by | Jan 11, 2024

Manchester Optical

Shall we have another go? It’s the third match of 2024 and it’s only the 13th January! After the disappointment of Tuesday night’s late postponement, we are hoping the temperature stays above zero and we can welcome Skelmersdale United to the HWRS on Saturday.

Manchester Optical

MATCH: Ramsbottom United vs Skelmersdale United
VENUE: Harry Williams Riverside Stadium, Ramsbottom, BL0 0BS
COMPETITION: North West Counties Premier Division
DATE: Saturday 13th January 2024
KICK-OFF: 3:00pm
ADMISSION: Adults – £9, Concessions – £5, U12 – £1 (with paying adult)

A very simple look at the league table and you would just surmise that this is a game for the taking. Home game against bottom of the table Skelmersdale United, five points from safety having played four more games than their closest above them, Cheadle Town.

They were put to the sword at the back end of September when the Rams hit six past them on a chilly night in West Lancashire to collect their biggest league goal haul in over two years (since beating Market Drayton Town 7-1). And they have only won two of their 15 games on the road. And they have conceded 86 goals this season, more than any other side. Yada, yada, yada….. don’t you just love a stat (yes, of course I do!).

Forget it!! This is a very different Skelmersdale United from the ones we saw in September. Now under former Premier League and international capped management in Pascal Chimbonda, who played for Wigan, Tottenham, Sunderland, Blackburn, QPR, Doncaster and Carlisle as well as claiming one cap for France in 2006 and also six caps for the country of his birth, Guadeloupe, they are mounting a serious challenge to not make it back-to-back relegations.

With three wins from their last six games, over Squires Gate, landlords Burscough and Glossop North End and also having pushed title challengers Wythenshawe all the way pre-Christmas – they were 2-0 up at half time only to lost 3-2 – don’t for a minute underestimate what challenge that lays ahead of the stuttering Rams, who are winless in their last four games and broke the run in the 1-1 draw at Litherland last Saturday.

In fact, you only have to look to last year when Skem, who were another side to sink back to the NWCFL alongside us at the end of the season, but only because of ground grading issues, claimed a 5-3 win at the HWRS. History even says that they have a good record a tthe HWRS with six wins and 30 goals to their names along with three draws.

As for the hosts, we are still in 15th place and the gap to the play-off places is 14 points. The more it grows, the more unlikely we are to be in contention come the end of April. Everyone knows, especially manager Steve Wilkes, that a run of results is becoming a must have rather than a need to.

Because the gap from us in 15th to Skem in 24th…. is 14 points.

This will be the 36th competitive meeting between the Rams and Skelmersdale United across SIX different divisions! As mentioned when we met in September, they are the only side that we have played in NWCFL Division 2, Division 1, Premier Division, NPL 1 West, 1 North and NPL Premier and the only side we have played in four different non-league ‘steps’ – steps 3, 4, 5 and 6.

We have enjoyed and endured some battles with Skem over the years and we are way behind on the head-to-head stakes with the visitors ahead 19-11 with five draws. It is 2-2 in the last four games although 23 goals have been scored in that quartet. So it will sure be entertaining, if nothing else!

Here is an article that about the history of the games between the two sides, written ahead of the reverse fixture back in September.


And here is a reminder of how things went in Burscough that Tuesday night…


“Saturday sees us pitting our wits against the team currently at the bottom of the league. But I’ve been around far too long to take anything for granted in this league and know Saturday will be as tough as any game we’ve played this season.

“Skem are now managed by ex-Premier League player Pascal Chimbonda so I know they’ll be well drilled as the fight for their lives.

“Hopefully we can start on a winning run as we need to if we still have hopes of the playoffs, which we certainly do.”