When Ashton United travelled up to Workington last Saturday, they were on the verge of creating a new club record for a straight run of league victories. At the tenth attempt, that run was thwarted, and someone was going to pay for that disappointment. Up stepped the Rams to the slaughter.
With just 20 minutes left and the game still poised at 0-0, the Rams were denied a clear goal when the referee and linesman between them failed to spot that a Shelton Payne free kick had crossed the line by a good yard. It would be easy to see this misfortune as the turning point in the match but in truth the Rams were second best throughout and the performance as a whole was a step backwards from the promise shown in recent matches.
It took 210 minutes of keenly contested football and 20 penalties, all but the last one converted, to separate two teams that are much more evenly matches than the disparity in league positions might suggest.
When the Rams happily tripped off the pitch on 22 November 2014 finding themselves in fourth place after a comfortable win over a fancied Grantham Town team, few in a crowd of nearly 350 would have put money on it being almost 11 months to the day before they had the pleasure of seeing another Rams home win.
Having won just six league matches throughout the whole of 2015, and just two previously this season, 2016 has begun in much brighter fashion for Ramsbottom United, as within nine days of the New Year starting, they have doubled their tally for the season on the back of two long away trips.
It is very sad to see how far many of the less attractive aspects of football at the senior level, both on and off the pitch, are creeping into the game at semi-professional level. One example is a level disinterest almost amounting to disdain which clubs are showing to cup competitions by fielding below strength teams in front of low crowds.
The Rams were twice in front but never in control of this FA Trophy tie and a reply back at the Harry Williams Riverside Stadium on Tuesday night was a fair outcome.
New Ramsbottom United manager Garry Vaughan began his reign at the Harry Williams Riverside Stadium with a point, although his side left it late to salvage something from a game they felt should have won.
The Rams' New Year started with an impressive away win against Stourbridge, taking a vital 3-2 success from the West Midlands.
A youthful Rams side travelled to mid-table Halesowen Town and came away with an encouraging performance despite going down 2-1.
This was a game the Rams should never have lost so while there will be some considerable comfort to be taken in the evidence of continuing improvement there will also be concern at the failings which saw the points slip away.
A very youthful Rams team, featuring 8 players under the age of 21 ran league leaders Blyth Spartans ragged for the majority of a very open game and could count themselves very unlucky not to post their first win of the season.
A relegation six-pointer against a Stamford side which has recovered from a three goal deficit to grab a point in the reversed fixture earlier in the season, ended with neither side particularly happy as once again it prove to be a point apiece.
The game was the season so far and the prospects for the rest of the season in a microcosm - a display of tremendous potential if this group of players can be kept together but at the same time a demonstration of a continuing inability to maintain an even level of performance or to control and kill off games.
There are two perspectives from which this result can be judged. The first by reference to the score line alone would suggest another heavy defeat for a young lightweight team whose recent form of three unbeaten games going into the match was nothing more than a cruel mirage which disappeared into the mists of reality once the Rams came up against a well organised team.
Finally, thankfully, the curtain has come down on a nightmarish and fretful season marked by another insipid home defeat for the Rams.