There will be disappointment that the Rams were not able to end their long stretch without a win despite being the better team throughout the whole 97 minutes of this match – where the referee found the extra minutes from at the end of each half was as big a mystery as a Paul Daniels magic trick – but there will be much satisfaction to be had in a home performance that was as compelling as any since the draw against Blyth Spartans.
RAMSBOTTOM UNITED 1 MARINE 1
The Harry Williams Riverside Stadium
Tuesday 22nd March 2016
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Premier Division
On a night when both teams could easily have found themselves reported to The Royal Society for The Protection of Footballs – such was the regularity with which the ball was propelled with maximum force and velocity from one end of the pitch to the other – it was the home team that supplied those moments of finesse that were on offer, most of which for all the energy of the Rams midfield came through stand in right back Phil Edghill,
It was his 50-yard ball, having strode imperiously out of defence, that put the Rams in front after 14 minutes. Steve Foster’s astute run off the ball had taken away the Marine central defenders allowing an impressive Aaron Smith all the time he needed to advance into the area and slot the ball home. The Rams could easily have already been in front if moments earlier Foster had not delayed his shot for a fraction too long and sliced wide.
Unfortunately the Rams’ lead lasted only 2 minutes when a spinning ball deceived Edghill allowing Warren Bellew time in the area to cross to Lewis Codling at the far post. That was the only moment of uncertainty in the Rams defence for the remainder of the evening despite Marine winning many number of corners.
The Rams might have gone in to half time in front after Edghill was released into space down the right. His cross had Marine keeper Matty Cooper floundering, his attempted punch fell at the feet of John Pritchard whose shot from a narrow angle was cleared off the line.
The home side continued to have the better off it in the second half with only a tendency to turn away from space rather than in to it and to delay the easy pass preventing them from opening up the Marine defence.
Apart from a few scuffed shots from the edge of the area the Rams were unable to further test Marine keeper Cooper and the nearest either team came to another goal came when Grant Shenton had to force away a shot following a mixture of push and stumble that allowed a Marine forward clear on goal.
RAMSBOTTOM UNITED: G. Shenton (c), P. Edghill, A. Smart, D. Smith, N. Bayunu, J. Cliffe, D. Wilkins, A. Meaney, S. Foster, A. Smith, J. Pritchard.
Subs: K. McGrath, C. Horner, L. Heron, J. Shaw, Z. Hargreaves.
Goal: A. Smith (16 mins)
MARINE: M. Cooper, J. Short, A. Nicholas (c), L. Goulding, J. Foley, L. Willis, W. Bellew, S. Myler, D. Mitchey, C. Sharp, L. Codling.
Subs: A. Owens, C. Whyte, S. Hessey, C. Barnett, J. Hunter.
Goal: L. Codling (23 mins)