For the first time in three years, non-league football fans were able to enjoy a full calendar year of fixtures after two Covid-19 ruined campaigns in 2020 and 2021.
And whilst that would have been a great joy to many who follow the game at our level, for the Ramsbottom United faithful, there were times that they wished Mr Whitty and co would declare another new varient and play cease once more!
We jest, of course – no one wants a return to the lockdowns and the restrictions that crippled the country so desperately – but the statistics of 2022 don’t make pretty reading for those who have followed the Rams home, and especially, away.
In the calendar year of 2022, the Rams played 38 league games and won just 9, claiming seven draws but suffering defeat on 22 occasions. The win% of 23.68 is the lowest since the disasterous 2015 campaign that saw just six wins in 45 league encounters and is the third lowest in the club’s semi-professional record behind 1999’s 19.51% wins.
44 goals were scored in total in those 38 games which equated to 1.16 goals per game. Only 2015’s 41 goals in 45 games and 2002’s 43 in 41 games can hold a match to the disappointing record in front of goal this calendar year.
But the one major area that was the main source of concern was the Rams’ inability to win on their travels. They have played 28 games across the last two years away from the Harry Williams Riverside Stadium and won only four of them, claiming 18 points out of a possible 84.
And in 2022, it was two away wins from 17 attempts and, for the first time in the semi-pro era in a full year of matches, a goals per game record of less than one each time out (15 goals scored).
The record at home wasn’t a huge amount better with a win% of 33.33 – the lowest since 2016 although one positive was that crowd numbers passed 300 on average for the first time in a full calendar year record although 2020 and 2021’s half-years did see large average attendances, 6629 coming through the gates in 21 games (316 average) this year.
One very troubling stat for the management would have been that 34% of the goals scored by the opposition came in the last 20 minutes of games, 20% of them coming in the last 10. The Rams scored 25% of their goals in the last 20 minutes by comparison.
Although bizarrely the Rams scored 14% of their goals inbetween minutes 21-30 while their opponents only scored once in that period.
Former club captain Jamie Rother played in 29 of the 38 games before he departed for pastures new while youngster Michael Fitzgerald appeared 28 times (26 starts and two subs) and Luke Barlow 27 times (26 starts and one sub).
A total of 49 players stepped onto the field for the Rams this year, eight of whom only did so once.
Domaine Rouse was the leading goal scorer with 7 while John Murphy and Ben Halfacre both collected five to their names. James Murphy chipped in with four in our full total of 44 goals.
And the final stat for the article is probably not a surprising one and that’s the most time spent having his name written down by the referee and that honour went to Jamie Rother with 7, ahead of five players all receiving five moments of attention by the man in black.
So, all in all, a calendar year to forget for the Rams but a positive result in the final game of the year on Boxing Day has given the supporters a little bit of positivity heading into 2023.
Let the good times roll back at Ramsbottom United!