With this Saturday’s FA Cup qualifying round encounter with Irlam kicking off the 2020/21 season, let’s have a look back at the first time the club stepped on “The Road to Wembley” in 1998.

It certainly was a memorable first shot!

Here is how the Lancashire Telegraph reported our qualifying round games against Maine Road on the 5th and 8th September 1998.

RAMPANT Ramsbottom United added a new chapter to their history book when they stormed to victory in the FA Cup.

In the competition for the first time since they were formed in 1966, United entertained Maine Road for Saturday’s preliminary round milestone and were held to a goalless draw at their Riverside Ground.

But in Tuesday’s replay the local lads triumphed by 2-1 and were walking on air as they contemplated another home tie against Shildon of the Northern League on September 19.

It is a story which certainly adds to the traditions of the best domestic cup competition in the world and United’s players and officials will be hoping for a record attendance when they seek to make further progress.

In Tuesday’s replay the Rams started at a cracking pace with Russell Brierley giving early notice of his shooting ability and after a series of attacks they achieved the breakthrough they wanted.

Steve Brennan showed tremendous skill and determination on the right before delivering a fine cross for Steve Orrell whose header flew into the net.

That was after 24 minutes and not long afterwards it was almost 2-0 as Orrell fired inches wide following good work from Paul Thomson.

Goalkeeper Stuart Heeps produced an excellent save to push a powerful strike from Matthew Jenkinson over the top, but saved his best to deny Gordon Woods from the penalty spot in the 51st minute after Billy McCartney had handled.

Maine Road piled on the pressure but the Rams’ held firm and fifteen minutes from the end the dream began to become reality as Russell Brierley cashed in on a defensive mistake to score with a low shot from 10 yards.

In the 79th minute substitute Livingstone Laycock gave the home side renewed hope when he made it 2-1 but the Rams were not to be denied their taste of cup glory with Thomson going close to adding to their tally.