This was a dispiriting performance from the Rams which could easily have resulted in a double score defeat except for some brave and at times inspired saves by Jack Cookson and profligate finishing by the home team. LANCASTER CITY 3 RAMSBOTTOM UNITED 1
The Giant Axe
Tuesday 20 September 2016
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One North

Long before the end as Lancaster rampaged over a shapeless disorganised team the Rams fans were asking why there was no plan B – a better question on this performance might have been … Is there a plan A?

The amazing thing is that the Rams had been in front after just 3 minutes when Gareth Seddon seized on a loose pass on the edge of the Lancaster area and calmly slotting home.  For the next 15 minutes the Rams looked comfortable and could easily have grabbed a second, Seddon firing just wide from a narrow angle.  That though was just about the last meaningful touch from any of the Rams players apart from the keeper.

Lancaster raised the pace.  Billy Akrigg seized an iron control of midfield and Jacob Gregory started to run riot down the right wing.  As the pressure mounted it was a question of when not if Lancaster would equalise but to the despair of the home contingent and the delight of the travelling fans a series of last ditch tackles and interventions coupled with saves by Cookson seemed to be taking the Rams into the interval still in front.  Then in added first half time, a deflected shot fell onto the head of Akrigg and Lancaster were all square.

Having taken 45 first half minutes to find their first goal on the restart, it took Lancaster barely 45 seconds to grab their second.  Akrigg was given all the space he might have asked for in the box and Cookson could only palm his shot onto the head of Jordan Connerton.

Collectively the Rams performance deteriorated from peripheral to anonymous – unable to attain any control of the ball in the miidle or retain possession up front.  Lancaster swept forward and the number of times Cookson had to save with his feet was a function of the extent to which Rams defenders were pulled from pillar to post and the space found by the home attack.

Connerton blasted over the bar from scarcely six yards out and as the clock ticked away there was a momentary illusion that the Rams might make that pay by grabbing an equaliser.  But that was all that was – a cruel illusion and in added time Connerton all too easily got the wrong side of the Rams defence and made it 3-1.

A cold autumn wind is blowing around the Rams even before the leaves have started to change colour. 

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