he Rams two new young loan signings, full back Reagan Ogle and left winger Nathan Webb made an instant contribution to the fortunes of an injury depleted side.  Both scored but their impact on the game, in particular Nathan Webb’s went well beyond adding their names to the scoresheet.

Saturday 4 February 2017
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One North
Attendance: 156

Young Webb presents at first glance a slightly untypical version of the modern day semi-professional footballer and casts the mind back to the tousled days of the 1970s – he brings to mind both in look – but most importantly performance – the legendary John Robertson at Nottingham Forest.  Difficult to knock off the ball, tenacious and showing great feint of pass and movement his performance on the day was immense.  He will come up against more resilient defensive units than that put out by Ossett and the trick will be to get the ball to him often and in the right positions.  If that is achieved – and his loan spell extended beyond the initial four weeks – on this showing he will quickly become the fans’ favourite – having already made a big step in that direction.

The opening moments showed great promise of what was to come in a momentous first half.  The Rams put out a new central midfield pairing of Dean Stott and Bradley Roscoe. The two ostensible full backs girdled their loins and took a firm control of the middle of the pitch playing sharp simple and early balls wide and into Gareth Seddon and Ryan Salmon.  It was only five minutes into the game before Salmon’s layback found Seddon in the D and only a stupendous save by Brett Souter prevented the Rams taking a early lead.  That though was the high point of the Ossett keeper’s day.

The Rams buzzed around the Ossett box with the home defence looking strained.  It was a bit of a surprise that nearly half hour passed before they took the lead but then three goals in 10 minutes, with Ossett reduced to 10 men in the middle of them, sent the visiting fans into delirium.  Webb started it collecting the ball wide and then wriggling into the area before being upended.  Taking the penalty, Seddon sashayed up to the ball as if on the catwalk and with a fluid movement of the hips left Souter absolutely rooted to the ground as he gently rolled the ball into the bottom corner.  Two minutes later Ogle popped up into the box, met a Webb cross and swept the ball into the top corner.  The third goal and the one which effectively put Ossett out of the game fell to the deserving Webb.  The Ossett defence, terrorised by Salmon, completely failed to clear a high ball in the box and the winger scuffled the ball into the net.

All that was left as the half came to an end was for the Ossett keeper to make a bit of a bloomer dropping an innocuous cross at the feet of Paul Linwood.  0-4 at the interval – game over.

On the restart the Rams at first looked to continue as they left off.  Dean Stott volleyed just wide from the edge of the box and then Souter having to scramble to keep out a Ollie Crankshaw shot.  The Rams then went into hibernation and for a period Ossett took control – Rob Bordman dropping deep providing an effective defensive shield.  If Ossett needed any persuasion that it was not their day the moment came mid way through the half when a penalty awarded after a shove in the box, hit the inside of the post and then rebounded off Martin Fearon’s head away for a corner.  The penalty save did not match the elegance of that at Hyde but was still all to his inadvertent credit.

With this the Rams decided it might be polite to emerge from their slumbers and for the last ten minutes laid siege to the Ossett goal without result.  Another goal would have reflected their superiority on the day – without it the satisfying outcome represented just a mixed grilling of an Ossett team glad to hear the full time whistle.

A much sterner test awaits the Rams on Saturday when they entertain Brighouse.  Just seven points away from the play-off positions with a full squad anything might be possible but perhaps mid-table security is the most realistic outcome.  The problem is that this is a transient division in which momentum is all – and in which player movements to and from clubs makes building for next season a bit of an illusion.

Ossett Albion: Brett Souter, Oliver Yates, Isaac Baldwin, Stefan Holt (capt), Will Wells, Jackson Hassanyeh, Thomas Guest, Elliott Harrison, Rob Bordman, James Eyles, Adam Muller.  Subs: Connor Bower (for Guest 67mins), Connor Brunt (for Eyles 67mins), Steven Nicholson (for Holt 46mins), Ross Hardaker, Declan Dawson.

Ramsbottom United: Martin Fearon, Reagan Ogle, Matthew Atherton, Dean Stott, Luke Thompson, Paul Linwood, Oliver Crankshaw, Bradley Roscoe, Ryan Salmon, Gareth Seddon (capt), Nathan Webb.  Subs: Joe Rathbone (for Stott 51mins), Andrew Bell (for Seddon 60mins), Aaron Hollindrake (for Webb 72mins), Reagan Jarrett.

Referee: Dean Watson.

PICTURES FROM THE GAME (courtesy of Frank Crook)

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