by | Jan 31, 2024

Matty Birchall enjoys his first Ramsbottom goal with Luke Sephton and some young fans.

NWC Premier Division • 30 Jan 2024

Sitting next to the bottom of the current form table, the last thing Ramsbottom United wanted was to welcome the club sitting next to the top. Odds on an away win then, or so you would have imagined.

Leckenby's Tea Rooms

Indeed, the early stages of the game looked as though the hosts were in for another tough night, but having repelled any early attempts from the visitors, the home side suddenly found some self-belief, and began to take the upper hand, giving as good as they got in an entertaining clash.

Leckenby's Tea Rooms

Ryan Hamer, in the home goal, was the first to be brought into the action when he made an excellent close range save, whilst at the other end Matty Birchall went close on a couple of occasions.

Henri Ogunby and Luke Sephton both turned up the pressure on the Lower Breck defence, before, not for the first time, the Rams conceded the first goal against the run of play.

On 43 minutes, the ball fell to Lewis Buckley in the penalty area with a defender on the wrong side of him, and he confidently stroked the ball home much to the frustration of the hosts.

However, in bizarre fashion, that lead was to last less than a minute.

A long ball forward saw a Breck defender in a tangle with defender Harvey Hayhurst chasing down. The loose ball looked a comfortable take for Theo Roberts in the away goal, but he somehow let the ball squirm through him, and Hayhurst gleefully slid the ball into the empty net to restore parity.

Moments later, Oscar Radcliffe strode forward and his looping cross glanced off the Breck crossbar and away to safety.

So, both sides left for the half-time break level, which was a fair reflection of the first forty-five.

The visitors had the early opportunities in the second half with Tom Mitchell seeing his effort rise over the bar, before a through ball was missed by the home defence leaving Buckley to race through with only Hamer to beat. The keeper did brilliantly to block and deny what looked like a certain goal.

That changed things, for moments later, on 54 minutes, Hayhurst raced down the left wing before sending in an inch-perfect cross for Matty Birchall to head home to give the Rams a 2-1 lead.

Hamer again came to the rescue, before Luke Sephton watched on as his effort cannoned back off the post whilst James Murphy saw his attempt crash back off the Rams bar.

But it wasn’t long before the Rams added a third on 81 minutes, as substitute Luke Jackson hammered the ball home from ten yards to give the hosts a two-goal cushion.

It was needed, for as the game petered down with seven minutes of injury time, in the sixth minute a through ball fell for a suspiciously-looking offside Buckley, who cleverly flicked it past Hamer from an acute angle to make it 3-2.

Seconds later the whistle blew on an entertaining and well-deserved victory for Ramsbottom United. The only downside was a second yellow and subsequent red for Matty Birchall, but that should not detract from a rewarding night for the hard-working team.

Manager Steve Wilkes was naturally delighted: “So pleased for everyone involved at the football club.

“It’s been a tough six weeks with players leaving and new faces bedding in, but I thought we thoroughly deserved the win against one of, in my opinion, the best teams in the league.

“Credit must go to the players for putting in a performance like they did on the back of the defeats we have had recently.

“We now need to back it up on Saturday with another 3 points at home to Litherland”

RAMSBOTTOM UNITED: Hamer, Collinge, Hayhurst (L.Jackson 55mins), Lent, Radcliffe, Henson, Ogunby (Bartram 68mins), Whittingham (Hart 91mins), Sephton, Birchall, Power (McMahon 80mins) Not Used: Fitzgerald

Att: 159