Category: Club News

THREE IN FOR FINAL PUSH

Ramsbottom United manager Chris Willcock has brought three new faces to the club ahead of the transfer deadline on Thursday as the Rams look to gain promotion to Evo-Stik Premier.

Experienced midfielder SPENCER HARRIS joins the club from National League North Boston United where he had made 28 appearances this season, and he capped a debut on Saturday against Prescot Cables by scoring the second goal in the 2-0 win.

The 28 year old began his career at Huddersfield Town before moving on to Guiseley, Buxton, Farsley Celtic and Hyde United before joining Willcock at the now-defunct Shaw Lane club.



Also making his debut for the club, on his 27th Birthday, in the Prescot Cables game was goalkeeper DALE LATHAM, who has been brought in as cover for regular custodian Sam Ashton.

Latham has plenty of experience having turned out for the likes of Avro, Mossley, Droylsden, Salford City and Winsford United.

He joined the Rams, ironically exactly a year after he made his debut for his former club Atherton Collieries in their first defeat in ten games….0-1 away to Ramsbottom United!



Completing the trio is young 20 year old JACK KAY, who is on a dual registration from National League high-flyers AFC Fylde.

The youngster comes highly rated by the Mill Farm club, and will be looking to gain some valuable game time as he looks to make progress with the club whose Football League ambitions have been well documented, and who will now be looking forward to a trip to Wembley in the FA Trophy Final, having overcome a severe test against the Rams in the last sixteen.

Category: Club News

PREVIEW: Droylsden (A)

As the season rapidly approaches the finale, just eight games remain, two of which are against local rivals Droylsden.

The first takes place on Tuesday at the Butchers Arms, and a healthy following of Rammy supporters will hopefully encourage the side to return up the M66 with all three points if the promotion challenge is to continue.

Eight points away from League leaders Atherton Colls appears to be a formidable challenge, but this team will not give up the fight until the play-offs become a more realistic route to Evo-Stik Premier.

Former top level side Droylsden have had a mediocre season lying in 13th position with 37 points from their 29 games, but have a better home record of 6 wins against 4 on the road.

Dave Pace’s team usually provide stern opposition, and nothing less will be expected as the Rams look to continue their unbeaten league record on the road under Chris Willcock.

They will still be hurting after failing to see the game out at Chasetown on Saturday when they played most of the 90 minutes with just ten men following the early dismissal of Ryan Ellison.

A late goal stole two precious points from the Rams, so a three point haul is essential in east Manchester in what will hopefully be a more pleasant evening weather-wise, than we have experienced just lately, which left a quarter of the HWRS ground covered by water on Saturday.

It’s tough at the top and a good run-in should see the Rams finish in at least a play-off spot, but football can be unpredictable, and the last six weeks of the season promises to be well worth keeping an eye on.

Category: Club News

REACTION: Chris Willcock on today's 2-1 win vs Clitheroe

Rams boss Chris Willcock said post-match that “I was pleased, we've got back to winning ways after a couple of defeats, I thought overall the in first half we generally controlled the game, created some good half chances, we look a threat from set pieces & we were pleased to get our noses in front and I was then hoping for us to kick on"

“Second half we came out and the conditions played quite apart today it was a stiff breeze, both teams found it difficult to get out and play some decent football, I thought the pitch let us down at times when we got ourselves into good areas, but obviously they made a mistake and Rainford does what he’s been doing well over his career and gets a brace which is pleasing and we come away with the points which overall we thoroughly deserved"

"I think the team needed a freshen up, it's the most changes we've made since I've been at the football club, I thought the lads that came in did well, I thought off the back of that the lads responded well, the most pleasing thing is that the lads who were left out & who came on also responded in the right manner and that's what it's all about, all of us being together, we've been hurting for the last week or so with the results, they've trained exceptionally well this week & we are pleased to get back to winning ways and we will kick on and work hard next week and look forward to travelling down to Chasetown"

On Irwyah Gooden; "We've extended his loan till the end of the season, he's in a particular point of his career at Mansfield where he's playing for a professional contract, he was going to be available for us today but he's tweaked his groin in training on Friday at Mansfield which unfortunately he was in the squad today but you know between ourselves and Mansfield we are in conversation with them as to when to use him and when to not, he's waiting for a decision on his career and whether he's going to get a pro contract or not and at the moment that's his priority but whatever decision is made on the lad whether he gets a pro contract or he doesn't he'll be a Ramsbottom player between now and the end of the season"

On Chasetown: "Well, I think he's changed a lot round since we played them in my first game as manager, they put us under a lot of pressure from set pieces, they had a guy who had a long throw and they were hurling it in from the halfway line and you know on that day they made it difficult for us, we know they are in good form at the moment, and we know from our point of view we are after back to back wins, the lads can take good confidence from today's game and we will go in there to upset the form table"




Category: Club News

PREVIEW: Runcorn Linnets (A)

After the disappointing – and unexpected – home defeat against Newcastle Town on Tuesday, this game really has the feel of a must-win contest.

Three home losses from the last four has severely put a dent in any possible automatic promotion hopes, so, in reality, it looks like the play-offs could be the only way to end the campaign on a successful note, although there are a number of other teams looking to pip us at the post.

Unusually, though, the Rams are now ahead of other contenders with regards to games played (that in itself is a miracle considering all the FA Trophy games we have had to fit in), and it’s now down to the last five games of the season, three against fellow-promotion hopefuls.

As we sit in 4th spot with 61 points from our 33 games, the hosts are one above us having played one game less, but with an extra point in the bag.

At home, Linnets have so far recorded ten wins, with just two league defeats, but it must be pointed out that since the arrival of Chris Willcock in early October, our only defeat away from the HWRS was that at AFC Fylde in the Trophy.

A continuation of that run will be essential against a Runcorn side that arrived in Ramsbottom in December and returned home victorious by 3 goals to 2 in a controversial game which saw two Rammy players dismissed.

So revenge should be in the air, and hopefully the Rammy supporters will be out in numbers to cheer on the lads, whose only absentee will be Ryan Ellison, serving the third of his four game ban.

This really is a big game for the team!

Category: Club News

PREVIEW: Clitheroe (A)

The Rams make the short hop up the road to east Lancashire rivals Clitheroe for what is usually a goal-fest between the two old foes.

Earlier in the season before the arrival of Chris Willcock, the Rams came back from 3-1 down to grab a point in a 3-3 thriller, whilst recent games at Shawbridge have also seen the net bulge on many occasions.

Alas, of late, visits there have not been productive for a Ramsbottom team. Last year the home side grabbed all the points courtesy of a 4-3 win whilst the year before, an incident-packed match which focussed around the referee, saw the visitors troop home on the back of a 4-0 hammering.

Indeed, we need to go back to the promotion season of 2013/14 for our last win in Clitheroe courtesy of another game that produced six goals, this time in favour of the Rams 4-2.

Traditionally a team near the top of the league, this season has been a disappointment for Clitheroe.

Not helped by the news that Chair Anne Barker is to step down at the end of this campaign, results on the pitch have been poor. Just two home wins all season, with eleven home defeats, they find themselves in 18th position with 23 points, just four points ahead of Kendal Town in the second relegation spot.

The Rams, by comparison sit in sixth with 51 points, and ready to pounce on any slip-up by the teams ahead of them.

The visitors will also be looking to put a disappointing couple of home defeats behind them, and continue the excellent away form since Willcock’s arrival in October, which sees them still undefeated on the road in League games.

A healthy following of Rams supporters is expected for a game where victory is crucial to keep the team in touch with the other promotion hopefuls.


Category: Club News

PREVIEW: Prescot Cables (H)

After three trips on the road which have yielded seven points, it’s back to the HWRS as the Rams take on old foes Prescot Cables.

With points ever-more precious as the final league fixtures come into view, the home side will be hoping for a repeat of the scoreline when the two sides met at Hope Street back in early November.

Making their second visit to the ground in four days, having previously beaten tenants Skelmersdale united 3-0, the Rams went one better against the Cables and came away on the back of a superb 4-0 victory, which included that fluke goal from keeper Sam Ashton.

Cables arrive in Ramsbottom in 8th place, ten points behind the hosts but with two games in hand.

Games between the two sides are traditionally entertaining and with Cables support dramatically increasing over the last couple of years, there should be a decent number of travelling supporters coming over to help create a good atmosphere for both teams.

Ryan Ellison will be unavailable as he serves the first of his four game ban following his dismissal at Chasetown last Saturday, whilst Nialle Rodney looks as though he will be out for the rest of the season.

That last minute winner at Droylsden, in a highly entertaining encounter, which increased the points total by two, could prove crucial as we enter the last five weeks of the campaign, and another three will be invaluable if the team can see off what will be a strong challenge from the team from Merseyside.

As always the support from the fans on the sidelines will be greatly appreciated, so let’s see a big crowd at the HWRS and another win as we look towards the top of the table.

Category: Club News

PREVIEW: Chasetown (A)

Ramsbottom United make the long journey down the M6 to the west Midlands for their first ever visit to Chasetown as the race for promotion hots up.

Trailing leaders Atherton Colls by nine points, but with a game in hand, three points are essential if the Rams are to continue their push for automatic promotion with just one place available. Otherwise, it’s into the lottery of the end-of-season play-offs, which in themselves are proving a fascinating contest.

Currently sitting in fourth spot, things have changed dramatically since the reverse fixture back in early October.

This was Chris Willcock’s first game in charge following his appointment four days earlier. At that time, the team were in the bottom half of the table and the visit from Chasetown probably answered a few of his early questions. Racing into a two goal lead during a first half that the home side dominated, the Rams were pegged back and had to settle for a 2-2 draw having been under considerable pressure during the second period.

Much, of course, has changed since those early autumn times, and Chasetown currently find themselves in 14th place with 35 points gained from their 30 games. 18 of these have been gathered at home with 4 wins and 6 draws.

As for the Rams, those two disappointing home reversals were put to bed last week with a hard-earned but much-deserved 2-1 win at Clitheroe in the same sort of miserable conditions expected in the midlands tomorrow.

It’s a long journey for the fans, but hopefully a good number will make the trip to encourage the team to return home with all 3 points.

Category: Club News

PHOTOS: Rams 0 Widnes 1

Photos from today's 1-0 loss at home to Widnes, taken by club photographer Frank Crook.

Category: Club News

PREVIEW: Newcastle Town (H)

With the end of the season clearly in sight, it’s a case of will-they-or-won’t-they when it comes to the Rams and their chase for a promotion place.

The win on Saturday, whilst not providing the best spectacle, earned the club another three points and hoisted them into third place on the league table.

There are just six more matches to play, and if the team have any realistic chance of winning the League, six wins would be needed.

A big ask, but the lads are full of confidence, and the first test is against mid-table Newcastle Town who arrive at the HWRS seeking some sort of revenge for the 6-0 thumping they received in the reverse fixture in Staffordshire last month.

This is a rearranged game as the original fell foul of the weather (one of only two to do so this season, compared with twelve last year!), so complacency needs to go out of the window as another three points is within the grasp.

The season so far has been both exciting and entertaining, and the hope is that the townsfolk will get down to the ground and create the sort of atmosphere to drive the lads on.

Missing tomorrow are banned duo Ryan Ellison and kelvin Lugsden, but the squad is big enough to cover those two absences, and keeper Sam Ashton returns to contention having been unavailable for the Prescot match.

Category: Club News

PREVIEW: Widnes (H)

It’s a quick return to action after the disappointing end to the excellent League run on Tuesday night, although Colne’s record at the HWRS over the last three years has now seen them return home on the back of three successive victories, so the 3-1 defeat may not have been quite the shock we thought.

So it’s back to the Riverside for another chance of three more points in what is becoming a fascinating race for promotion.

League newcomers Widnes provide the opposition, and having gained promotion last year from the NWCFL, they have acquitted themselves well, despite having to play the majority of their home games out of town at Barnton near Northwich whilst a new pitch was laid at the Halton Stadium.

That would probably account for the fact that their away record is infinitely superior to their “home” one, as 22 of their 34 points have been gathered on the road.

In Chris’s first away game back in October, we came behind to grab a point at Barnton, but all three points will be the target after the midweek blip, and I have no doubt the management and players will be all out to prove that a blip it was indeed.

There are no injuries or suspensions in the squad, with the exception of long-term absentee Nialle Rodney, so having stuck with the same line-up for the Colne game as the one that won handsomely at Trafford last Saturday, it will be interesting to see if there is any rotation to the starting eleven.

The season is now in the last two months, with 33 points still on offer.

Three points against a Widnes side who will arrive with confidence, would be a welcome reward for an afternoon when entertaining football is almost a guarantee.