If this Doodson Cup first round match had been a boxing match, it would not have been stopped halfway through but never licensed in the first place.
Such was the Rams’ dominance throughout, they barely seemed to notice that the visitors not only scored but had the temerity to actually take the lead after only 8 minutes – that goal being the product of generous refereeing which said Cedric Krou’s old-fashioned shoulder charge as a foul and a very well taken free kick by Nick Ryan into the top corner.
But the route to Burscough’s demolition had already been writ large by a searing run down the right flank by Osebi Abadaki – the first of several – some almost the length of the field that left defenders in his wake. Burscough were unable to handle his pace and power and potentially overwhelming contribution was spoiled only by difficulty in getting his head up at the moment of final delivery.
It took less than 15 minutes for the Rams to equalise when Alex Piacentile drove past a flat-footed keeper from 25 yards to record his first goal for the club.
The Rams then continued their approach to penalty taking more suited to Twickenham when Jon Robinson was felled in the box only for Abadaki’s spot-kick to result in ‘three points’ as he made amends as he twisted away from the tightest of positions on the touchline and induced a own goal from Ryan.
For the remainder of the half, Burscough clung to the ropes, taking shot after shot and surviving at least a dozen corners until, on the whistle, one found Steve Howson to power in a header that squeezed inbetween goalkeeper and defender on the line.
With Howson and Krou the only recognised defenders in the team and a free spirited desire to produce some re-imagined form of total football that has the full backs more intent on attack than defence, it was hardly surprising that the visitors were able to find time and space to give Grant Shenton shot saving practice without every really looking like scoring again.
Just after the hour, Jordan Hulme broke through and calmly slotted past a despaired Jack Cookson and then came the high point of the game – Grant Spencer and Phil Dean exchanging an exquisite one-two to put Spencer in to finish with a chip over Cookson of bone china delicacy.
The last 20 minutes were graced with Krou and Robinson exchanging positions. If this was a considered stratagem for some future emergency, it had all the cunning of a Baldrick plan. To the amused exasperation of all the elegant Frenchman who operates at the icy end of sang froid and is very quickly becoming a cult figure among the Riverside cognoscenti managed to get into any manner of scoring opportunities without quite managing to get head or foot to the ball.
By the final whistle though, such was the Rams’ control that many of a small crowd had drifted home – if not to sleep.
RAMSBOTTOM UNITED team: Grant Shenton, Tom Williams, Alex Piacentile, Malachi Slaven, Steven Howson, Cedric Krou, Osebi Abadaki, David Kuba-Kuba, Jordan Hulme, Jon Robinson, Grant Spencer. Subs: Lee Pugh, Gary Stopforth, Scott Burton, Phil Dean, Anthony Johnson.