Two out of form sides battled it out on a sunny but cold afternoon at the HWRS as Ramsbottom United hosted a struggling Skelmersdale side in the hosts’ first home fixture in five weeks.

Harry Williams Riverside Stadium
Saturday 6 January 2018
Evo-Stik North
Attendance: 203

The Rams showed two changes from the New Years Day defeat at Radcliffe with Liam Brownhill returning and Alex Meaney in the starting XI after his goal in the previous match in place of Yves Zama and Dean Stott.

It was the Rams that began the contest positively as they looked to continue their impressive home form with Greg Daniels and Jerome Wright linking up effectively in the early part of the game.

Both sides exchanged long distance shots in the opening ten minutes as Meaney fired over for the home outfit before Molyneux and Mahoney responded for Skelmersdale.

As the first half wore on Ramsbottom United began to gain the upper hand and perhaps the best opportunity arrived for the home side midway through the first period when a corner found its way to Lee Gaskell who superbly executed an overhead kick which beat the visitors keeper only to hit the crossbar before being cleared to safety.

The momentum was with the home team as minutes later a surging run and pass from Sam Heathcote gave Gaskell a chance to open the scoring but the strikers first time shot from inside the box narrowly missed the target.

With the match still goalless, the Rams continued to press forward looking for the reward that their pressure deserved as Jerome Wright and Phil Dean continued to threaten down the flanks as the hosts got behind the visitors rearguard on numerous occasions without tangible success.

As the half time whistle approached Skelmersdale were on the back foot as the Rams domination turned into a reward when a superb ball from Daniels fed Wright whose cross was finished with aplomb by Lee Gaskell to register his first game since returning to the Riverside just prior to Christmas.

The interval arrived with Ramsbottom United deservedly a goal to the good and hopes were high that the late advantage would be a catalyst for a similar performance in the second period.

The opening minutes of the second half began quietly with little goalmouth action to report but Skelmersdale looked to press forward searching for an equaliser as the home side struggled to regain their attacking fluency they had shown during the first half.

As the hour mark was reached Wright looked to extend the home sides lead when his vicious shot ruffled the side netting, moments later Eddie Moran replaced the hard working Jamie Rother in the Rams midfield.

Skelmersdale then replied with a couple of substitutions of their own as they sought parity but despite their improved performance the visitors hadn’t troubled Rams stopper Charlie Albinson.

With the clock showing 15 minutes remaining the home side substituted goalscorer Gaskell with Zama but shortly afterwards Rams goalkeeper Albinson sustained a hand injury and was unable to continue, with no sub goalkeeper on the bench it was midfielder Dean Stott that had to don the gloves for the remainder of the game.

As the home side looked to see the game out their slender lead was almost cancelled out when a mix up in the home box nearly gave the visitors an equaliser before Stott pounced on the loose ball.

The remaining 15 minutes passed without either side looking like adding to the scoreline as the home team protected stand in keeper Stott admirably although Ramsbottom United almost grabbed a second but Wright’s shot from an angle sailed wide of the far post.

With the 90 minutes played and the Rams looking to secure a much needed victory the referee indicated six minutes of injury time, with four of the six minutes played the away side won a corner which the home side couldn’t clear and visiting substitute Darr poked in an injury time equaliser to deny Ramsbottom United the three points.

The first whistle sounded as the home side drew their first home league game of the campaign as the Rams were made to regret the numerous chances they squandered in the first half as two points disappointing slipped from their grasp so late in the contest.

RAMSBOTTOM UNITED team: Albinson (Stott 77mins), Heathcote, Brownhill, Meaney, Thompson, Mohammed, Dean, Rother (Moran 61mins), Gaskell (Zama 74mins), Daniels, Wright.  Subs not used: Williams, Kay.

Saturday 13th January – Evo-Stik North – Colne v RAMS (3pm)
Saturday 20th January – Evo-Stik North – RAMS v Scarborough Athletic (3pm)

WATCH – Lee Gaskell’s goal ……

And here is a link to Skelmersdale’s highlights
CLICK HERE for the highlights

CLICK HERE for Frank’s pictures

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