Hat-trick Hulme haunts old boys

Ramsbottom United exited the FA Trophy after being defeated by the highest ranked team currently in the competition when they visited Moss Lane on Saturday.

ALTRINCHAM 4 RAMSBOTTOM UNITED 1
Moss Lane, Altrincham
BuildBase FA Trophy Second Qualifying Round
Saturday 11 November 2017
Attendance: 781

The afternoon started in the best possible way for the Rams when with just 90 seconds on the clock, home keeper Thompson's clearance hit the back of his own defender Bembo-Leto before the ball fell to ex-Altrincham player Sam Heathcote who finished superbly with a low shot from the edge of the penalty area to give the visitors the lead.

Indeed this gave the Rams a confidence boost as within the opening ten minutes, Greg Daniels turned well and tested Thompson whilst Luke Thompson headed over from a Daniels corner as the away side started the brighter team with the hosts looking uncertain in defence.

Altrincham began to get a foothold in the contest and the equaliser arrived just after the quarter hour mark when former Ram Jordan Hulme headed in an inswinging corner from Johnston to level matters.

The pattern of the match turned in favour of Altrincham after the goal as visiting keeper Danny Taberner was called into action to make three excellent saves to keep the scores level.

Sadly for the Rams they would suffer at the hands of Hulme again on 34 minutes when another inswinging corner found the forward with time and space before he turned and fired into the top corner of the net to give the home side the advantage.

It was the visitors that ended the half positively when a Heathcote free kick forced Thompson into a smart save low down by the post as the half ended with Ramsbottom trailing 2-1.

With no changes at the interval, it took the hosts less than five minutes to increase their lead as Hulme, who scored 32 goals in 122 appearances for the Rams from 2011 to 2015, and the impressive Johnston exchanged passes before the former shot at goal, the ball taking a wicked deflection before sailing past a helpless Taberner to give Hulme his hat-trick against his former side.

The Rams replaced Rother with Meaney as they looked for a way back into the contest but Altrincham showed why they are top of their league with an authoritative performance throughout the second half while playing some eye catching football with Harrop and Poole particularly impressing.

Heathcote made way for Regan Jarrett for the Rams while hat-trick hero Hulme departed to a rapturous reception from the majority of a healthy crowd as the match had turned into a version of the Ex-Factor with all four goals being scored by former players of their respective teams.

A number of yellow cards punctuated the last quarter of the encounter as Altrincham controlled the majority of the possession impressively.  Home keeper Thompson saw a Phil Dean effort deflected over his crossbar whilst a Jerome Wright shot threatened the home goal as the Rams showed a willingness to battle for each other which is a point of note that shouldn't be ignored.

A fourth goal arrived for the home side with five minutes remaining when a speculative 20-yard shot from Poole found its way through the goalkeepers hands in disappointing fashion.  However, it should be noted that Taberner made numerous superb saves throughout the match without which the scoreline could have been more weighted more in favour of the former Conference side.

As the final whistle sounded, the home side sealed a well deserved victory and progression to the next round of the competition as Ramsbottom United will undoubtedly be looking to improve their league position in the coming weeks.

Rams manager Mark Fell summed up the afternoon. "No arguments for us over the results, on balance they deserved it.  The goals were tough to take, two from set plays which we can defend better, a deflection and a mistake from Tabby (who was otherwise excellent), so when you break them down, we can avoid them all.

"It's a cliche but we can fully focus on climbing the division now, the trophy run has been good, brought some funds into the club and we now need to rectify our league away form and put us back into the mix."

RAMSBOTTOM UNITED: Taberner, Stott, K Brownhill, Moran, Thompson, Roscoe, Dean, Rother (Meaney 52mins), Heathcote (Jarrett 73mins), Daniels, Wright.  Subs not used: Ashburner, Kay, Brooks.

COMING UP:
Saturday 18 November - Evo-Stik North - Bamber Bridge v RAMS (3pm)

FRANK CROOK's PICTURES FROM THE GAME
CLICK HERE!

SAM HEATHCOTE's GOAL CAN BE SEEN HERE (thanks to Elliot Burke)
https://twitter.com/bigburkey92/status/929483590806753281

AND ALL THE GOALS CAN BE VIEWED HERE (courtesy of Alty TV)
https://twitter.com/AltyTV/status/929473301860233217