RAMS DOMINANT IN IRLAM WIN
Matt Dudley opens the scoring with a deft long range chip over the Irlam ‘keeper.
From the first whistle, it was obvious that the determination to put their league campaign into full throttle was their main target. For the first twenty minutes, it was almost one-way traffic towards the home goal, that lived a charmed life on a number of occasions.
Luke Sephton was unlucky when his header from an excellent left-wing cross, crashed against the post, whilst Kuda Chingwaro saw his close range effort somehow blocked, as did Finn Bartram whose mazy run deserved a goal.
With the exception of an odd raid at the other end, the Rams continued to pile forward and after a number of escapes, the home side finally capitulated on 25 minutes.
A loose ball found the un-marked Matt Dudley in the centre of the Irlam half. He strode forward and as the home keeper came out, he calmly lifted the ball over him and into the empty net to give the visitors a deserved lead.
More pressure was applied with Bartram hoisting an effort over the bar whilst George Lewis was frustrated to see his effort turned around the post.
So a slender lead at the break that should have been more, had the Rams faithful wondering if the missed chances would come back to bite them, as had happened on a number of previous occasions.
Not this time, however, for despite an early rally from the home side as the second half began, the Rams rearguard, superbly marshalled by debutant Theo Farquharson, dealt with whatever was thrown at them before the team once again took control of the game.
Millen Brown did threaten the Rams goal after 64 minutes, but his header cleared the bar.
Within seconds, the Rams broke, feeding Chingwaro down the left. He cut into the box, but desperate defending sent the ball out for a corner.
A minute later and an identical ball again played in Chingwaro. This time he ventured down to the by-line before smashing a low cross into the box, which was met with equal venom by Dudley who crashed in his and the Rams second.
Manager Steve Wilkes took the opportunity to give game time to the substitutes who all contributed to the performance that eventually led to a third goal.
A ball into the penalty area caused mayhem before falling to the feet of Chingwaro via a deflected effort from Fitzgerald, and he neatly slid the ball home on 76 minutes.
Overall an impressive and convincing victory which will hopefully act as a springboard to move up the league table towards one of those coveted play-off spots.
Manager Wilkes was understandably delighted, “I couldn’t have asked for a better reaction from the players after the disappointment of the Vase exit”.
“From the first minute to the last, we were excellent. I think that’s the best football we’ve played all season.
“That’s two back-to-back clean sheets in the league and is something we’ve been striving for.
“It’s also great to have Ryan (Hamer) back between the sticks as he gives the players in front of him so much confidence. What we need now is to make sure we apply ourselves again on Saturday at home to Squires Gate.”
RAMSBOTTOM UNITED: Hamer, Collinge (Roscoe 84mins), Walder (Hayhurst 67mins), Lewis, Radcliffe, Farquharson, Bartram (Fitzgerald 62mins),Sephton (Rigby 78mins), Dudley, Whyte, Chingwaro (Campbell 79mins)