Yet no luck again for the Rams

Ramsbottom United suffered injury time heartache in an action packed local derby at Colne on Saturday afternoon.

COLNE 1 RAMSBOTTOM UNITED 0
Holt House
Saturday 13 January 2018
Evo-Stik North
Attendance: 291

The visitors made four changes from their home draw with Skelmersdale giving new goalkeeper Sam Ashton his first outing in a Ramsbottom United shirt.  The other changes saw Dean Stott, Ben Richardson and Eddie Moran starting in place of Sam Heathcote, Liam Brownhill and Alex Meaney.

It was Colne that started the contest on the front foot with Knox testing Ashton on five minutes before the Rams replied with a shot of their own after good work from Greg Daniels set up Lee Gaskell whose shot was gathered by Burton in the home goal.

With a quarter of an hour on the clock, a free kick was awarded to the home side after a heavy challenge from Thompson who received a caution for his troubles, the subsequent set piece from Azam was flighted over the wall before striking the post and the rebound was struck wildly over the crossbar.

As the first period continued it was Ramsbottom United that grew into the game and proceeded to create some goalscoring chances with Jerome Wright being heavily involved, firstly hitting the target with a free kick before having a shot blocked when well placed.

A keenly contested fixture was interrupted all too often by the officials whistle as frustrations from both teams began to surface, Colne almost broke the deadlock just before the half hour point when a corner was headed towards goal but was scrambled clear much to the relief of the Rams rearguard.

The game was being played in a good atmosphere but the Rams almost silenced the vociferous home support when Wright again sent a free kick narrowly over the bar whilst moments later some good link up play sent Rother scurrying down the right wing before his inviting cross just evaded the onrushing Gaskell.

With half time approaching the referee spotted an incident believed to be retaliation between Rams midfielder Jamie Rother and a Colne player before pulling out his red card and reducing the visitors to ten men.

The decision incensed the Rams players and bench alike which resulted in manager Mark Fell being sent from the dugout as the half finished on a goalless yet contentious note.

Both teams remained unchanged as the second half began as Colne looked to take advantage of the extra player and had the first attempt of the half as a shot from distance tested Ashton but it was the Rams that looked a threat with Dean and Wright looking to support Gaskell when possible.

With the contest scoreless it looked increasingly likely that one goal would take the points but with an hour gone the Rams were more than holding their own and not content with defending proceeded to look lively on the counter attack.

The home side made a couple of substitutions as they looked to freshen their attack up but it was the visitors that continued to look for the breakthrough but a mixture of good defending and misfortune prevented the Rams from seriously testing Burton in the home goal.

As the clock ticked towards 70 minutes the impressive Dean stung the palms of Burton from distance as the deadlock threatened to be broken.  Colne then responded with a cross which was headed wide of Ashton's post before the Rams introduced some fresh legs with the hard working Gaskell and Daniels being replaced by Sam Heathcote and Alex Meaney respectively.

With the minutes ticking away the home side created a further couple of chances which were cleared away by the Rams defence as they looked to come away with at least a point after a positive second half performance in which the back four and midfield performed exceptionally.

As the 90 minute mark was reached and with half of the four minutes of injury time being played, disaster struck for the Rams as a cross from the left was cleared to the edge of the box before a sweetly struck shot from Morgan gave Ashton no chance and cruelly decided the match in the home teams' favour leaving the Rams searching for their first clean sheet on the road this term.

It was heart breaking for the Rams to concede so late in the match ensuring that for the third match in the last five played that an injury time goal had cost Ramsbottom United valuable points.

It was testament to the performance that anyone who turned up at half time wouldn't have known the Rams were playing the second half with one player less.

As the players trudged wearily from the field, defeat for the ten men was scant reward for an excellent team performance full of effort and team spirit that must give the Rams management, players and supporters hope for the upcoming fixtures.

Manager Mark Fell commented on the game afterwards.  "I'm gutted for the players, they worked themselves into the ground, carved out the games' best chances, looked the better side with 10 men only to be hit in injury time by an excellent strike.

"The game was ruined on 40 minutes, that's all I'll say about it, we'll dust ourselves off Tuesday and prepare for Scarborough at home next week."

RAMSBOTTOM UNITED team: Ashton, Stott, Richardson, Moran, Thompson, Mohammed, Dean, Rother, Gaskell (Heathcote 72mins), Daniels (Meaney 82mins), Wright (Williams 86mins).  Sub not used: Hindley

COMING UP:
Saturday 20th January - Evo-Stik North - RAMS v Scarborough Athletic (3pm)
Tuesday 23rd January - Evo-Stik North - RAMS v Atherton Collieries (7.45pm)

FRANK's PICTURES FROM THE GAME
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