Category: Match Reports

REPORT: Droylsden 2 Rams 3

Evo-Stik West Division

Tuesday 19th March 2019



Report by Jon Haslam

After Saturdays four goal thriller at Chasetown the Rams were back in action on Tuesday night with with a trip to the wonderfully named Butchers Arms to take on a Droylsden outfit for the first of two meetings within a three week period as the season reaches its inevitable exciting conclusion.

Ramsbottom United began the contest showing three changes from the battling point from the weekend visit to Staffordshire with Luke Thompson, Eddie Moran and Ruben Jerome replacing Joel Bembo-Leto, Tom Schofield and Iyrwah Gooden.

The encounter began positively for the away side when with less than five on the watch the visitors made the ideal start and opened the scoring when a threaded through ball from Ruben Jerome picked out the perfectly timed run of Jamie Rainford who broke through the Droylsden offside trap before confidently placing a low shot past the onrushing Thompson to give the Rams the perfect start to an important looking fixture.

After taking such an early lead the confidence began to course through the side as Chris Willcocks men looked assured as they attempted to press home their advantage with a second goal with the Rams playing some slick and attractive football which forced the hosts onto the back foot in the opening twenty minutes.

Shortly after the midway point of the first period Droylsden began to get more of a foothold into the encounter with home forward Sefton Gonzales looking a threat for the Bloods, a quick home breakaway was halted by Kieran Lugsden which resulted in a yellow card for the combative midfielder in a contest which would quickly turn sour for the Lugsden twins.

With the home side beginning to look more of an attacking threat the contest took a potentially decisive twist on 26 minutes when the hosts number ten Oli Ford dispossessed Kelvin Lugsden before setting off towards the Rams penalty area and the retreating defender tangled with the speedy forward which referee Evans deemed to be a red card offence and for the second time game in succession Ramsbottom were down to ten men.

From the resultant free kick Rigby tested Sam Ashton but the visiting custodian was equal to the effort and palmed the stinging effort to safety, almost immediately the Bloods almost levelled when another set piece was launched into the Rams penalty area before being a couple of free headers gave Gonzales a chance but the angular strikers downward header was gathered by Ashton much to the relief of the visiting supporters.

After the sending off of Kelvin Lugsden it was the turn of Kieran to leave the match prematurely when injury ended the midfielders evening early and Tom Schofield entered the fray to play at right back with Ryan Ellison joining the returning Luke Thompson in the centre of defence.

With half an hour played the hosts restored parity when a strong run down the left hand side from Liam Caddick opened up the Rams rearguard before an astute pass found Oli Ford unmarked just inside the penalty area and the forwards well struck low effort flew past Ashton and the scores were level.

The remaining minutes of the opening period saw the visitors fashion a couple of presentable chances to regain the lead when the energetic Jamie Rother tested Thompson with a long range effort before good link up play between Jerome and Evangelinos saw the latter play in Eddie Moran but the schemers well struck effort was again blocked by the hosts number one as the depleted Rams looked to take the initiative in an well contested first half of football which ultimately ended all square at the interval.

With both sides unchanged the contest restarted and the first incident of note was a yellow card for Ruben Jerome for a late challenge just in front of the home bench.

The opening minutes of the second half saw Droylsden create a promising opening when another strong run from the lively Caddick set up the recently arrived substitute Burgess and the somewhat wayward effort not only cleared the crossbar but also the stand roof much to the astonishment of both sets of supporters.

Despite being at a numerical disadvantage Ramsbottom United continued to play their high tempo football and almost re-established the lead when a long ball over the Droylsden defence was seized upon by Jamie Rainford and with the in form striker through one on one the hosts were grateful to their goal keeper Thompson who came out on top as the former Clitheroe number one blocked the well struck effort and a glorious chance to retake the lead had gone begging.

However just prior to the hour mark the Rams retook the lead when good build up play down the left flank allowed raiding full back Tom Kennedy the time to send in a superb cross which picked out the run of the prolific Rainford and a well directed header beat Thompson in the home goal and the striker had his 15th goal in the colours of Ramsbottom United.

The contest continued to have an open feel to it and with the hosts pushing forward looking for an equaliser and utilising the width to positive effect the away side protected Sam Ashton to great effect with central pairing Luke Thompson and Ryan Ellison needing to be at their combative best to retain their sides narrow advantage whilst the threat on the break made it highly likely that the scoring was far from finished.

A flurry of yellow cards were issued by referee Evans before the away day specialists flexed their attacking muscles again when Ruben Jerome stung the palms of Thompson from the edge of the penalty box.

Then with a fraction less than fifteen minutes remaining the Rams surrendered their advantage when good build up play down the right wing allowed the Bloods leading scorer Gonzales a sight of goal and somehow the forwards low effort found its way past Ashton before trickling into the back of the net and after battling against the odds there was a feeling of deja vu after Chasetowns late leveller just days earlier.

Despite the setback the visitors responded in a predictably confident manner and a rasping effort from leading marksman Evangelinos forced Thompson to acrobatically tip over his crossbar showed that Chris Willcocks outfit were far from content to accept a point. Then with just over ten minutes to play Jason Carey replaced Ruben Jerome and almost made an immediate impact when a through ball almost set the attacker through on goal but resolute defending kept the score line all square.

As an enthralling match entered the final minutes both sides pushed forward looking to strike the decisive blow and when a through ball caught the Rams defence out and with Sam Ashton stranded outside of his penalty area a winning goal looked inevitable but the hosts spurned the opportunity to secure the three points when an effort from distance looked to be rolling towards an unguarded net but much to the relief of the away side the ball tickled narrowly wide of the target.

Then with only little over a minute of additional time remaining substitute Carey picked up the ball on the right hand side of the pitch before driving towards the Droylsden penalty box where a superbly drilled cross along the six yard line found the perfectly timed run of Evangelinos whose first time finish won the contest for the Rams with a low effort that fizzed past Thompson to set off wild celebrations for all connected with the Rams, shortly afterwards the final whistle blew and a vital three points had been plundered in difficult circumstances which demonstrated the squads undeniable togetherness.

Incidentally this was the fifteenth time in the last twenty two league games under the current management team that the Rams had scored two or more goals which shows the progress the team has made in the five months since the arrival of Chris Willcock.

As was the case on Saturday the Rams had to compete for a large amount of the match with one man less but again Chris Willcock continued his positive approach by leaving all three forward players on the field when plenty of other managers may have chosen to introduce an extra midfield player at the expense of an attacking one in the hope of stifling the opposition and credit should be given that the brave decision was instrumental in Ramsbottom United collecting a well deserved three points in their promotion push.

Ramsbottom United:- Ashton, Kennedy, Ellison, Moran, Thompson, Kelvin Lugsden, Jerome (Carey 79 mins), Rother, Rainford, Kieran Lugsden (Schofield 32 mins), Evangelinos

Unused Subs- Donaldson, Bembo-Leta, Latham (GK)

Category: Club News

PREVIEW: Chasetown (A)

Ramsbottom United make the long journey down the M6 to the west Midlands for their first ever visit to Chasetown as the race for promotion hots up.

Trailing leaders Atherton Colls by nine points, but with a game in hand, three points are essential if the Rams are to continue their push for automatic promotion with just one place available. Otherwise, it’s into the lottery of the end-of-season play-offs, which in themselves are proving a fascinating contest.

Currently sitting in fourth spot, things have changed dramatically since the reverse fixture back in early October.

This was Chris Willcock’s first game in charge following his appointment four days earlier. At that time, the team were in the bottom half of the table and the visit from Chasetown probably answered a few of his early questions. Racing into a two goal lead during a first half that the home side dominated, the Rams were pegged back and had to settle for a 2-2 draw having been under considerable pressure during the second period.

Much, of course, has changed since those early autumn times, and Chasetown currently find themselves in 14th place with 35 points gained from their 30 games. 18 of these have been gathered at home with 4 wins and 6 draws.

As for the Rams, those two disappointing home reversals were put to bed last week with a hard-earned but much-deserved 2-1 win at Clitheroe in the same sort of miserable conditions expected in the midlands tomorrow.

It’s a long journey for the fans, but hopefully a good number will make the trip to encourage the team to return home with all 3 points.

Category: Club News

PREVIEW: Clitheroe (A)

The Rams make the short hop up the road to east Lancashire rivals Clitheroe for what is usually a goal-fest between the two old foes.

Earlier in the season before the arrival of Chris Willcock, the Rams came back from 3-1 down to grab a point in a 3-3 thriller, whilst recent games at Shawbridge have also seen the net bulge on many occasions.

Alas, of late, visits there have not been productive for a Ramsbottom team. Last year the home side grabbed all the points courtesy of a 4-3 win whilst the year before, an incident-packed match which focussed around the referee, saw the visitors troop home on the back of a 4-0 hammering.

Indeed, we need to go back to the promotion season of 2013/14 for our last win in Clitheroe courtesy of another game that produced six goals, this time in favour of the Rams 4-2.

Traditionally a team near the top of the league, this season has been a disappointment for Clitheroe.

Not helped by the news that Chair Anne Barker is to step down at the end of this campaign, results on the pitch have been poor. Just two home wins all season, with eleven home defeats, they find themselves in 18th position with 23 points, just four points ahead of Kendal Town in the second relegation spot.

The Rams, by comparison sit in sixth with 51 points, and ready to pounce on any slip-up by the teams ahead of them.

The visitors will also be looking to put a disappointing couple of home defeats behind them, and continue the excellent away form since Willcock’s arrival in October, which sees them still undefeated on the road in League games.

A healthy following of Rams supporters is expected for a game where victory is crucial to keep the team in touch with the other promotion hopefuls.

Category: Club News

PREVIEW: Droylsden (A)

As the season rapidly approaches the finale, just eight games remain, two of which are against local rivals Droylsden.

The first takes place on Tuesday at the Butchers Arms, and a healthy following of Rammy supporters will hopefully encourage the side to return up the M66 with all three points if the promotion challenge is to continue.

Eight points away from League leaders Atherton Colls appears to be a formidable challenge, but this team will not give up the fight until the play-offs become a more realistic route to Evo-Stik Premier.

Former top level side Droylsden have had a mediocre season lying in 13th position with 37 points from their 29 games, but have a better home record of 6 wins against 4 on the road.

Dave Pace’s team usually provide stern opposition, and nothing less will be expected as the Rams look to continue their unbeaten league record on the road under Chris Willcock.

They will still be hurting after failing to see the game out at Chasetown on Saturday when they played most of the 90 minutes with just ten men following the early dismissal of Ryan Ellison.

A late goal stole two precious points from the Rams, so a three point haul is essential in east Manchester in what will hopefully be a more pleasant evening weather-wise, than we have experienced just lately, which left a quarter of the HWRS ground covered by water on Saturday.

It’s tough at the top and a good run-in should see the Rams finish in at least a play-off spot, but football can be unpredictable, and the last six weeks of the season promises to be well worth keeping an eye on.

Category: Match Reports

REPORT: Rams 0 Widnes 1




Attendance 147

Report by Aaron Benson

Ramsbottom suffered back to back home defeats as they were beaten 1-0 by a resolute Widnes side on a frustrating afternoon in front of goal for Chris Willcock’s side.

Three changes were made to the team beaten by Colne the previous game. Ryan Ellison was recalled to the side along with Anthony Donaldson and Jason Carey whilst Kieran and Kelvin Lugsden dropped to the bench. Jamie Rainford was unavailable.

Having excelled at times under Willcock this season, the opening 45 minutes will be easily forgotten as few clear cut chances were created.

It took till the 20th minute for an attempt on goal, that coming from Kyle Jacobs. The Rams right back cut inside from the right to unleash a shot yet Widnes keeper Owen Wheeler matched the attempt with a well-drawn save. Midfielder Eddie Moran looked to build on the early momentum built by Jacobs, however the number four could only fire wide of the post.

Then in the 25th minute Jason Carey tried his look on the visiting goal, misfiring his shot wide of the post before from the following move, his latest attempt with a header failed to test Wheeler who was kept quiet during the first half.

Despite the home side enjoying the lion’s share of possession, Widnes had the best chance of the half. A Michael Grogan through ball found striker Ben Hodkinson, yet Sam Ashton kept the scoreline goalless with a brilliant double save. Widnes did put the ball over the line, but a handball in Ramsbottom's favour meant the sides went into half time with the scoreline level.

Rammy came out firing in the second half and should have taken the lead in the 59th minute. A Jamie Rother cutback found Nic Evangelinos who saw his first effort blocked before drilling his second attempt wide of the post.

Rammy’s best chance came through striker Carey. Through on goal his effort failed to hit the target in a real let off for the visitors defence.

And Rammy were made to pay shortly after as Widnes took the lead in the seventy fourth minute. A defensive mix-up at the back led to Widnes striker Hodkinson intercepting the misplaced pass then followed up with a smart finish that beat Ashton at the far post.

Ramsbottom responded in strong fashion, but were left with a ‘what might have been feeling’ by the time referee Carl Rooney had blown the whistle for full time. Tom Kennedy tried his luck with a free kick and Ruben Jerome saw a header cleared off the line. With time ticking by, Evangelinos again blazed an effort over the bar before a last ditch Widnes challenge denied Jerome an equaliser which on the balance of play, the home side probably deserved.

Instead Rammy fell to another defeat and manager Willcock was not best pleased with his fourth league defeat as boss, all of which have come at home.

‘I thought first half we created one or two decent half chances when in previous games we would have taken them. Second half we upped the tempo and put the pressure on. Then they cleared a couple of chances off the line too.

‘But second half our quality was lacking at times, we rushed things far too often when another pass was needed’.

Defeats since Willcock’s arrival have been a rarity and the manager was not overly worried with the results of the past two games.

‘The lads were looking forward to the game today, ready to go out there and play. Next Saturday we go to Clitheroe, this is not a crisis of any sorts.

‘To be in with a shot at promotion the lads have done really well just to get to this point. All the other teams up there have had a three month start over us.

‘We’ve had a couple of defeats that’s all. But if we want to win next Saturday we’ll have to play a bit better in order to win. We’ll have two good training sessions this week. It’s all about winning and if we can, do it in style’.

Ramsbottom United team vs Widnes:- Ashton, Kennedy, Jacobs, Moran, Thompson, Ellison, Carey, Rother (Kieran Lugsden 70’), Jerome,Donaldson(Kelvin Lugsden 70’), Evangelinos

Unused Subs: Osi-Efa, Bembo-Leta, Schofield

Category: Match Reports

REPORT: Rams 1 Colne 3

Evo-Stik West Division

Tuesday 26th February 2019



Report by Jon Haslam

Two form sides went head to head on Tuesday night as Colne visited the HWRS hoping to halt the Rams' recent exemplary progress which showed five consecutive league victories and no goals conceded in over 480 minutes,

With an unchanged line up for the hosts from Saturdays comprehensive victory at Trafford hopes were high that a positive result would take the hosts into the top three.

However it would be the visitors that began the contest in lively fashion with midfielders Bradley Lynch, Alex Curran and Josh Hines in the midfield areas causing some concern to the home sides defence supplementing the burly Djabi who appeared to be the focal point of the away sides attacking plans.

Colne almost took the lead on seven minutes when a good advantage from the referee set Curran away down the left hand side before firing a shot on target but Sam Ashton parried the ball wide, the subsequent corner was played to the far post where former Rams defender Billy Priestley had a header blocked on the line as the visitors threatened to break the deadlock early in the match.

With just over a quarter of an hour played Colne opened the scoring and it was no more than the away side deserved when forward Djabi held up the ball before releasing the speedy Lynch towards the Rams penalty box where a well struck shot brought another fine save from Ashton but the loose ball fell to Curran whose well placed diagonal shot nestled into the bottom corner of the net.

Ramsbottom United responded to conceding their first league goal since the 5th of January with Evangelinos having an effort which flew over the bar before a Tom Kennedy cross found the head of the unmarked Kieran Lugsden but the attempt sailed wide of the target as the hosts sought a quick reply.

With 25 minutes played Colne doubled their advantage when in similar fashion to the first goal a breakaway lead to Ashton saving a well struck shot from Curran before picking up the rebound and setting up the unmarked ex Bury midfielder Richie Baker who tapped into a gaping net to give the Rams an uphill task.

Sadly things would get even worse for the Rams with less than a third of the contest played when a defensive mix up in the full back area was seized upon by Waqas Azam who passed to Hines before the winger strode through the hosts defence and confidently despatched the shot past the bewildered Ashton to give Colne a sizeable three goal lead just after the thirty minute point of the match.

With the Rams appearing somewhat shell shocked the side looked to reduce the arrears before half time with Lugsden again getting his head to a Kennedy free kick but Burton in the visitors goal wasn't concerned as the effort flew off target.

As the first period came to a close even the most ardent Ramsbottom United supporter would have found it difficult to argue with the fact that Colne were the better of the two sides and in truth the three goal advantage didn't really flatter the visitors as the Rams struggled to reach the form that had seen them reach a play off position due to some excellent performances of late.

Perhaps surprisingly the hosts returned after the half time interval unchanged, although the team were sent out early from their half time break undoubtedly with some strong words ringing in their ears from manager Chris Willcock who would have been hoping for a much improved second half showing from his charges.

The second period began with the Rams showing some desire to reduce the arrears as they sought to put the a disappointing 45 minutes behind them. With no alteration to the scoreline ten minutes into the second half the hosts made a double substitution with Anthony Donaldson and Ryan Ellison replacing Eddie Moran and Kelvin Lugsden in the hope of sparking a revival for the out of sorts home outfit.

As the hour mark approached, substitute Donaldson played a neat exchange of passes on the edge of the penalty area before the midfielder found himself behind the Colne defence and in in goal but couldn't get a clean shot away and despite some panic in the visiting defence and with the ball bobbling goalwards a retreating Priestley scrambled the ball off the line to retain the three goal advantage their devastating first half hour had provided.

The more the minutes ticked by the more it appeared as though it would just be one of those nights for the hosts as an effort from Jamie Rother fizzed just wide of the target before Colne threatened to extend their advantage further when the hugely impressive Lynch cut in from the left wing and sent an effort arrowing wide of the goal with Ashton motionless.

Ramsbottom United continued to push forward looking to register their first goal of the evening but the Colne defence was in stubborn mood and despite the hosts having the majority of the attacking possession in the second half they rarely threatened visiting custodian Burton.

The final change for the Rams saw midfielder Jamie Rother make way for Khalil Osi-Efa around the three quarter mark of the contest but in truth Colne were managing the lead fairly comfortably as despite the home sides efforts it became clear that it would be one of those evenings best forgotten as the raucous away supporters continued to enjoy the local bragging rights as their sides third consecutive victory at The Riverside in the last three seasons looked probable.

With ten minutes of the contest remaining Ramsbottom did get on the scoresheet when fine work from Anthony Donaldson gave the creative midfielder the chance to play the ball in the penalty area where a series of shots were blocked by the Colne rearguard before the ball fell kindly to Nic Evangelinos whose low shot beat Burton in the Colne goal to give the in form winger his 20th strike of a very productive season.

Sadly the late goal didn't spark a spectacular comeback from the Rams and despite Colne surrendering the majority of possession in the second period credit should be given to the visitors as they managed their lead efficiently whilst sporadically threatening to extend their advantage on the counter attack with the pacey forward line a constant source of irritatation for the usually solid Rams defence.

With time trickling away Burton was forced into a diving save to deny Ruben Jerome before the final noteworthy attempt of the match was a 20 yard attempt from Evangelinos which just cleared the crossbar but as the final whistle sounded the Rams had succumbed to only their third league defeat in 18 league outings under Chris Willcock and will be looking for a positive reaction to a disappointing evening when Widnes visit the HWRS on Saturday afternoon.

Ramsbottom United:- Ashton, Kennedy, Jacobs, Moran (Donaldson 53 mins ) Thompson, Kelvin Lugsden (Ellison 54 mins), Rainford, Rother (Osi-Efa 66 mins), Jerome, Kieran Lugsden, Evangelinos

Unused Subs- Gooden, Carey

Category: Match Reports

REPORT: Clitheroe 1 Rams 2

Evo-Stik West Division

Saturday 9th March 2019


Attendance: 291

Report by Adam Clark

If there was a game to have goals in it. It would be this one, The last 5 meetings between these clubs have produced 23 goals an average of just over 4 goals a game but today’s game wasn’t the case with only 3 goals in it.

The Rams made 5 changes from the team that lost 1-0 at home to Widnes last week, Luke Thompson, Anthony Donaldson, Eddie Moran, Jamie Rother & Ruben Jerome all dropped out. Kelvin Lugsden, Jamie Rainford, Joel Bembo-Leta, Tom Schofield & Kieran Lugsden all came into the starting eleven

The hosts made 3 changes from there team that lost 3-0 to Chasetown last Saturday, Jordyn Fitton, Andreas Bianga & Harry Pratt dropped out & Ryan Botell, George West & Jacob Gregory came in.

The first shot for the Rams came in the opening minutes, Tom Schofield took a chance from the edge of the area but it was easily saved by Clitheroe keeper Ben Purdham.

Schofield had another chance 11 minutes later when he headed a Tom Kennedy corner just wide of the right-hand post.

Clitheroe had there first set piece on 19 minutes when they had a free kick just inside the Rammy half but as the ball floated into the box referee Michael Herzog spotted a foul on a Rams defender.

The Rams were knocking on the door for a goal within the first 30 minutes, Evangelinos could have had a hat trick, two of his previous shots went over the bar but this one on 29 minutes was saved easily by Clitheroe’s keeper.

The Rams finally got their breakthrough on 36 minutes when Jamie Rainford broke the deadlock with a close-range shot after he brought it down well in the area to put the Rams 1-0 up.

Clitheroe were back on level terms within 3 minutes, former Ram Max Hazeldine looped the ball over the head of Sam Ashton from around 12 yards out.

Nothing much happened in the final five minutes of the first half, Tom Kennedy had a free kick easily saved and both teams went in level at the break.

HALF TIME: Clitheroe 1 Rams 1

Clitheroe had a free kick within the opening three minutes of the first half, it was well saved by Ashton but the Clitheroe attacker was offside.

Antonie Reizac wanted a penalty just two minutes later but his appeals were turned down by the referee.

The Rams got back in front on 56 minutes when Jamie Rainford got his brace, his shot came from just outside the box and into the bottom corner.

The Rams made the first sub on 61 minutes, Kyle Jacobs came off for Eddie Moran & shortly after that the second sub was made Jason Carey came off in place of Ruben Jerome.

The Rams nearly had a chance to put themselves 3-1 up when the referee gave a penalty for a handball against Michael Wilson but then the referee & his assistant had a discussion on the touchline and it was deemed a Ramsbottom attacker was offside as the ball travelled into the box.

Jamie Rainford went for his hat-trick, four minutes from time but his shot was just wide.

Nothing to note happened in additional time apart from a Tom Kennedy booking for a late foul on Clitheroe sub Harry Blackburn.

The Rams could head back across Lancashire with all 3 points and moving up two places to 4th in the Evo Stik West Division.

FULL TIME: Clitheroe 1 Rams 2

Rams boss Chris Willcock said post-match that “I was pleased, we've got back to winning ways after a couple of defeats, I thought overall the in first half we generally controlled the game, created some good half chances, we look a threat from set pieces & we were pleased to get our noses in front and I was then hoping for us to kick on"

“Second half we came out and the conditions played quite a part today it was a stiff breeze, both teams found it difficult to get out and play some decent football, I thought the pitch let us down at times when we got ourselves into good areas, but obviously they made a mistake and Rainford does what he’s been doing well over his career and gets a brace which is pleasing and we come away with the points which overall we thoroughly deserved

Full reaction page is avalible at the top of this page

Rams: Ashton, Kennedy, Jacobs (Moran 63’), Bembo-Leta, Ellison, Kelvin Lugsden, Carey (Jerome 66’), Schofield, Rainford, Kieran Lugsden,Evangelinos

Unused Subs: Rother, Donaldson & Osi-Efa

Category: Club News

PHOTOS: Rams 0 Widnes 1

Photos from today's 1-0 loss at home to Widnes, taken by club photographer Frank Crook.
Category: Club News

PREVIEW: Colne (H)

The trip to Trafford on Saturday saw the Rams return with another well-earned three points, lifting them into the play-off positions.

That makes it five successive League victories with an amazing total scoreline of 22 for and 0 against.

This run is certain to be tested in this east Lancashire derby when Colne come to town looking to do the double over a Rams side that lost 1-0 in the reverse fixture during the first week of the season.

That game was under the guidance of former manager Mark Fell and much has changed since those early days.

The Rams squad is massively different, but Colne under the management of long-standing Steve Cunningham, are a team sure to give the home side a massive test, as games between the two over recent years have served up some tasty treats.

The League is so competitive this season, it’s almost impossible to predict the outcome, but the Rams are currently nine points adrift of leaders Atherton Collieries, but do have two games in hand. This is one of those, and three more points will significantly close that gap as the next two months offer much to be optimistic about.

There will be twists and turns between now and the end of April, and Ramsbottom United need to continue with their current form to stand a chance of that single automatic promotion spot.

Gates have started to increase, and the supporters, in fine vocal form of late, can do much to encourage the team to continue with the magnificent run.

Should be quite a test against Colne.

Category: Match Reports

REPORT: Chasetown 2 Rams 2

Evo-Stik West Division

Saturday 16th March 2019



Report by Jon Haslam

Ramsbottom United headed for Staffordshire on Saturday afternoon with three important play off points on offer as a number of their promotion rivals were not in action due to the inclement weather.

Hosts Chasetown were the opponents in Chris Willcocks first match in charge for the Rams back in early October at The Riverside which ended with the honours even as the teams shared four goals.

As the match kicked in blustery conditions the visitors showed two changes from the victory seven days ago with Iyrwah Gooden and Jamie Rother replacing Jason Carey and Kyle Jacobs respectively on their first ever visit to Chasetown..

The first ten minutes were fairly even with both sides looking threatening down the flanks but neither goalkeeper had cause for concern in the opening exchanges.

Then,with a dozen minutes played a potentially match changing incident occurred when an aerial challenge on the half way line involving right full back Ryan Ellison ended with left back Callum Cockerill-Mollet writhing in agony and referee Brown decreed that that the incident deserved a red card and the Rams were down to ten men for the remainder of the contest.

Despite being a man light the visitors reorganised with Kieran Lugsden filling in at right back and it was the day trippers who almost broke the deadlock when Nic Evangelinos sent in a cross from the left flank which married up perfectly with the run of Tom Schofield and a well directed header from 8 yards out brought a fine finger tipped save from Pond in the home goal.

Minutes later the Rams created another opportunity when a raid down the right hand gave Jamie Rainford the chance to find the head of the marauding Jamie Rother but again Pond plunged down low to deny the visitors the opener.

With twenty goalless minutes played Chasetown threatened to open the scoring but a wayward attempt sailed wide of the target after good work down the left flank from the home side caused the first real moment of concern for the visitors.

Then midway through the half disaster struck for Ramsbottom United when a long ball forward was dealt with by Joel Bembo-Leto who played the ball backwards towards keeper Sam Ashton but as home forward Tom Hill chased down the back pass and as the Rams stopper stumbled on the edge of his own penalty area this left the Chasetown front man with a clear run on goal and with great delight rolled the ball into a gaping net to put the hosts a goal to the good.

A point worthy of mention is that the strike from Chasetown was the first time Chris Willcocks outfit had been behind in an away league game since the Widnes fixture back on the 9th October.

The Rams quickly made an adjustment with recognised full back Kyle Jacobs entering the fray at the expense of the unfortunate Tom Schofield with Kieran Lugsden returning to his more familiar midfield role.

Despite trailing and being down to ten men the visitors continued to create some goal scoring chances with Jamie Rother sending a well placed cross onto the head of Iyrwah Gooden but The Scholars shot stopper Pond was again called into action to preserve the hosts advantage.

Chasetown almost doubled their goal tally around the half hour point when a squall of pressure resulted in Tom Kennedy clearing a goal bound shot off the line and when the ball was cleared to the edge of the penalty area a well struck shot flew wide of the target as the home side looked to continue their recent good run of three consecutive victories.

Parity was almost restored ten minutes before the interval when a Tom Kennedy free kick was headed down to an unmarked Jamie Rainford whose well executed finish appeared to have put the away side on level terms but the sight of the linesman's flag being held aloft brought the celebrations to an abrupt end which had the travelling Rams supporters wondering if this was beginning to look like "one of those days". Even the elements appeared to take a turn for the worst when the windy conditions gave way to driving rain which did little to improve the mood of the loyal band of supporters from Lancashire.

As regular viewers of Ramsbottom United games will testify to this squad is made of stern stuff and despite events appearing to conspire against them the equaliser deservedly arrived with just four minutes of the half remaining when Iyrwah Gooden found himself behind his opposing full back before sending in a pinpoint cross from the right hand side along the six yard box to the unmarked goal poacher Jamie Rainford who gleefully tapped into an unguarded net to register his 13th goal in thirteen starts and again prove what an excellent acquisition the forward has been for the Rams.

As the half time whistle sounded an incident packed first half concluded with honours even and hopes were high that the second period would provide the same level of entertainment for the hardy souls braving the miserable weather at the picturesque Scholars Ground Stadium.

With both teams unchanged the second half began at a frantic pace with the hosts looking to take advantage of the extra player by utilising the wings and attempting to stretch the play at every opportunity whilst the day trippers looked to play positively when any attacking opportunities presented themselves.

As the rain continued to fall at an ever increasing rate neither side seriously tested the opposing keeper until around the hour mark when a break by the Rams found Nic Evangelinos tight to the goal line and as the ball was smuggled to Iyrwah Gooden the wide man was unceremoniously scythed down from behind by home skipper Wynter and referee Brown had no choice but to point to the penalty spot.

After a pause in proceedings as the bruised Gooden received some treatment up stepped leading scorer Nic Evangelinos to send the home keeper Pond the wrong way with a well struck effort from twelve yards that signalled the 50th league goal scored under the stewardship of manager Chris Willcock and the ten men had shown unbelievable tenacity to come from a goal down with one player less to take the lead as the Rams sought their tenth consecutive away league win.

Sadly Gooden could not shake off the injury and had to be replaced by Ruben Jerome as Chris Willcock continued with the now familiar positive approach which has seen the away day specialists unbeaten away from the Riverside in league fixtures since mid September.

Chasetown responded with a double substitution of their own as they looked for a way back into the contest although excellent work down the left flank gave Tom Kennedy the chance to find the head of the recently arrived substitute Ruben Jerome but the strikers header was comfortably gathered by the hosts stopper Pond.

With time ebbing away the remaining quarter of an hour consisted of the home side pushing forward with ever increasing desperation which gave the Rams the chance to counter attack as Chasetown committed more and more players forward in search of an equalising goal.

As the conditions worsened and the pitch became heavier by the minute the hosts continued to attack the Rams goal but some resolute defending and wayward finishing kept the away side in front and most neutral observers may have found it difficult to believe that the visitors had been playing for more than 75 minutes with ten men.

The hosts created and missed a series of chances with the ever present Sam Ashton forced to pull off a number of fine saves, one in particular stands out with ten minutes remaining when a 20 yard effort from Langston brought a flying save from the Rams keeper.

The hosts attacking momentum lead to a flurry of corners which kept the visiting defence under duress whilst only desperate defending at tge other end of the field prevented the Rams from adding to their tally when both Jerome and Rainford almost fashioned a match clinching third goal for the away team on a breakaway.

Unfortunately and with only a minute of the ninety remaining Chasetowns pressure finally found a way through the visitors rearguard and broke Ramsbottom United hearts when despite their a number of attempts the Rams couldn't clear the danger and the hosts took advantage by keeping the ball alive in and around the penalty area before the ball fell kindly to the home sides central defender Askey and his low drive flew past Ashton and into the corner of the goal to equalise late in the game.

Both sides pushed forward looking for the decisive fifth goal but without success and as an entertaining encounter came to an end the scoreline from the meeting earlier in the season had been repeated.

The Rams took their unbeaten away league matches to an impressive twelve and again showed their team spirit and fortitude to come away with a well earned point in testing circumstances whilst perhaps feeling slightly frustrated that their trip back up the M6 could easily have garnered a further two points in the search for one of the promotion berths come the end of the season.

Ramsbottom United:- Ashton, Kennedy, Ellison (Sent off 12 minutes), Rother, Bembo-Leto, Kelvin Lugsden,, Gooden (Jerome 64 mins), Schofield (Jacobs 27 mins), Rainford, Kieran Lugsden, Evangelinos

Unused Subs- Moran,Donaldson Carey

Category: Club News

REACTION: Chris Willcock on today's 2-1 win vs Clitheroe

Rams boss Chris Willcock said post-match that “I was pleased, we've got back to winning ways after a couple of defeats, I thought overall the in first half we generally controlled the game, created some good half chances, we look a threat from set pieces & we were pleased to get our noses in front and I was then hoping for us to kick on"

“Second half we came out and the conditions played quite apart today it was a stiff breeze, both teams found it difficult to get out and play some decent football, I thought the pitch let us down at times when we got ourselves into good areas, but obviously they made a mistake and Rainford does what he’s been doing well over his career and gets a brace which is pleasing and we come away with the points which overall we thoroughly deserved"

"I think the team needed a freshen up, it's the most changes we've made since I've been at the football club, I thought the lads that came in did well, I thought off the back of that the lads responded well, the most pleasing thing is that the lads who were left out & who came on also responded in the right manner and that's what it's all about, all of us being together, we've been hurting for the last week or so with the results, they've trained exceptionally well this week & we are pleased to get back to winning ways and we will kick on and work hard next week and look forward to travelling down to Chasetown"

On Irwyah Gooden; "We've extended his loan till the end of the season, he's in a particular point of his career at Mansfield where he's playing for a professional contract, he was going to be available for us today but he's tweaked his groin in training on Friday at Mansfield which unfortunately he was in the squad today but you know between ourselves and Mansfield we are in conversation with them as to when to use him and when to not, he's waiting for a decision on his career and whether he's going to get a pro contract or not and at the moment that's his priority but whatever decision is made on the lad whether he gets a pro contract or he doesn't he'll be a Ramsbottom player between now and the end of the season"

On Chasetown: "Well, I think he's changed a lot round since we played them in my first game as manager, they put us under a lot of pressure from set pieces, they had a guy who had a long throw and they were hurling it in from the halfway line and you know on that day they made it difficult for us, we know they are in good form at the moment, and we know from our point of view we are after back to back wins, the lads can take good confidence from today's game and we will go in there to upset the form table"

Category: Club News

PREVIEW: Widnes (H)

It’s a quick return to action after the disappointing end to the excellent League run on Tuesday night, although Colne’s record at the HWRS over the last three years has now seen them return home on the back of three successive victories, so the 3-1 defeat may not have been quite the shock we thought.

So it’s back to the Riverside for another chance of three more points in what is becoming a fascinating race for promotion.

League newcomers Widnes provide the opposition, and having gained promotion last year from the NWCFL, they have acquitted themselves well, despite having to play the majority of their home games out of town at Barnton near Northwich whilst a new pitch was laid at the Halton Stadium.

That would probably account for the fact that their away record is infinitely superior to their “home” one, as 22 of their 34 points have been gathered on the road.

In Chris’s first away game back in October, we came behind to grab a point at Barnton, but all three points will be the target after the midweek blip, and I have no doubt the management and players will be all out to prove that a blip it was indeed.

There are no injuries or suspensions in the squad, with the exception of long-term absentee Nialle Rodney, so having stuck with the same line-up for the Colne game as the one that won handsomely at Trafford last Saturday, it will be interesting to see if there is any rotation to the starting eleven.

The season is now in the last two months, with 33 points still on offer.

Three points against a Widnes side who will arrive with confidence, would be a welcome reward for an afternoon when entertaining football is almost a guarantee.

Category: Match Reports

REPORT: Trafford 0 Rams 4

Evo-Stik West Division

Saturday 23th February 2019



Report by Jon Haslam

On a Spring like Saturday afternoon Ramsbottom United returned to Shawe View, the venue of the first victory under the management of Chris Willcock, a 2-1 FA Trophy win back in mid October which was the beginning of a never to be forgotten run in the competition for all connected with the Rams.

After Tuesday nights resounding six nil triumph at Newcastle Town the visitors showed three changes to their starting line up with Jamie Rother, Kieran Lugsden and Ruben Jerome replacing Khalil Osi-Efa, Tom Schofield and Iyrwah Gooden.

With hosts Trafford tucked in eighth position prior to kick off a closely fought encounter was predicted on an impressive looking surface which from the sidelines appeared conducive to good football. Indeed the opening exchanges began in lively fashion with the first chance of the match falling to the visitors when hotshot Jamie Rainford received a pass from Nic Evangelinos before his goal bound effort was blocked by the home defence but served notice that the day trippers were determined to continue their exceptional recent form.

Trafford replied in kind with an opening foray forward down the right wing which resulted in a effort which bobbled wide of Sam Ashtons goal from ex Ramsbottom forward Danny Wilkins.

After an opening ten minutes which could best be described as hard fought the first moment of note arrived when a mix up in the visitors defence allowed home wideman Liam Ellis to almost capitalise on some unusually hesitant defending and as the Trafford player looked to have nicked the ball round the onrushing Ashton before going to ground there was a collective holding of breath from the Ramsbottom contingent but thankfully referee Porter decreed that the hosts number eleven hadn't won a penalty for his side and issued a yellow card for simulation.

Whilst there was plenty of endeavour from both teams the respective goalkeepers were relatively untroubled as the half wore on but the Rams perhaps looked the most likely to make the breakthrough but couldn't quite click from an attacking perspective and at the thirty minute point the game was goalless.

With half time less than ten minutes away Ramsbottom United struck the opening goal of the contest when some excellent link up play down the right wing between Rainford and full back Kyle Jacobs which lead to the latter finding some space to send in an inviting cross to the far post which landed perfectly into the path of the clubs leading scorer Nic Evangelinos who beat Cooper in the Trafford goal with a low shot to register his nineteenth goal of a hugely impressive season

Four minutes later and the advantage would be doubled when livewire Evangelinos was tripped just outside the penalty area, up stepped free kick expert and former Bury and Rochdale full back Tom Kennedy to send a sweetly struck left footed effort from 20 yards out which perfectly evaded the defensive wall before beating the diving Cooper and finding the top corner of the net to send the away supporters into raptures as their favourites took a lead they ultimately wouldn't surrender.

The two quickfire goals in a four minute period had given the visitors the upper hand but Trafford looked to respond immediately when a corner on the stroke of half time almost halved the deficit but the free header sailed wide of the target to serve notice that the Ramsbottom rear guard would need to be at their resolute best to keep the hosts at bay. The last action of the first period saw Jamie Rainford burst through towards the edge of the Trafford area before firing wide of the target but as the referee blew for half time the Rams held a warranted two goal lead.

After the interval the visitors who were coursing with confidence almost increased their advantage further when a bustling run from Ruben Jerome took the forward inside the Trafford penalty area before a low shot was tipped wide of the target by Cooper as the away side looked to put the result beyond question.

With Ramsbottom United two goals to the good the opening fifteen minutes of the second half were played out without much incident and with goalscoring chances at a premium for both sides the visitors were doing a professional job of protecting their advantage restricting Trafford to a well worked move down the left which resulted in a scuffed effort that Sam Ashton easily dealt with.

As the contest reached the three quarters mark the away side made their first alteration of the contest when Iyrwah Gooden entered the fray at the expense of Ruben Jerome with Jamie Rainford moving to a more familiar central striking role. Shortly after the change hearts were fluttering somewhat in the visitors ranks when Sam Ashton came hurtling out of his penalty area to clear up an overhit through ball from the hosts and as the goalkeeper was in unfamiliar territory his clearance only found a white shirted Trafford player who sent a shot goalwards but the recovering Rams defenders spared any potential blushes for their keeper and shepherded the ball to safety.

After that warning the Rams set about ensuring that their afternoon would be a fruitful one as they created a couple of presentable opportunities with perhaps the best falling to midfield dynamo Jamie Rother who, after a corner had been cleared to the edge of the Trafford penalty area fired in a shot which evaded the onrushing defenders before narrowly missing the target.

With a sense of symmetry Ramsbottom United would strike with precision twice in a four minute period for the second time in the encounter to put the result beyond any doubt, firstly on 73 minutes a threaded pass from the aforementioned Rother found Jamie Rainford who twisted one way and then the other before slaloming past two defenders and entering the penalty box before sidestepping another Trafford defender and confidently sending a precise low shot past the outstretched dive of Cooper and into the bottom corner for the forwards tenth league goal in a Ramsbottom shirt. Also worth noting is that the hard working striker has scored in five consecutive league games amassing seven goals in that period proving yet again what a vital addition the forward has been to the Ramsbottom ranks.

With the three points looking guaranteed Chris Willcock utilised his bench with a double change as Rainford and the tireless Eddie Moran were replaced by Jason Carey and Tony Donaldson respectively.

The fourth and final Ramsbottom United goal arrived after Kieran Lugsden almost scored from a well hit shot but Cooper in the home goal was equal to the effort palming the ball wide, although the relief was short-lived as the resultant corner from Tom Kennedy evaded the hosts keepers attempt to punch the ball to safety and Lugsden nodded into an unguarded net for his second goal for the Rams whilst confirming another vital three points.

For the remaining quarter of an hour a demoralised Trafford outfit continued to search for a consolation goal but ultimately without success as Sam Ashton was protected in fine fashion by the miserly Rams defence.

A point that surely cannot be ignored is that amazingly Ramsbottom United have not fallen behind in any away league match since Chris Willcocks first away outing which was a one each draw at Widnes on the 9th of October. Since that match the side have embarked on a run of eight consecutive away games in which they have tasted victory with an aggregate goal tally of 28 goals scored and just one against (In the 3-1 win at Market Drayton).

The final chances of the game were exchanged in the final ten minutes as firstly a well struck shot for the hosts from the edge of the penalty area flew wide of the Rams goal before Tony Donaldson almost made it two goals in two games but after a well worked move the young midfielders effort was well saved by Cooper in the home goal.

As the referee blew the full time whistle Ramsbottom United had completed a well deserved victory whilst perhaps not being at their fluent best, nevertheless such have been the high standards of recent performances that a comprehensive four goal win against a team that sat just two places below the Rams prior to kick off ensured the travelling support had another away result and performance to be immensely proud of.

A look at the league table after the match showed the Rams in a play off place which rounds off a superb seven days which has seen the team garner nine points from the three games played in that period alongside a goal haul of eleven with none conceded as the Rams play off impetuous gathers momentum ahead of Tuesday nights eagerly anticipated visit of Colne at the HWRS.

Ramsbottom United:- Ashton, Kennedy, Jacobs, Moran (Donaldson 74 mins ) Thompson, Kelvin Lugsden, Rainford (Carey 74 mins), Rother, Jerome (Gooden 64 mins), Kieran Lugsden, Evangelinos

Unused Subs- Ellison, Osi-Efa