Sun’s out, buns out! 

Well, man buns that is. Although there was only one on show today which must be a new record low for the NPL this season! 

What we did have was an unchanged team from the 3-0 away tonking of Mossley, and a nice warm night at the Riverside to enjoy tonight’s game against our visitors Colne FC, who boasted a welcomely boisterous travelling support who were in full song. 

“Ronaldo’s on the bench!” was the subject of the pre-match chatter, along with the disappointing departure of goalkeeper Ollie Martin to Ashton United in the league above. Truth be told, we were never going to keep two keepers of such quality happy for long, as they can’t both be on the team sheet together. We are just lucky to have another cracker in Tom Stewart who is now the undisputed number one! 

The game itself was initially a slow burner. Two great defensive blocks in quick succession around 15 minutes or so in kept the visitors out, but despite some good passing and movement in our own half we struggled to muster the cohesion to get any of our own forwards involved, and there were a few aimless long punts up the park. 

Despite initially failing to break down Colne’s defensive unit, there was always the sense that something would eventually give. A penalty shout for an alleged foul on James Murphy was waved away, but shortly afterwards he did happen to win a free kick on the edge of the box – after some magical footwork – he left his marker looking like a bit of a fool with a mazily jinking run. 

The resulting free kick was blocked by the assembled wall, but only put out for a corner. The inswinger that followed was headed down by Dahrius Waldron into the path of Murphy who made no mistake for what I believe was his 6th of the season already!  An early candidate for this seasons top scorer award by the looks of it, and any doubts about where the goals would be coming from (in our new look side) are being surely put to bed! 

Colne remained competitive throughout, and the Red Army fans continued to sing their hearts out despite falling behind – “Rammy ultras you’re having a laugh” and “Shall we sing a song for you” could amusingly be heard (amongst some more original numbers) from the most vocal section of away support. Truth be told, Ramsbottom would be having the last laugh tonight. 

We finished the half with a slight stoppage for an injury to Jake Thompson (replaced before the interval by Godwin Abadaki), and then a comical pitch invasion by of all things, I believe, a Duck(?!) which was chased off the field by a waddling Eddie Cooper! On the stroke of half time, Coops sliced an effort across the ground which trickled through the Colne keeper’s hands (and then between his legs) to make it 2-0. Duck power ! 

Ramsbottom continued to showcase an impressively competitive edge after the restart, with some crunching but fair tackles flying in from both Domaine Rouse and Waldron. Nothing Colne could deliver came to any fruition though, and the majority of their attacks fizzled out to nothing – with Will Hall and Steve Hoy nodding away most high balls with ease and full backs Kennedy and O’Brien looking wise to the counter. Special mention for Danny O’Brien actually who has made that right back slot his own (Owen Collinge is also very able backup, who will be useful when called upon as well). 

An unbelievable last ditch tackle from Will Hall denied Colne their best opportunity when it looked like they would be clean through on goal. Let’s hope this lad gets to stay for the full season and escapes the recall from his parent club – he has helped transform the back line no end it has to be said. A superb dart forward from the youngster ended up with less than it deserved also as he looped a solo effort over the crossbar, drawing a warm round of applause. 

In the final 10, Murphy was shown a late yellow for the sliding in on the keeper, and  subs Jamie Rainford and Abadaki combined on minute number 84 – Rainford laying it off for the latter to score his first in a Rammy shirt to make it 3-0.

There was also a late cameo for newbie Ronaldo Brown (“Ronaldo’s on the pitch!”), and there was a surprise consolation for Colne captain Lee Pugh in the last seconds as he lobbed one over Stewart and in off the bar – but as the match reached its close, a deserved 3-1 victory made it now four comfortable wins in a row, and a mouth-watering 3rd place in the table, 3 points off Chris Willcock’s Workington beckoned! It will be more than a little interesting to see how this season plays out! 

Next up on Saturday, bottom of the table Prescot Cables away… fingers crossed…