The Rams ended their run of four straight defeats in the league with a hard-fought point away at Newcastle Town but will definitely look upon this as a missed opportunity to move away from the relegation reaches.
They deserved more from their endeavours across the afternoon after falling behind to a headed goal in the first half only for Aaron Fleming to respond in kind early in the second to secure his first goal for the club.
Manager Lee Donafee made two changes from the defeat against Runcorn Linnets with new signing Seydou Bamba joining Luke Barlow in defence with youngsters Owen Collinge and George Wyatt missing out.
And it was the visitors who started the brighter when Fleming’s second minute shot from the left was saved by the home stopper.
There was certainly plenty of action but little in the way of trouble for either side in the opening half hour until the 36th minute when Newcastle took the lead.
From a free kick, Ethan Vale hit a nicely weighted free kick onto the head of Tommy van der Laan, in his 100th apperance for the hosts, who headed it past Tom Stewart for the early advantage.
However, the Rams returned for the second half somewhat revitalised and it took them just eight minutes to level the scores.
Skipper Tom Kennedy’s corner found the head of John Murphy, who sent it goalwards for Fleming to flick a header home from close range.
The equaliser was just the start of a Rammy surge as they dominated the second half – Fleming smashing a shot across the post two minutes later amongst a number of other chances that came their way.
With the new signing Bamba controlling the back line, helping young Blackpool loanee Michael Fitzgerald throughout, the Rams held firm any threat from Town and were much the better side after the break.
A Kennedy free kick late in the game was well saved by the Newcastle keeper as the Rams pressed for a winner and substitute Jason Carey, returning to the club after two seasons away, had a great attempt but shot straight at the keeper.
Carey, an 80th minute substitute into the game, didn’t last the remainder as he was given his marching order by the referee for maybe a word about his indifferent performance throughout the game, which did neither side any favours.
A point is better than a loss as the Rams have stopped their recent run of defeats and also halted their hideous record on the road – this being the first time in ten attempts they haven’t lost their game away from home.
But with Prescot Cables securing a victory at 1874 Northwich, the gap between the relegation play-off spot and the Rams has squeezed to just four points.
While a point is welcome, the Rams will definitely look back on it as a huge missed opportunity to secure a needed, vital three.
RAMSBOTTOM UNITED: Tom Stewart, Luke Barlow, Tom Kennedy, Michael Fitzgerald, Seydou Bamba, Jack Grimshaw (Eddie Cooper 65), Aaron Fleming (Jason Carey 80), Jamie Rother, John Murphy, Domaine Rouse, Tom Hartley (Godwin Abadaki 76). Subs not used: Ryan Graham, Owen Collinge.