PREVIEW – LOWER BRECK (GAME OFF)
Following a 9am pitch inspection and due to the relentless overnight rain, this match against Lower Breck has been called off.
The final match of 2023 – a year that Ramsbottom United supporters headed into with optimism but is ending with the soundtrack that has run through the last twelve months, the tunes of defeat and disappointment? Can the Ramsbottom United 2023 album finish with a crescendo?
MATCH: Ramsbottom United vs Lower Breck
VENUE: Harry Williams Riverside Stadium, Ramsbottom, BL0 0BS
COMPETITION: North West Counties League Premier Division
DATE: Saturday 30th December 2023
ADMISSION: Adults – £9, Concessions – £5, U12 – £1 (with paying adult)
There are a great many ways of describing the last twelve months. Tony Cunningham’s article on the website has covered much of it very succienctly – so I won’t – but the Rams have a chance to end the year on something of a high and maintain the hopes and dreams of reaching the play-offs come April when the bells of the Queen Elizabeth Tower strike midnight on Sunday night to usher in 2024.
Christmas came and went, a pre-festive gifting of three points to Squires Gate was followed by just a second Boxing Day reverse since 2006 when we came a comfortable second at Padiham.
And so, the year comes to its conclusion with the visit of Anfield-based Lower Breck and a number of familiar faces who know their way to the Harry Williams Riverside Stadium having written and produced much of the part one of the 2023 Rammy story.
It has to be said that we rather owe them one from the 5-2 defeat we suffered at their hands back in early September when the Rams saw goalkeeper Ryan Hamer sent off in the first half and then a plethora of ex-Rams firing past stand in keeper Luke Roscoe in the second half, including Godwin Abadeki, James Murphy and Jordan Shannon.
The men from Liverpool are up in ninth place having won four of their last six games and are harbouring their own dreams of reaching those much-wanted play-off places while the Rams back-to-back defeats, on the back of back-to-back wins, has seen us crash back down to 14th place but only five points behind our visitors with three games in hand.
Manager Steve Wilkes was an angry man on Tuesday evening after seeing his side surrender so meekly in the Boxing Day local derby with only Kuda Chingwaro’s 84th minute consolation – which was the Rams’ 2,000th semi-professional goal – to take home with them.
Breck came away from Pilkington with a 1-0 win and are in good form – but if this league has taught us anything, really anything could happen.
Is it the beginning of a Happy New Year, a chance “for old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind” or will the ghouls of 2023 continuing to spook 2024? My goodness, from a Rammy point of view, let’s hope its the former!!!!!
We have just the one previous meeting and that was back on 2 September when the Rams took the lead on just three minutes through Oscar Radcliffe but that’s pretty much as good as it got as we went down 5-2 to a second half barrage against stand-in keeper Luke Roscoe after Ryan Hamer’s early red card.
If you want to remember that game… here’s the match report!
STEVE WILKES’ THOUGHTS:
“Firstly I think it’s only right to apologise to all the fans that travelled to Padiham on Boxing Day to witness a spineless performance from the players.
“I take full responsibility as it’s my team and I’m the one who picks the eleven.
“To play so well at Irlam just 7 days earlier is baffling to see and we need to put things right this Saturday against an in-form Lower Breck who have signed a couple of decent players recently.
“What with that and Lee Donafee returning, we know the game will be as tough as the battle last Tuesday at Padiham so let’s hope we don’t throw in the towel this time.”