The army of volunteers who worked throughout the morning to ensure the frost-bound pitch at the Harry Williams Riverside Stadium was passed fit, watched on as visitors Skelmersdale United strengthened their position at the top of the league courtesy of a 3-0 win.

After the home side were denied following a good move between Osebi Abadaki and Jordan Hulme, Skelmersdale took the lead on 29 minutes when a 20-yard strike from Aidan Kirkbride sailed over home keeper Grant Shenton and in off the underside of the bar.

Phil Dean looked to have equalised five minutes later when he was on the end of a right wing cross, but somehow visiting keeper Zac Hibbert managed to pull off a point-blank save to deny him.

On 36 minutes, the visitors doubled their advantage when Cedric Krou needlessly tripped Danny Mitchley on the edge of the box, and Mitchley dusted himself down before slotting home the resultant penalty.

Dean was again close to putting the Rams on the scoresheet, but again he watched on as his goalbound shot was blocked out by some desperate defending.

Despite having much of the possession, the home side barely looked like breaking down a well-organised Skelmersdale defence, with plenty of effort but nothing to show at the end of it all.  With the exception of his first half save, Hibbert have very little to do as his defenders kept the free-scoring Rams attack at bay.

The west Lancashire side wrapped up the points on 85 minutes when Mitchley was played in, and with the home defence in tatters, he confidently slid the ball past Shenton from ten yards out to seal all three points.

The disappointing reversal meant that Ramsbottom United have now suffered four straight defeats in all competitions, having been knocked out of the FA Trophy and the Lancashire FA Trophy, to round off the year in disappointing style.

Hopefully 2015 will see the Rams back in form and looking to regain a place in the play-off spots.

RAMSBOTTOM UNITED team: Grant Shenton, Dominic Smalley, George Grayson, Gary Stopforth, Steve Howson, Cedric Krou, Osebi Abadaki, Scott Burton, Jordan Hulme, Grant Spencer, Phil Dean.  Subs: Tom Williams (for Smalley 69mins), Tom Brooks (for Spencer 75mins), Jon Robinson (for Dean 60mins), Malachi Slaven, Bernard Morley.

Leave a comment