Ramsbottom United made the trip over the Pennines on Monday night to take on Brighouse in the first of three away games in a busy final week of the season.
BRIGHOUSE TOWN 3 RAMSBOTTOM UNITED 2
Yorkshire Payments Stadium
Monday 23 April 2018
On a blustery evening the Rams starting line up showed two changes from the weekend victory over Droylsden with Tom Brooks and Luke Thompson returning at the expense of Jamie Rother and Phil Dean respectively.
After three consecutive home wins it was Brighouse who began the contest positively and almost took the lead on 12 minutes when a cross from the right wing was sent towards goal before Sam Ashton pulled off an excellent low save and as the loose ball looked likely to be tapped in at the far post Harry Foulds made a brilliant goal saving tackle to keep the game scoreless.
The visitors were finding it tough to get a foothold in the early stages of the match but almost edged in front on 20 minutes when a Greg Daniels corner was headed towards goal by Lee Gaskell but a home defender cleared the ball off the line before the ball fell to Luke Jordan on the edge of the box but the wingers shot flew over the crossbar.
Minutes later Brighouse edged in front when a right sided corner from Grimshaw found the well timed run of Field and the home skippers header flew past Ashton to give the hosts a deserved lead.
As the first period continued it was the home side that almost doubled their advantage when a well worked move down the right hand side gave Martin a presentable opportunity but the goal bound effort was superbly blocked again by Foulds as the visitors were perhaps fortunate to avoid falling further behind.
With the interval approaching the Rams perhaps had their best attacking period of the first 45 minutes when a well struck Gaskell free kick from around 30 yards looked to have beaten home keeper Clarke but narrowly missed the target. Shortly afterwards the away side had a very strong penalty claim denied when Jerome Wright went down under a challenge from Hurtley but the officials decided that the ball had been won fairly and a corner was given.
As the half time whistle was sounded it was Brighouse that held a single goal advantage that their play had merited as the Rams found it difficult to replicate the football that had seen them win their previous two home fixtures.
The second 45 minutes began disappointingly when the hosts doubled their lead in comparable circumstances to the opening goal when a corner was sent into the Rams box and Martin rose unchallenged to direct a header into the bottom corner of the net as the visitors conceded two goals in not dissimilar fashion to those which resulted in the recent defeat at Trafford.
The next goal of the encounter would be important and it was Ramsbottom United that grabbed it when after good link up play between Daniels and Jordan before the latter sent in a cross that just evaded Jon Robinsons ambitious overhead kick before arriving at the feet of Jerome Wright who controlled the ball before sending a low left footed drive past Clarke to half the arrears for his 16th strike of the campaign.
With the visitors back in the contest and the hour mark approaching both sides traded presentable chances, firstly the home side tested Ashton in the visitors goal with a stinging effort only for the Rams to respond moments later when a wide free kick caused uncertainty in the Brighouse area only for the ball to fall to Robinson whose sharp turn and shot from close range was blocked by the home keepers legs.
Ramsbottom manager Mark Fell then introduced Chris Rushworth in place of Gaskell as the ever versatile Dean Stott moved into a more familiar midfield berth as the away side began to create some pressure on the Brighouse goal.
The visitors gained some reward from an improved second half display with three quarters of the contest played when an intricate exchange between Luke Jordan and Jon Robinson sent Tom Brooks surging into the Brighouse penalty area before being bundled to the ground and the referee had no choice but to point to the penalty spot. The responsibility fell to Greg Daniels who stepped up and confidently dispatched the penalty to register his 10th goal of the campaign as the Rams restored parity in an entertaining game in West Yorkshire.
As the match entered the final few minutes both teams pushed forward looking for the decisive goal but were being increasingly frustrated with the match officials decision making. It would however be the Rams that would have cause to claim another penalty when with three minutes of normal time remaining Greg Daniels controlled a ball before turning his marker and being wrestled to the ground by a home defender but yet again the referee surprisingly failed to point to the spot for a second time.
With a sense of injustice in the air the evening would take a fatal turn for the worst midway through four minutes of additional time when home substitute Ibrahim set off on a run before unleashing a vicious strike which Ashton appeared to have tipped over the crossbar but the ball somehow found its way into the back of the net and Brighouse had nicked a late winner.
With the final whistle sounding the Rams have slipped to a late defeat in a game which perhaps encapsulates their season on the road in 90 minutes of football. As the visiting supporters made their way home with a familiar sense of what might have been albeit with the consolation that the team had fought back from two goals down showing character and determination which will be required in the final two games of the campaign if the Rams are to finish on a positive note.
Ramsbottom United:- Ashton, Foulds, Stott, Brooks, Thompson, Ellison, Jordan, Daniels, Robinson, Gaskell (Rushworth 61 mins) , Wright. Subs not used – Dean, Jarrett, Madeley
Thursday 26th April The Evo-Stik North Atherton Collieries v RAMS 7.45
Saturday 28th April “ Glossop North End v RAMS 3.00