MATCH: Ramsbottom United v Mossley
VENUE: Harry Williams Riverside Stadium, Ramsbottom
COMPETITION: Pitching In Northern Premier League West Division
DATE: Saturday 1st January 2022
KICK-OFF: 3.00pm

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.

The beginning of a new year, where dreams are devised, hopes are raised, resolutions are formed and the Christmas decorations are packed away for another eleven months.

New Year’s Day is often a day for football too, a chance to get out of the house, get some fresh air – possibly to clear the hangover from the New Year’s Eve celebrations running long into the night as we all get excited about what 2022 has in store.

It starts with Tamesiders Mossley heading up to the Harry Williams Riverside Stadium, hoping to turn around their horrible run of form that has seen them collect just one point from the last 21 available – a 0-0 draw against Glossop North End on Monday.

The Rams turned in one of their best performances – certainly their best on the road – when the two sides met on Bank Holiday Monday in August, when Will Hall, James Murphy and Jamie Rainford all slotted in a 3-0 victory, which stunned many, especially the hosts who were top of the table at the time. It is probably not hard, considering we have played eight league games away from the HWRS since then and scored only twice!

Much has changed for both teams since that game, as you would expect in non-league football and the Lilywhites travel the 20 miles to Rammy with a very decent away record this season, having won six of their nine games – although it is two months since they won a game on their travels, a 4-0 thumping of Runcorn Linnets in late October.

Meanwhile, the Rams have also won six of their nine home games – 19 of our 26 points have been secured on our home patch – and are on a run of four successive home wins with victories over Newcastle Town, Widnes, Kidsgrove Athletic and City of Liverpool.

It promises to be a very entertaining game between two, now, mid-table sides. However, a victory for the Rams will lift them to within three points of their visitors.

As manager Lee Donafee states later in the preview, a bit of luck, a bit of fortune, the rub of the green and things …. well, I take you back to the first paragraph about hopes and dreams.

So, it’s a Happy New Year to one and all. 2021, another year that will never be forgotten around the world and the history books have been filled once more. But we had football, half a season thus far. Let’s just hope nothing gets in the way of the other half.

Since 2013, the Rams have played five games on January 1, winning two and losing three. Our wins came against Trafford 2-1 in 2020 and 3-2 against Radcliffe in 2013. Our defeats – 0-3 to Atherton Collieries in 2019 (who were promoted), 1-3 to Radcliffe in 2018 (who were promoted) and 2-3 at Nantwich in 2015…. when the rug was pulled from underneath us by Salford City later that night!

LEAGUE FORM GUIDE (most recent game first):
Ramsbottom United: L W L L W W
Mossley: D L L L L L

You can read all about the history between the Rams and Mossley in our comprehensive “Have We Met” article, which is below.. updated with the game from August.


Manager Lee Donafee was pleased to be able to announce, pretty much, the same squad that featured in the Bank Holiday Monday defeat at Trafford with the only likely addition being Blackpool work experience youngster Michael Fitzgerald coming into contention.

Centre-back Fitzgerald, who is captain of the Tangerines’ youth side, comes to the Rams initially for a month but “we have brought him in to strengthen the squad, for a month to start with to see how he gets on and how he fits in. Both Blackpool and us hope that it will benefit him, them and us.”

He was disappointed after the Trafford defeat, bemoaning his side being unable to hit the target when they had much of the game, he is hoping for much better against a Mossley side on a horrible run of form.

“We cannot take their situation for granted,” he admits. “They are coming here on the back of some poor results but I know they will be wanting to put that right as soon as possible. It will be a very tough test for us against a well drilled, well coached side.”

It is the same injury list as previously with Khalil Osi-Efa and Joel Earps remaining on the sidelines – it is like Earps will be for the rest of the season.

Looking ahead, ‘Diego’ is targetting more consistency and a bit more luck. “I need to learn off 2021,” he felt. “It has been very hit and miss and we have had little in the way of consistency. I am probably still going through the transition stage but, as always, I am not going to use that as an excuse.

“We need to be hard to beat, we need to look like we are still in games throughout the 90 minutes and, of course, take our chances. Last Monday would have been a very different game if we had.

“There are some big games coming up, starting with Mossley with a trip to Leek Town and then home games with Bootle and Runcorn Linnets – crucial games and ones that have a bit of a score to settle.

“The lads know that they have to work hard. We can’t have one thing coming together and another not. We haven’t had much luck at times but there is a bit of stability starting to show – as we have been able to field mainly the same squad of late.

“Let’s hope that continues into 2022.”