A disastrous first half saw Ramsbottom United crash out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle.

 

The home side’s direct route un-nerved the visitors defence, and the whistle for the interval sounded with the visitors in disarray and three goals behind.

A much-improved second half saw them claw their way back into the game, but an earlier missed penalty proved to be the difference when the final whistle blew with the home side hanging on to a slender lead.

An early goal boosted the home side as it took just two minutes for Liam Hardy to find space behind the Rams defence, round keeper Grant Shenton and slide the ball into an empty net.

It was hardly the start the Lancastrians wanted, but they should have been on level terms just four minutes later when Osebi Abadaki raced down the right wing before sending over the perfect centre for Jordan Hulme, but the target man completely misplaced his header and it sailed wide.

At the other end, Hardy looked on as Shenton pushed his free-kick round the post, before the Rams countered with Cedric Krou firing in a fierce drive which Aaron Jameson in the home goal was happy to punch clear.

Scott Burton saw his header from a Spencer corner sail inches wide as the Rams looked to level the scores, but two disastrous minutes proved to be the undoing of the visitors.

On 33 minutes, the Rams won a corner which Spencer swung in perfectly. Two colleagues narrowly missed planting home a header, yet as the ball broke to the far side, the Buxton countered magnificently, with a long cross from the right sailing over the heads of the stretched rearguard leaving Alastair Taylor with the simplest of tasks of knocking the ball home at the far post from close range.

Hulme instantly went close to reducing the arrears with a fine flick from 20 yards that narrowly missed the post with the keeper well beaten, yet again within seconds, the home side had snatched another.

A race down the left ended with the ball being floated into the area and the unchallenged Shaun Tuton gleefully headed in his side’s third to totally deflate the visitors.

Ramsbottom had the chance to narrow the deficit in time added on, but after the referee had penalised a Buxton defender for hand ball, Spencer saw his poor penalty kick easily saved by Jameson.

The Rams trooped off for the break with everyone on the ground accepting that the tie was over.

How wrong they were!

The second half saw a much more accomplished performance as the Rams went all out to overturn the deficit. Greg Young was unlucky to see his header go past the post for the hosts before the Rams got into their stride.

Spencer’s low drive took a deflection, but Jameson was equal to it diving to his left, but a reward for their efforts came on 55 minutes.

Abadaki set off on a run from the right across the edge of the penalty area, defying three tackles, and he laid the ball off to Spencer on the far side of the area. He looked up and sent in the perfect chip which beat the keeper and sailed in by the far post.

Buxton, fearing a revival, attempted to restore the three goal cushion, with Tuton, Hardy and Neil Stevens all having a go.

A second goal for the Rams was almost notched by Hulme following more good work from Abadaki. The winger weaved his way into the area, and as he reached the by-line, he flicked the ball goalwards, but Hulme couldn’t quite convert as the ball squirmed from Jameson’s grasp.

On 73 minutes, the gap was narrowed however. Substitute Nelson Mota was hauled down in the area, and Abadaki placed the ball on the spot before calmly striking home his side’s second.

Both sides went for what would have been a defining goal as the game threatened on a couple of occasions to boil over, but the home side held on, and despite a spirited fightback in the second half, the first period did all the damage, and the Rams interest in the FA Cup came to a shuddering halt in an entertaining game in the heart of the Peak District.

Ramsbottom United: Shenton,Smalley, Pilkington(Pugh 90mins), Spencer, Howson, Warrender(Williams 49mins), Abadaki, Burton, Krou, Hulme, Dean(Mota 28mins). Subs not used: Morley, Johnson

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