to see something similar for Ramsbottom United this season.
“This is a big game for the football club that myself and all the players are really looking forward to,” he said.
“We know it’s going to be a tough game against a tough opponent but last Saturday’s performance was a step in the right direction.
“To be in the Vase after the New Year would be a fantastic achievement for everyone at the club.”