MATCH: Pickering Town v Ramsbottom United
VENUE: Mill Lane, Pickering, North Yorkshire, YO18 7DB
COMPETITION: Buildbase FA Trophy 2nd Qualifying Round
DATE: Saturday 9th October 2021
DISTANCE FROM RAMMY: 98 miles, 111 minutes
You can pay on the gate – adults £8, concessions £6, under 16s FREE. Hot food and drink available in the ground but FA competition rules mean NO ALCOHOL to be consumed outside.
Can the break from league action be just the tonic The Rams need? With no wins from their last five and no goals from open play for 456 minutes, the chance to switch competitions might just be what Lee Donafee and his charges require.
So we head east to the beautiful North York Moors town of Pickering hoping for a change in momentum and maybe, just maybe, resurrecting the events of three years ago (which you can read all about in our Have We Met feature linked further down this piece).
It has been a tough few weeks for the Rams, that is for sure but with new signings bedding in and another solid week of training, there is optimism.
At that optimism might come at a good time as they face a Pickering Town side who are having their own problems on the pitch having secured just a single victory across all competitions so far this season.
That win, a 2-1 success over Frickley Athletic two weeks ago when Lewis Taylor’s 83rd minute penalty sealed the win, lifted them off the foot of the table.
The Pikes are currently 18th in the NPL East Division on six points but have played seven of their 10 league games on the road so far but taken only one point from their nine available at home – a 2-2 draw with Brighouse at the start of September.
Two sides short on confidence are two sides who desperately need a win to boost it. It has the makings of a classic knock out tie!
And there is no replay – if the scores are level after 90 minutes, the game will go directly to penalties.
STAT OF THE PREVIEW:
The Rams have never lost to a Yorkshire-based team in the FA Trophy! We first took part in 2012/13 after gaining promotion the NWCFL and won at Whitby Town 2-1 in 2014, beat Sheffield 3-1 at home in 2016, drew 2-2 at Shaw Lane in 2017 and won 4-1 in the replay, won 3-0 at Frickley and drew 0-0 at Pickering before winning 2-1 in the return fixture in 2018 and won 2-0 against Ossett United in 2020. 8 games, six wins and two draws!
FORM GUIDE (most recent game first):
Ramsbottom United: L L D L L W
Pickering Town: L W L D D L
You can read all about the history between the Rams and Pickering in our comprehensive “Have We Met” article, which is below:
The manager, still troubled by his sides’ lack of form and goals, is very keen for his side to start changing their fortunes and is targetting Saturday’s game to do that.
But he will be going into the match without leading goalscorer James Murphy, who has “had his head turned” by NWCFL outfit Wythenshawe Town and has decided to move on.
Khalil Osi-Efa will be missing through injury and Altrincham loanee Will Hall would have been ineligible to play in this game anyway although a decision on his loan extension, which ran out on Monday, is still pending.
The good news is that captain Tom Kennedy is back in the fold having missed the last game at a wedding.
“Things are not too bad considering,” admits the manager. “And Saturday’s cup game is a chance for us to get back on track.
“But I am looking at this game like I look at all games, I am desperate to win but I can’t let that desperation get in the way of us getting the result.
“Neither sides is in the best of form and this is a potential banana skin for us but we have to go into it with a positive mindset.
“I am continuing to assess the squad and will strengthen where I can, when I can. I really want to make a good go of this with Ramsbottom United and our recent results have hurt me. It is time for that to change.”