by | Dec 27, 2023

Matt Dudley flicks on a cross as Ramsbottom try to reduce the deficit. 

NWC Premier Division • 26 Dec 2023
With high hopes of a successful Christmas following the season’s best performance at Irlam in mid-week, a season’s worst performance knocked the stuffing out of the side as they fell to a dismal 5-1 defeat at the hands of east Lancashire neighbours Padiham.
Leckenby's Tea Rooms

Yet it could have been so different had Dylan Fitzgerald, one of the few who came out of the game with any credit, hit the target rather than the side netting in the opening minute.

Leckenby's Tea Rooms

After that, it was all downhill for the visitors, for after a lengthy delay after just four minutes due to an injury to defender Theo Farquharson, on 12 minutes the Rams defence opened wide to allow Joel Brownhill the freedom of the park to stride forward and fire goalwards. Although Ryan Hamer parried his shot, he was on hand to tuck home the rebound to give the home side an early lead.

Farquharson came off immediately unsettling a defence that had been the club’s achilles heel all season. This game was to prove no different.

Despite a number of forays down both flanks, the Rams forwards rarely looked like troubling Matthew Hamnett in the home goal, and with the home side looking quicker to the ball, it was no surprise when they doubled the lead on 30 minutes, although whether winger Joel Melia meant to send in a an effort on goal or a cross, the ball sailed over Hamer’s head and lodged in the back of the net.

Worse was to follow, as another failed clearance led to Tyler James having the simple task of netting just seconds before the half-time break to give Padiham a three goal cushion.

Whereas on a number of occasions this season, the Rams have produced performances in each half of total contradiction, this was not one of those games, as the home side, playing down the slope, continued to dominate.

A ball in from the right by-line was poked home on 63 minutes by Brownhill to make it 4-0, and just six minutes later, the defence was again split open allowing substitute Bobby Carter to fire home the fifth.

Somehow the flow was halted, and the final goal of the game belonged to the Rams, with Kuda Chingwaro cutting in from the left before firing home an unstoppable volley from the edge of the penalty area.

That goal was the 2000th scored during the club’s semi-professional existence, but barely worth celebrating in the context of a game in which they were inferior in all departments on an afternoon to forget.

Manager Steve Wilkes was understandably annoyed. “Firstly I’d like to apologise to the fans that made the trip to Padiham to witness a performance that was no way good enough for Ramsbottom United Football Club.

“The players have been told in no uncertain terms that the performance fell way below the standards Steve Wilkes and Ramsbottom United expect.

“We seem to take a couple of steps forward then one backwards, and it is my job to rectify that.

“I came into the job knowing it was going to be tough after last season’s relegation and so it has proved, but I’m more determined than ever to put things right and get the football club moving forward in the right direction.

“The fans deserve much better than you are getting from myself and the players and now is the time to put things right.”

RAMSBOTTOM UNITED: Hamer, Collinge, Walder, Lewis (Ogunby 63mins), Radcliffe, Farquharson (Roscoe 12mins), Bartram (Chingwaro 45mins), Rigby (Campbell 63mins), Dudley, Sephton, Fitzgerald. Sub not used: Wood

Att: 337