Harry Williams Riverside Stadium
Saturday 24 September 2016
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One North
Leaving aside that attempt at sarcastic irony this draw offered optimism that there are the bones of a good team in the Rams squad but there are lingering concerns around defensive fraility and inability to turn commanding and inventive attacking into wins.
Currently a golden goal ticket registering more than 15 minutes might as well be committed to the dustbin before the kick off and so it was that after just that number of minutes. The Rams gifted Prescot a goal when Nia Bayunu, under no discernible pressure, somehow managed to turn an otherwise innocuous cross past his own keeper. The Rams could count themselves lucky not to have gone behind seconds earlier when a header onto the underside of the bar bounced just the right side of the line for them but were culpable in then failing to clear efficiently but that was just about the visitors only sustained attack on goal.
From that self imposed setback the Rams slowly grew in assurance with a midfield trio of Nat Taylor, Dean Stott and Sam Freakes – feverish and tigerish in the tackle. For a while they found it difficult to turn pressure into substantive efforts on goal with Gareth Seddon too often finding himself on the edge of the box rather than on the end of a series of dangerous crosses until after 39 minutes he, at last, got in and around the six yard box to get his head to a corner. The ball bounced off the bar and neatly onto the foot off Dean Stott who, with no little pent up fury, hammered the ball in. Moments later Luke Thompson headed home but was denied by a marginal off-side call involving a defender returning to the pitch from behind the goal-line so it remained all square.
Another unsatifactory trait so far this season is a loss of momentum on the retart but this time that was avoided. With Sam Freakes increasingly influential and authorative the Rams pushed Prescot back but again struggled to get men in the box and had to make do with strong shots from distance two of which were goal bound until diverted wide by various body parts. The withdrawal of Gareth Seddon to injury saw Louis Myers put into the number 9 position where he looked more comfortable. He immediately raced clear and neatly squared the ball to Alex Meaney in yards of space and no-one but the keeper in front of him but his shot was delayed by the fraction of a second it needed for a defender to get his foot in and deflect the ball just the wrong side of the post.
Then a Luke Myers header hit the bar and another from Luke Thompson going just over interspersed with a number of goal mouth scrambles that saw the ball infuriatingly avoid a Rams foot so a point each it was.
This leaves the Rams really needing a win against Colwyn Bay on Tuesday.
Ramsbottom United: Jack Cookson, Bradley Roscoe, Matt Atherton, Dean Stott, Luke Thompson, Nia Bayunu, Nat Taylor, Sam Freakes, Darren Green, Gareth Seddon (capt), Louis Myers. Subs: Lee Botham, Oliver Crankshaw, Alex Meaney (for Seddon 54mins), Jake Cliffe (for Taylor 89mins), Josh Dunroe.
Prescot Cables: Tom Brocklehurst, Jacob Jones, Bram Johnston, Joe Herbert, James McCullouch, Mike Simpson, Phil Bannister, Sam Turner, Rob Doran, Lloyd Dean, James Edgar. Subs: Joe Nicholson (for Edgar 73mins), Josh Nicholson, Jonah O’Reiley, Ben Cartwright, Nathan Quirk (for Bannister 73mins).
Referee: Thomas Kirk (Altrincham)