Gaskell and Mota depart the Rams

Ramsbottom United have been rocked by the news that one of their leading goalscorers, Lee Gaskell, as well as recent signing Nelson Mota, have decided to leave the club.

Gaskell has decided to join Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division 1 North strugglers Warrington Town while Mota has also switched to a club in that same league, Darlington 1883.

One of the stalwarts of the clubs meteoric rise through the league, Lee made 153 starts for the Rams (as well as 34 substitute appearances) and netted 108 goals, the second highest tally in the history of the Riversiders. However, he has been restricted by injury this season and, when fit, has played just four starts and six off the bench, scoring a single goal.

Joint-manager Anthony Johnson was bitterly disappointed that he has quit the club, who sit fourth in the Evo-Stik Premier Division. "Warrington have got a few injuries and bans coming up and they got a sniff that Lee was not FA Cup-tied as he didn't play for us due to being injured.

"They have their big second round game coming up and they contacted us to put seven days notice in, which we waived so we could make him an offer. I guess it was too good an opportunity to turn down as they have offered him more money but I am struggling to understand why a player would leave a team fourth in the Premier Division to join a club fourth-bottom of the league below.

"However, we don't want a player who is thinking about leaving in our camp. He said he needed to be playing football, but he has been injured and we have won quite a few games without him playing so it was only fair that we kept the same side.

"He has done a lot for us over the last few years. Clubs have come in for him loads - Salford City, Witton Albion - but he hasn't gone then so its very disappointing because he has given us so much in the past. But I think we have seen the best of him.

"I hope he does well, of course. But he is nearly 30, where is his ambition to go further up the league standings?

"It is heartbreaking because we have taken six years to build this and it is scary where we might go with the team we have. However, camaraderie can only take you so far if people come and offer you more money."

Also heading out of the exit door at the club is Nelson Mota, who has joined beaten play-off side from last season, Darlington 1883. Signed from FC United of Manchester in the closed season, he made four starts and five appearances off the bench and scored a single goal in the 4-2 defeat at Frickley Athletic.

"Nelson wasn't getting the game time he wanted with us," said Johnson, "so has taken the chance to play regularly with Darlington, another player leaving to play a lower level, which is naturally disappointing for us."

The club with both players well in their future endeavours.