The prospect of the bottom two teams competing against each other obviously failed to attract the attention of the paying public as a meagre 127 bothered to turn up in a stadium capable of holding over 13,000.
Any hopes that the Rams had of finally ending a wretched run of defeats was soon dented as the hosts took the lead as early as the fourth minute when a free-kick into the box found the head of Widnes defender Tom Stephens who nodded home with ease.
At that point the Rams could have been two down as George Hassall, who gave the visiting defence trouble all afternoon, was superbly thwarted by visiting keeper Harry Turner with barely two minutes on the clock.
As the half progressed, it was the home side looking the more dangerous, and Hassall firstly saw Turner produce a first class save to keep out his pile-driver, before agonisingly watching as his header clipped the bar before going over.
The home side thought they had doubled their lead in the 31st minute following a goalmouth scramble, but with the ball in the back of the net, they were disappointed to see the offside flag raised.
As half-time approached the Rams began to look a little more lively with both Billy Hasler-Cregg and Tom Croughan firing wide of the target. A cross from Oscar Radcliffe caused problems in the Widnes box, and a half-clearance fell to James Murphy, but his shot from the edge of the box was aimed straight at the home keeper.
Then, as has happened so many times this season, the last minute of the half approached and the customary goal was conceded.
The defence seemed to stand around waiting for one another to clear the danger, as Steven Irwin took the opportunity to say “Thank you” as he poked the ball home from close range, to double Widnes’ lead.
Within a minute of the second half starting, the ever-dangerous Hassall again raced through a static defence and was brilliantly denied by Turner once more.
A minute later the visiting custodian was at it again, this time preventing half-time substitute Luke Sephton notching what looked like an inevitable third goal for the home side, with a close range block.
Sephton continued to cause all sorts of problems for the Rams defence and twice within a minute he came close to scoring, before the Rams were reduced to ten men for the fifth time this season, with Lee Neville punished for a second foul deemed worthy by the referee of a yellow card and the inevitable red.
The home side continued to press with Steven Irwin seeing his effort saved by the over-worked Turner, who had to deal with another run through by Sephton, as well as relying on his defenders to clear a close range effort off the line.
So it was something of a turn-up when the Rams grabbed a lifeline.
On 73 minutes the ball broke kindly to Oscar Radcliffe just inside the Widnes penalty area, and he had the time to stroke home what was to eventually prove to be a consolation.
The game was finally put to bed with ten minutes to go.
Having had such a superb game at keeping the home team at bay, it was a little cruel on Turner when his only mistake of the afternoon was punished. A low cross from the right was spilled by the keeper and the lurking Sephton stroked the loose ball home for a goal his second half performance deserved.
The 3-1 final score-line flattered the Ramsbottom team that had looked second best all afternoon, and as a result the two teams swapped places with the Rams now firmly rooted at the bottom of the table.
Turner, Radcliffe, Dean (Halfacre 45mins), Neville, Hall, Fitzgerald, Hasler-Cregg, Osi-Efa (Collinge 64mins), Donaldson, Croughan, Murphy. Subs not used: Johnson, Marshall-King, Grimshaw