by | Feb 29, 2024

Manchester Optical

GAME OFF – Despite the excellent efforts of the Squires Gate ground staff, the weather has beaten us yet again. Just 6 weeks left now for our remaining 15 games!

The Tower. The Ballroom. The Pleasure Beach. The trams. The piers. The amusements. It’s a day trip to the seaside, to Blackpool … or you could just amuse yourself with a full day of non-league footy … it’s NWCFL Groundhopper weekend and the Rams are a part of it. Hopefully!

Manchester Optical

MATCH: Squires Gate v Ramsbottom United
VENUE: Brian Addison Stadium, School Road, Blackpool, FY4 5DS
COMPETITION: North West Counties League Premier Division
DATE: Saturday 2nd March 2024
DISTANCE FROM RAMMY: 50 minutes, 40.6 miles
ADMISSION: Adults (19+) – £7, Concessions (17, 60+) – £4, Under 16s – FREE

This preview is written in hope! For five of the last six have been a complete waste of time and words! Please, weather, for the love of all things holy, give us a flippin’ break!

So let us see whether we can make the most of our trip to the Fylde coast. It’s been quite a while since we headed over this way for a competitive game – 12 February 2019 I reckon for the FA Trophy replay with AFC Fylde, seven days after that remarkable, epic 5-5 draw at the HWRS.

A lot of things have changed in five years since then. Not one player remains from that team, we aren’t in the same league, we can’t play in that competition, five divisions now separate the two sides from that day and the Blackpool Tower survived the awful fire that engulf.……. oh yeah, it was just some orange netting!

One constant has been our supporters who will no doubt enjoy their day out riding the donkey’s, hitting the slots, and enjoying their day out to a ground we haven’t visited since 2 January 2012 – a day that Lee Gaskell will never forget or, for that matter, anyone else who was there to see the roasting that he got from the managers!

Squires Gate are our hosts, a side that we have played 31 times since our very first ever semi-professional match in August 1995. Our current Club President Phil Rose scored our opening goal, Mark Isherwood and Steve Johnson added others as we returned home with a 3-1 victory on that historic day.

Gate find themselves down in 22nd place with just eight games left to play. They have won just two of their last eight games, although their victories have come fairly recently, a 4-2 win over Cheadle Town and a 4-1 win at Pilkington giving them some hope of staying out of the relegation shake-up.

They did, of course, beat the Rams pre-Christmas 2-1 with two goals in three minutes just before the half-time break They will be hoping for something similar on home turf as part of the NWCFL’s groundhoppers day, this being the third game of the day for some with the 5pm kick-off.

The Rams come into this game having not played for a full game for three weeks since the 2-1 reverse to Wythenshawe Town although we did have 45 minutes worth a couple of Saturday ago! Having mentioned Charnock Richard in the previous preview with all their games remaining, the Rams are next with the most games left to play with 15!

That’s just so wrong!!!!! Let’s just hope that one is ticked off this weekend.

As mentioned, this is the 32nd competitive meeting since the first back in 1995. The Rams lead 14-8 in the head-to-head stakes with nine draws although Squires Gate have won the last two games, separated by nearly 12 years!

Our record on the coast is 5 wins and four defeats alongside six draws with two wins each in the last four.

If you need reminding, here is the report from the pre-Christmas meeting that went the way of the visitors 2-1.


“Hopefully this is the day we finally get to play a game. We’re off to the seaside to take part in the groundhopper weekend at Squires Gate.

“We know Gate are down near the bottom but the beat us at home just before Christmas so we know it’s not going to be easy.”