Victory over high-flying Lancaster City saw the Rams overhaul their opponents and gain a foothold in the play-off places for the first time this season. And that despite a horrendous start to the campaign, hardly helped by the recent three points deduction.

However, since moving up to the Evo-Stik League, United have met former Conference side Lancaster four times, and on each occasion they have comfortably disposed of the challenge.

The latest trip on a cold, wet and miserable afternoon in north Lancashire allowed the visitors to gain another deserved three points as their excellent run continued.

With the wind and rain at their backs, the Rams dominated the opening 45 minutes to such an extent that they gained ten corners as opposed to their opponent’s single corner kick.

From the off, the visitors intentions were obvious as they took the game to their higher-placed hosts.

Scott Burton was inches wide following a third minute corner, with Grant Spencer hitting the side netting moments later.

On eight minutes, Spencer fed Lee Gaskell, but his fierce drive from 25 yards sailed straight into the arms of the home keeper.

A trademark Owen Roberts free-kick, on 20 minutes, was gathered at the second attempt with Gaskell and Jordan Hulme on hand should the ball have run loose, as the assault on the home side rarely lessened.

The first goal eventually arrived after a long 40 minutes.

Hulme fed Phil Dean on the left and, after beating his marker, he put over a cross which Gaskell met, and the striker hammered it into the roof of the net.

It was the least the visitors deserved after almost constant pressure, with the only surprise being a lack of reward for the dominance.

The second half, with the Rams now facing the ferocious conditions, was more of an even affair.

Lancaster, obviously relieved to be just a single goal in arrears, had more of the ball, but it took a dreadful back header from the Rams’ skipper, Danny Warrender, to gift them an equaliser on 58 minutes.

The defender, who otherwise had a fine game, totally misjudged Grant Shenton’s position, and his header sailed wide and beyond the custodian, allowing Jordan Connerton the ideal opportunity to slot home a leveller.

The Rams continued to battle, and eventually gained their reward on 72 minutes.

Another dangerous run down the left by Dean saw the winger fire in a cross which was flicked on by Hulme at the near post, and in off the far post to regain the Rams slender advantage.

As the minutes ticked down, the home side threw everything at the Rams defence, but they successfully countered everything before grabbing the points-clincher two minutes into time added on.

With Hulme having squandered an ideal opportunity minutes earlier, when he beat the offside trap but delayed his final shot too long, Dean made sure from a similar position.

With City pushing up, Dean was able to take advantage of the additional space, and despite his first effort being blocked by the home keeper, the bounce fell kindly to Dean who managed to net the Rams third, much to the delight of his team-mates and the vociferous Rams following in the crowd.

The overall performance of the Rams, especially in the first half where it was virtually one-way traffic, gained them a much deserved three points, extending their fine run to just two defeats in twenty-three league games.

Ramsbottom United: Shenton,Warrender, Roberts, Stopforth, Pilkington, Priestley, Spencer, Burton, Gaskell, Hulme, Dean. Subs not used: Toth, Green, Morley, Johnson

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