Match reports from two matches over the Bank Holiday weekend – a 2-2 draw with Burscough and the 0-4 reverse to Clitheroe.
RAMSBOTTOM UNITED 2 BURSCOUGH 2
While a share of the spoils might overall reflect a fair outcome the Rams will have come away questioning how they failed to turn a first half performance of aggressive effective and entertaining football into a comfortable victory.
Fired into action by an early Burscough goal from Lewis McNally after their right flank was sliced open all to easily the Rams then produced 40 minutes of pulsating and exciting football which could easily have seen them go into the break with a 3 or 4 goal advantage.Fed by a midfield trio who were quick into the tackle around the half way line the Rams front three of Gareth Seddon Darren Green and most notably Jay Hart ran riot. It took just 3 minutes for the Rams to equalise Green standing the ball and presenting Seddon with an easy header. After that it was all Jay Hart whose running was as direct as it was rapid. Mid way through the half put clear by Green he raced away and neatly chiopped the ball over the keeper to put the Rams in front and then was denied only first by the inside of the post and then the keepers legs as the half came to a close.
Burscough adjusted by playing deeper denying space behind them and with the Rams losing momentum the visitors came more into the game without really threatening until with 15 minutes left Elliot Nevitt fired off a shot from the corner of the area which flew past a startled Jack Cookson to bring matters back to all square. The Rams managed to drag themselves out of self induced lethargy and pressed forward but teh closest they came to grabbing a winner was a deflected cross headed off the line by former player Robbie Bromley.
For all the quality of their forward play in the first half there were some lingering questions – so much of the attacking play was instinctive rather than contrived – when it works it is brilliant but lacks certainty and the defence at times can look shaky – thery much a work in progress as they say.
CLITHEROE 4 RAMSBOTTOM UNITED 0
To describe this performance as abject would be at risk of under statement. Nothing went right on the day in which the Rams inability to respond to the deployment of a back three and two highly effective wing backs by Clitheroe was compounded by poor personal efforts and a lack of leadership on the pitch.
It took Clitheroe just 10 minutes to take the lead James Walker running onto a short free kick which found the Rams defenders still rubbing the sleep out of their eyes. Jack Cookson was a bit hesitant in coming of his line and could only bundle Walker over for an obvious penalty neatly converted. Apart from a flashing drive from Jay Hart neatly turned over the bar by Chris Thompson in the Clitheroe nets and a Paul Linwood header that just beat the outside of the post from the corner that followed it was all downhill for the Rams from there. On 30 minutes a well hit shot from distance by Bradley Knox flew past a flailing Cookson and then Alex Newby ran onto a neat through ball that found the Rams back four as statuesque as the terracota army and slid the ball past Cookson.
The inevitable changes in personnel at half time failed to bring much improvement although Nat Taylor tried hard in a losing cause which became insurmountable once Paul Liwood was sent off for a stupid piece of relatiation..The Rams back four were twisted and turned every which way and only diligent work by Cookson kept the scoreline from rising. As it was the ulimate irony was that Clitheroes last goal came seconds after Jay Hart broke clear only to be denied by a good save with his legs by Thomson. From there the ball rebounded forward to Walker who broke clear , strolled inside and presented Dimitri Tuanzwbw, a thorn in the side of the Rams back four all afternoon with a tap in.