Rams up to 3rd with local win

Ramsbottom United were hoping to build on Saturday's well deserved point at Hyde with a visit from local rivals and recently renamed Radcliffe FC on a sunny day at the HWRS on Bank Holiday Monday.

RAMSBOTTOM UNITED 3 RADCLIFFE FC 0
Harry Williams Riverside Stadium
Bank Holiday Monday 28 August 2017
Evo-Stik North Division
Attendance: 319

The Rams named the same starting eleven and substitutes that were on duty 48 hours earlier.  Indeed it was Radcliffe who started the brighter with two early chances, home keeper Danny Taberner was forced into a smart save as he tipped a well struck effort wide for a corner on five minutes whilst Francis Barry found himself well placed before shooting wide of the target.

These early Radcliffe chances shook the Rams into action as the home side proceeded to get their attacking play going with Greg Daniels testing visiting keeper Haslam with a low shot that was well saved.  Brad Roscoe was cautioned for a rash challenge as this derby game was beginning to look like an open affair.

Perhaps the best chance of the opening exchanges came on 12 minutes when Kyle Brownhill sent in a superb left wing cross which found its way to opposite full back Sam Heathcote who shot clipped the crossbar.  The home side then created a number of presentable opportunities to open the scoring with Max Hazeldine sending a header wide from a Jerome Wright corner before the hugely impressive Wright had a shot cleared off the line as the Rams looked to continue their promising start to the league campaign.

After 21 goalless minutes the deadlock was broken when a long throw from Wright was flicked on by Roscoe to his central defensive partner Luke Thompson who headed past Haslam for his first goal of the season to give the home side a goal their attacking play merited.

This goal appeared to give Ramsbottom added confidence as the hosts looked likely to add to their lead as the first half wore on.  Radcliffe did however battle hard to stay in the contest but again the home side's midfield worked tirelessly to regain the ball and make it difficult for the visitors to create any clear-cut goal scoring opportunities.

Chances continued to be created by the Rams as Daniels had a shot blocked when well placed after an excellent run and cross from Hazeldine down the right wing.  The home sides' three pronged attack of Daniels, Hazeldine and Wright were causing Radcliffe some problems with their movement and fluidity as the game continued towards half time.  One minute into added time a further example of the home sides' attacking prowess resulted in a chance for Hazeldine but visiting keeper Haslam kept out the Rams forward blocking a shot with his legs.

The whistle arrived with the home side leading 1-0 but the feeling amongst the home contingent was that the slender lead perhaps didn't reflect the amount of goal scoring chances the Rams had created.

As both teams emerged for the second half, the same starting elevens took to the field in front of the excellent crowd of 319 at the HWRS.

It should be noted that in the Rams' five games to date this season that there hasn't been more than a one goal difference in the scoreline at any point so as the game restarted both sides had hopes that the afternoons scoring wasn't at an end.

The home side began positively and were rewarded when the second goal duly arrived on 47 minutes when a Jerome Wright corner was met by Sam Heathcote who played a superb header into the top corner of the Radcliffe net to open his account for the Rams and open up a two goal margin for the hosts.

The game appeared to be going the way of the home side as Radcliffe found it difficult to penetrate the Rams rear guard with Taberner having very little to concern him on his home debut for the club.

Ramsbottom replaced the hard working Eddie Moran, who appeared to succumb to injury, with Jamie Rother who took a central midfield berth.  Radcliffe replied with a change of their own as they looked to add another striker to the fold in the hope of getting back into the fixture with Akobeto replacing Tserpes.

Another penetrating run from Hazeldine who was giving Fitton a tough examination at left back for the visitors again crossed dangerously before Wright's scuffed shot was cleared away from danger.

The Rams certainly seemed to be having the bulk of possession without having the comfort of a third goal that would surely finish the match off as a contest, this gave Radcliffe some hope as they continued to look for a way back into the match.

Further chances came for the hosts with both Heathcote and Roscoe having good opportunities to extend the Rams lead without success.

Ben Richardson and Tolani Omotola replaced Hazeldine and Daniels midway through the second half as manager Mark Fell looked to introduce fresh legs, as previously mentioned it was the Rams second game in three days.

Ramsbottom continued to create numerous openings with Rother shooting wide after a superb run and cross from Wright before both Tom Brooks and Richardson spurned presentable chances to increase the lead further.

Saturday's goal scoring hero Omotola was unlucky not to add to his tally when a smart turn and shot beat Haslam before cannoning off the crossbar with 15 minutes remaining.

Finally the third and decisive goal came on 85 minutes when Jerome Wright's right wing corner was met by Richardson who finished from close range to give Wright his second assist of the match and end the match as a contest as the Rams took an assailable 3-0 lead.  It should be noted that Jerome Wright has been directly involved in seven of the Rams' 10 goals this season scoring four and assisting in three goals in his five matches for the club and looks to be a superb addition to the team this season.

In the remaining five minutes of normal time and the extra six added on by the fourth official, the Rams created and missed more chances with Radcliffe's keeper making fine saves to prevent Omotola netting from close range before denying both Heathcote and Wright as the hosts looked to finish the game off in style.

Indeed, Haslam was perhaps fortunate to stay on the field when bringing down the lively Omotola outside of his penalty area when some officials may have deemed him to be the last man but the visiting keeper received a yellow card for his trouble.

As the referee blew the final whistle the Rams faithful celebrated a well-deserved three points and unbeaten start to the league campaign for Mark Fell's charges.  A point of note, although in no way a criticism was that the three Rams goals came from a flick on from a long throw and two corners, given the large amount of chances the team created from open play the final score could and maybe should have been even more convincing.

This was an excellent and enjoyable victory and this result should give the whole club confidence as the Rams sit third in the early league table which makes good reading for Ramsbottom supporters with two consecutive home fixtures on the horizon against Glossop North End and Trafford.

Ramsbottom manager Mark Fell reflected on the victory after the final whistle with the following comments: "Barring the initial 10 minutes, when we struggled to settle - I thought we dominated.  I've banged on about us being more effective at set plays for a while and it was nice to see some of the stuff we've worked on come to fruition.  We spent the majority of the second period camped in their half and perhaps we need to be more clinical but let's not be greedy, it's three valuable points and a very satisfactory start for us in the league.  Tougher tests undoubtedly to come, starting with Glossop on Saturday."

RAMSBOTTOM UNITED team: Taberner, Heathcote, Brownhill, Stott, Thompson, Roscoe, Brooks, Moran (Rother 60mins), Hazeldine (Richardson 68mins), Daniels (Omotola 73mins), Wright.  Subs not used: Pierce, Meaney.

GOAL FOOTAGE (courtesy of Ste Heard)
https://www.facebook.com/RamsbottomUtd/videos/1970697859614358/

MARK FELL INTERVIEW with Christian Hajder of Bolton FM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3Y7d0rO6Hg&t=2s