REPORT: Rams 2 Rochdale 3

Pre-Season Friendly

Wednesday 24th July 2019

RAMSBOTTOM UNITED 2 ROCHDALE 3

Attendance: 408

Report by Aaron Benson

Ramsbottom United were beaten 3-2 by Rochdale in the clubs opening pre-season friendly. Goals from Stephen Dooley, Ryan Delaney and Ollie Rathbone condemned the home side to defeat, despite the Rams scoring twice in the first half through un-named trialists.

Only four Ramsbottom players were officially named in the matchday programme, three of the four remaining from last season, the other a new singing. Tom Kennedy, Jamie Rother and Nic Evangelinos all returned to the side whilst newly announced Daniel Naidole was making his club debut.

Rochdale were straight out the blocks and ahead after the first minute. Forward Dooley with the opener, leaving Ramsbottom with a mountain to climb straight from kick off.

The League One side had further opportunities to increase their lead immediately after Dooley’s goal, forward Rekeil Pyke and Rathbone both saw chances come and go. The first flew over the bar, the second saved by Rammy’s man between the sticks.

Yet an equalising goal wasn’t too far away coming in the 18th minute. A sweeping move down the right hand side was too hot to handle for the Dale defence. At the back post a Trialist burst the net with a low finish past Brad Wade.

In what was turning out to be an end to end pre-season friendly, Rochdale re-took the lead with some clever touches in around the six yard area which became the source of their goal. An interchange between Dooley and Rathbone found Delaney on the edge of the area, the number five doubling the visitors advantage after only 25 minutes with a smart volley.

Shortly before half time Rochdale scored another, showing their true football league ability. Rathbone burst the net with a shot from the six yard box giving Dale a comfortable lead, although Ramsbottom showed their fighting spirit hitting back just two minutes after. A Trialist hammered the ball home from close range ensuring the goal deficit going into the half time break was only the one.

The opening to the second half was met with many substitutes yet fewer goalmouth chances for either side.

Dale had the better of the play, the majority of their opportunities coming after the hour mark. First with Dooley who hit the crossbar, then Lewis Bradley took aim at goal only for his effort to be deflected off target.

Substitutes Aaron Morley and Matt Gillam could easily have added a fourth with respective chances, although the latters best chance was still to come with a shot that cannoned off the bar.

Rammy struggled to test Dale or sub Morgan Piper in the second half with Dale enjoying a keep ball exercise in the final stages, running out easy winners despite the narrow scoreline.

Manager Chris Willcock was rather pleased with his sides performance on the night, particularly with the quality of opposition Rochdale boss Brian Barry-Murphy fielded.

‘I thought it was great game of football and a real good workout for the lads, creating some great opportunities especially after looking rusty early doors’.

‘I would like to thank Rochdale for sending a really strong team and making the game competitive for us and both teams produced a great spectacle with five goals’.

‘Overall we wanted a strong and competitive pre-season ahead before the start of the season against Widnes. The clubs expectations are higher now and we’re looking to carry on from the momentum of last season, integrating the new players we have over the next few weeks. We start on the 17th and let’s see how this season goes’.

Ramsbottom team vs Rochdale: Tom Kennedy, Jamie Rother, Nic Evangelinos, Daniel Naidole, Trialists A to M