Rams back to form with five star show

Ramsbottom United returned to winning ways in emphatic style as they completely dominated their opponents with a five star display.

The side from north Yorkshire must be sick of the sight of the Rams. Having played the Lancashire side four times since the latter gained promotion, they have been on the receiving end of four defeats, having leaked 15 goals and scoring none in the process.

Tuesday night was as emphatic a victory as was possible, with five different goal-scorers helping push the team back into contention for a play-off place.

Despite their dominance, the Rams could quite easily have fallen behind early on, when the first chance of the game fell to Harrogate.

Alex Metcalf was played through the middle, but with only Grant Shenton, in goal, to beat, he fired well wide of the target.

Within a minute, however, the tone of the night had been set.

The home side immediately pushed forward, and Lee Gaskell beat the offside trap to fire in a superb shot which was brilliantly pushed round by RA keeper Peter Crook. Crook however, turned from hero to villain as the corner came in. Danny Warrender was first to the ball, but Crook appeared to have his header within his grasp, but inexplicably fumbled it as it went over the line, to give the Rams a morale-boosting ninth minute lead.

Crook, however, was in the right place to keep out a Billy Priestley header from a Gary Stopforth free-kick, and a direct free-kick from Gaskell.

Gaskell then headed wide from another free-kick as the home side began to dominate proceedings.

Jordan Hulme’s persistence paid off as he wriggled past his defender on the by-line, but Chris Denham, returning after injury, was unable to hit the target.

It was no surprise when the Rams doubled their lead on 35 minutes.

A fine run from Stopforth saw the industrious midfielder feed the on-rushing Phil Dean, and the latter fired home from just inside the box.

Hulme hit the side netting, before a rare chance at the other end proved to be the final action of the first half. Nathan Cartman wriggled through only to see Shenton palm the ball away, and the follow-up also hit the side netting.

Dean was thwarted by Crook as the second half began, before his cross found Hulme, but he was inches wide from 15 yards.

In a desperate attempt to get back into the game, Metcalf’s 25 yard effort sailed inches wide of the post, but Harrogate attacks were rare as the Rams totally controlled the game.

They were rewarded in the 62nd minute when a neat flick on from Stopforth put Gaskell through on goal and he found his spot from 15 yards to end the game as a contest.

A fine move involving Dean Gaskell and Dominic Smalley ended with a shot that sailed inches over the bar, before a fine through ball from Priestley sent Hulme scampering through. Fortunately for the visitors Crook was able to snuff out the danger, but he wasn’t so fortunate just sixty seconds later when an identical opportunity arrived. This time Hulme made no mistake as he fired the ball home for the Rams fourth on 73 minutes.

Hulme fired another chance over before Priestley finished the scoring on 82 minutes. A fine cross from the left from Darren Green, who had an excellent game in midfield, landed perfectly for Priestley who volleyed home first time from 12 yards out.

Hulme had a shot cleared off the line as the minutes ticked down, but the final whistle sounded on a perfect night for the home side.

Another three points, and another convincing victory as the Rams continue to battle for that final play-off spot, a battle that is looking more intriguing as the weeks pass.

RAMSBOTTOM UNITED: Shenton, Smalley, Pilkington(Toth 81mins), Stopforth, Warrender, priestley, Hulme, Green, Gaskell(Nuttall 81mins), Denham(Roberts 63mins), Dean. Sub not used: Morley