Ramsbottom United registered their biggest win since December 2006 (when they defeated Atherton LR 9-1) with a scintillating display that pushed aside local rivals Radcliffe Borough in emphatic style.
Coming into this game, both sides had experienced vastly opposite runs of form. The Rams had tasted defeat just once in seventeen league games whilst the Boro had won just one of the last ten.
Derby games rarely rely upon the formbook, but this one certainly did, as the home side totally outplayed their dejected visitors.
Chris Denham had come very close to opening the scoring after just five minutes, when his header from a Grant Spencer cross sailed inches over the bar, but within sixty seconds, the roles were reversed.
Denham sent an inch-perfect through ball that split the Boro defence, leaving Spencer to gallop goalwards before unleashing an unstoppable drive past Chris Cheetham in goal.
Ten minutes later the hosts doubled the advantage.
A right wing corner from Spencer was partly cleared out to the left, but Jordan Hulme returned the ball for Lee Gaskell to nod home from close range.
On 19 minutes, Boro had a remarkable quadruple escape. Cheetham was at full-stretch to deny a free-kick from Spencer that was about to nestle in the net by the foot of the post, and as the ball fell back for the winger, he saw the keeper tip his shot onto the bar and over for a corner. From the resultant kick, Billy Priestley’s header rebounded off the post, and Danny Warrender could only hook the rebound over the top.
In a rare foray up the other end of the field, Grant Shenton did well to deny Mat Lamdregan from close range, before the play switched back to the Radcliffe half. A great ball from Gary Stopforth sent Chris Denham scurrying for goal, but a combination of keeper and defender thwarted the newcomer.
A poor clearance from Cheetham fell to the feet of Phil Dean. He looked up to see Spencer charging in down the right, but the custodian just managed to scramble back and snatch the ball off his toes.
On 26 minutes it was 3-0.
Another fine ball from man-of-the-match Spencer found Denham. He saw his effort blocked but the ball sailed into the air allowing Gaskell the time and space to nod home from close range.
Seven minutes later, and hopes the Boro had were extinguished by a fourth goal for the Rams.
Spencer, on the left, spotted Hulme over the far side, and his cross sailed over Cheetham and Hulme had the simplest of tasks to head the ball home.
Owen Roberts and Dean both tried their luck from 25 yards as the bombardment of the Radcliffe goal never eased up.
Three minutes from the break, a long ball out from Shenton found Dean in acres of space on the left. He chased the ball down and raced into the area before giving Cheetham no chance from 15 yards.
The one-way traffic continued after the break, and seven minutes in it was 6-0.
Spencer, again, was the provider, as his corner was met by Priestley, who planted a firm header into the net from ten yards out.
A fine run by Dean, saw Denham continue the attack, and his low cross from the right found a diving Gaskell’s head, but he could only flick the ball onto the bar, whilst Stopforth sent the rebound inches over the bar.
Denham should have added another when he broke through with only the keeper to beat, but he chose to blast the ball instead of placing it, and Cheetham’s body prevented a seventh.
On 65 minutes, what would have been the cheekiest goal of the season, was inches away from reality.
A free-kick, 15 yards inside the Rams half was taken quickly by keeper Shenton, and his long punt beat Cheetham, but cleared the bar by a couple of feet.
Joel Pilkington saw his shot veer the wrong side of the post, whilst substitute Ashley Reece planted a header just too high from fellow-sub Darren Green’s cross.
When it looked as though the Rams were going to declare at six, two late goals gave the score-line an even more slanted look.
Denham cut in from the right and placed his low angled shot past the keeper, but as it was arching past the far post, Dean came roaring in to hammer it home from a yard out.
Then, in time added on, Dean snatched at a loose ball in the area to grab his hat-trick and send a poor Boro side home on the end of an emphatic 8-0 defeat.
The Rams are now the highest scorers in the Division with 68 goals from 24 games, and once again they attracted a crowd of well over 300 down to the Harry Williams Riverside Stadium.
High value entertainment appears to be almost guaranteed at the Harry Williams Riverside Stadium these days.
RAMSBOTTOM UNITED: Shenton, Hulme, Roberts, Stopforth(Reece 61mins), warrender(Lacy 63mins), Priestley, Spencer, Pilkington, Gaskell(Green 63mins), Denham, Dean. Subs not used: Toth, Fitzgerald