After two weeks of inactivity Ramsbottom United made the trip to Merseyside on Saturday afternoon to face a Prescot Cables side in fifth position prior to kick off.
PRESCOT CABLES 2 RAMSBOTTOM UNITED 1
Velair Park, Prescot
Saturday 17 February 2018
The Rams starting line up showed two changes from their last outing with Lee Gaskell and Jack Burgess replacing Greg Daniels and Chris Rushworth as the visitors looked to continue their recent upturn in results.
The encounter started in bright winter sunshine as both sides looked to gain the early initiative, sadly for the Rams they made the worst possible start as with only three minutes on the clock, a right wing corner was cleared to the edge of the penalty area where the unfortunate Jack Burgess slipped and in a vain attempt to clear the ball made contact with a Prescot player leaving referee Holmes with no choice but to point to the penalty spot.
It was Almond who took the responsibility as his confident right footed spot kick beat the despairing dive of Sam Ashton to give Prescot an early advantage.
The goal appeared to give the hosts a boost in confidence as they looked to build on their early strike although this was punctuated with only eight minutes played when home winger Faux fell to the ground with no visiting player near him with what looked a nasty knee injury which would ultimately end his involvement in the game.
As the half wore on, the Rams tried to react to the early setback and had their best opportunity to equalise just after the 20 minute mark when a Dean Stott cross found the head of the onrushing Burgess but his goalbound effort was tipped wide by the home keeper Barnes.
Sadly the scoreline would get worse for Ramsbottom United just before the half hour point when a deep cross from the Prescot left hand side found Almond whose well placed header at the far post beat the outstretched hand of Ashton as the hosts doubled their lead much to the delight of the majority of an excellent crowd of 450 at Volair Park.
With the home side enjoying a two goal lead the onus was on the Rams to try and find a route back into the match with both Jerome Wright and Phil Dean looking to link up with Gaskell in the minutes that remained before the break.
Indeed the visitors perhaps had their best attacking spell of the contest in the final ten minutes of the first period when a Richardson shot fizzed wide of the target before Luke Thompsons well directed header from a free kick brought a good low save from Barnes. With the momentum building for the Rams the home side collected a couple of yellow cards for ill-advised challenges on Wright and Dean respectively.
As the referee was about to bring the half to a conclusion Prescot almost increased their lead further when Ashton in the visitors goal was called on to block an Almond shot with his legs as the Cables player looked to complete a first half hat trick but the half ended with the home side two goals to the good.
The second half resumed with both sides lining up as they had finished the first, the Rams applied some early pressure with Dean firing a shot over the bar as the visitors looked for a way back into the encounter.
With the hour mark approaching and the score still in Prescot’s favour the Rams made a couple of substitutions with Sam Heathcote and Greg Daniels replacing Dean and Eddie Moran as the away side looked to change the pattern of the game.
Shortly after the changes were made the home side almost capitalised on some uncertain defending and Ashton was again at his best to deny Fishwick with a smart save proving what an excellent acquisition he has been for Ramsbottom United.
Then with 64 minutes played the Rams found a way back into the encounter in unusual circumstances when a Gaskell free kick from almost 30 yards beat the defensive wall before bouncing just before home keeper Barnes who inexplicably let the ball go through his legs and the away side halved the arrears.
The goal appeared to spark Prescot into life and as the Rams pushed forward the home side looked to play on the break with Ashton again pulling off three superb saves in a matter of minutes to keep the lead to just one goal whilst the home support appeared to become slightly frustrated at their teams inability to finish off their increasing amount of chances.
With time running out for the visitors young Michael Williams replaced fullback Ben Richardson as the Rams sacrificed a defender for an attacking player as they sought an equaliser but despite utilising a full array of attacking options the away side couldn’t muster a clear cut opportunity and slipped to a defeat that perhaps the scoreline suggested was closer than the match actually was.
With seven of the next eight fixtures at The Riverside the Rams will be hoping to take advantage of these home games and climb the table.
Ramsbottom United:- Ashton, Brownhill, Richardson (Williams 81 mins) Stott, Thompson, Mohammed, Burgess, Moran (Daniels 57 mins) ,Gaskell, Dean (Heathcote 57mins) ,Wright Subs not used Rother, Rushworth
Tuesday 20th February The Evo-Stik North RAMS v Scarborough Athletic 7.45
Saturday 24th February “ “ “ RAMS v Ossett Town 3.00
FRANK CROOK’s PICTURES FROM THE GAME