This vital promotion battle appeared to be going the way of the Rams until disaster struck in the last five minutes.

With the game entering time added-on, the Lancastrians were 2-1 up, but when the final whistle blew five minutes later, they had surrendered all three points, as the home side struck twice to grab all three points.

To make matters worse, when the team trooped off, it was to find out that the other four sides involved in the play-off battle had all won, leaving a very down-crest Ramsbottom dressing room.

The visitors had gained an early advantage after just five minutes, when good work from Joel Pilkington and Gary Stopforth set up leading scorer Lee Gaskell who fired home.

The lead lasted for just seven minutes, when a static defence (more of that later) allowed a corner to be headed in the box back to Aiden Savory who planted his header home and restore parity.

A foul on Jordan Hulme allowed Owen Roberts the opportunity to blast in a free-kick which was fumbled by the home keeper, but the Farsley defence managed to scramble the ball away, before another Roberts free-kick was blocked.

Farsley were causing the Rams defence some problems, as the game played out evenly with both sides determined to grab the all-important three points.

On the half-hour mark,the Rams began to assert themselves.  Firstly a Gaskell free-kick passed inches wide of the post, before Grant Spencer had a shot cleared off the line.

The second goal duly arrived on 37 minutes when Gaskell slipped a ball past the keeper and Hulme ran on to net with ease, giving the visitors a 2-1 interval lead.

Gaskell almost added to that lead after 66 minutes when a poor clearance by the home custodian allowed him the opportunity to lob the ball back, but he over-hit it, and the ball landed on the roof of the net.

Farsley began to take the game to the Rams who were indebted to goalkeeper Martin Fearon as he made two superb saves to maintain the slight advantage.

On 75 minutes he pulled off a magnificent diving save to push a Paddy Miller free-kick round for a corner, before equalling that six minutes later, tipping over another free-kick.

Hulme could have eased the Rams’ nerves but he finished weakly allowing the home side the opportunity to push forward in the hope of breaking the Ramsbottom defence.

With time added-on approaching, it looked as though that defence had held out.  Alas, having confronted everything the home side had to give, they wilted in the final five minutes, and twice stood and watched as Farsley’s forwards took advantage.

Adam Priestley gleefully fired home on 90 minutes as the ball fell to him with his opponents standing and watching, and worse was to follow just three minutes later.

Again a statuesque defence froze as the ball fell for Ross Daley just outside the box, and he hammered home to turn the game on it’s head, and create a massive dent in the Rams promotion hopes.

A draw would probably have been a fair result, but to battle for 90 minutes only to give the game away in time added-on will have given the Rams management much cause for concern.

Three games to go, and realistically, they all need to be won as the race for the play-offs remains as tight as ever.

RAMSBOTTOM UNITED: Fearon, Smalley, Roberts, Stopforth, Howson, Priestley, Spencer(Krou 61mins), Burton, Gaskell, Hulme, Pilkington. Subs not used: Toth, Pugh, Dean, Warrender

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