RAMS HIT SKEM FOR SIX
Harvey Hayhurst celebrates after his free-kick restored our two goal advantage.
Ramsbottom United returned to winning ways in the North West Counties League by hitting bottom of the table Skelmersdale United for six – but it could have been considerably worse for the home side.
Steve Wilkes’ side snapped their two match winless league run to climb to within three points of the play-off places in tenth, turning in an impressive performance to not only win comfortably but also give their floundering goal difference a considerable boost.
It was the home side who had the first opportunity of the evening but the shot was fired straight at debutant Burnley loanee goalkeeper Harry Moss but that was as good as it got for Skem as the Rams took charge.
Just four minutes into the game, the livewire Ryan Lockett, given just his second start of the season, was upended on the edge of the home side’s box but Matt Dudley fired the free-kick straight into the wall with subsequent shouts for handball going unheard.
Dudley would make no mistake shortly afterwards when Maine Walder’s run down the left wing was played inside to Luke Sephton who was tripped on the edge of the six yard box. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot leaving Dudley to step up and confidently send the Skem stopper Ben Barnes the wrong way for the opening goal.
The Rams continued to threaten. Luke Sephton had a fine chance well defended after Walder put him through and Dudley somehow put a close range effort over the bar when a delightful ball from Sephton found the striker clear in front of goal.
Rammy’s number nine would soon make it two though. Skem defender Tom Parry was adjudged to have handled Sephton’s headed effort and Dudley would send Barnes the same wrong way from the penalty spot for 2-0.
He should have completed his hat-trick just after the half-hour but he scuffed a gilt edged chance over the bar when, again, it was easier to have found the back of the net.
Pa Jenkins had a good opportunity when he went through on goal but took a little too long on the ball before Skem had a great chance to pull one back before the break when Luke Byron shot straight at Moss.
Rammy went into the break comfortably two goals to the good but their advantage would be halved as the home side came back out with a determined sense of purpose – Gabriel Ellis hitting the target leaving Moss no chance.
The two goal cushion was restored just four minutes later when Harvey Hayhurst stood over a free-kick and smashed the shot beyond the reach of Barnes into the bottom corner and Pa Jenkins would make it four shortly afterwards.
Some delightful build up play from the visitors saw the ball land at the feet of the Rammy attacking midfielder and he would take aim with an audacious strike from a full 25 yards, sending the ball sailing into the top corner of the net.
Wilkes began to make some changes as the Rams continued to look comfortable and that comfort was to be extended on 63 minutes when substitute Kuda Chingwaro, who had only been on less than 90 seconds, would pounce on some more fine build up play and unleash a shot into the corner of the net.
There was still time for Dudley to miss a huge chance as his header right in front of goal would bounce over the bar – two goals from the penalty spot but he could have had a hatful!
Skelmersdale did pull one back again when Ellis would slot home a penalty for 5-2 but the scoring wasn’t quite complete as another substitute Sam Rigby would make it six as the ball trickled past the exasperated Skem keeper Barnes into the bottom corner.
The final whistle went to great delight of the Rammy faithful but the hosts, whilst comprehensively beaten, might have been relieved to only concede six and not a great many more.
Ramsbottom United: Moss, Hayhurst, Walder, Walker (Whyte), Radcliffe, Roscoe, Sephton (Redmayne), Whittingham (Jackson), Dudley, Jenkins (Rigby), Lockett (Chingwaro).