by | Mar 31, 2024

Manchester Optical

** GAME OFF – Yet another postponement as the overnight and morning rain has let the HWRS pitch waterlogged and unfit for play. **

Welcome to April, the last rites of this long, long season. The Rams have eight games to play within 20 days, regardless of weather permitting and, let’s make no bones about it, wins are the only currency to ensure that we aren’t hauled into any end of season shake-up mire. No fooling around!

Manchester Optical

MATCH: Ramsbottom United vs Padiham
VENUE: Harry Williams Riverside Stadium, Ramsbottom, BL0 0BS
COMPETITION: North West Counties Premier Division
DATE: Bank Holiday Monday 1st April 2024
KICK-OFF: 3.00pm
ADMISSION: Adults – £9, Concessions – £5, U12 – £1 (with paying adult)

And so we head for home comforts for the first time in three weeks and four games before we head out on the road again for our next five. No, no-one can really believe what a dogs dinner this league continue to make of the fixtures.

However, it is a hopefully glorious Easter Bank Holiday Monday home game to kick off a very crucial April of eight games – three at home and five away. The Rams maintain their 18th position in the table but the gap between us and 23rd has shrunken once again to just four points. We really do have some massive games on the horizon!

We start with one of the most difficult and against one of the seriously in-form teams in neighbours from up the valley, Padiham. To say that former Rammy man Michael Morrison’s side are flying would be an understatement with just two defeats in their last 20 competitive games dating back to early December.

Since their last defeat, a 2-0 loss at Barnoldswick on March 7, they have slotted 18 goals in the next four and handed Chadderton a 4-1 drubbing, Skelmersdale were thrashed 7-0 and West Didsbury and Cholton walloped 5-1 and they are currently fifth in the table, looking very good for a play-off place although they have played a couple of games more than Prestwich Heys.

As for the home side, the form table is not a great look as we sit bottom of it, the only side not to have secured a victory in the last six – we haven’t won in our last eight but, quirkily, we have scored in all of our last 17 at least once.

Anyone with a betting mentality would firmly and confidently pile on the safest of all safe away victories.

After all, we were humbled 5-1 on Boxing Day up at the Arbories and we haven’t beaten Padiham in a league match on our own patch since 2009 when Eddie O’Neill (2), Lee Connell and Bernard Morley all scored in a 4-3 win in December of that year. Nehru McKenzie and a late worrier from Damien Morrison made the last few minutes interesting.

But, despite the results in the last four games on the road, there have been considerable amounts of positivity and, but for the swirl of the wind, unfortunate injuries and – well, what the actual heck happened on Friday at West Didsbury – the two points collected could well have been much more.

Today is the first of three games this week as we head to the bright lights of Blackpool on Wednesday night before going down to Cheadle Town on Saturday. The worm has to turn soon, the fortunes of the Rams must change soon or has there been another litter of black cats strolling across the paths once more?

The Rams first met the Storks in competitive action in 2006 in a league cup game which the visitors won 1-0 at The Riverside. The first league clash came in October 2009 with the Rams winning both games 3-1 at The Arbories and 4-3 as mentioned at The Riverside. In all competitive games, the Storks lead 7-5 in the head-to-head stakes.

For those of a nervous disposition, don’t read the next bit! Here is the match report from Boxing Day – if you really want to be reminded!!!


“Monday sees us take on the team at the top of the form table that are fighting for a play off place.

“We know how tough the game is going to be and what we have to do to try and nullify Padiham’s threat.”