Report by Nigel Jepson


Straight out of the starting blocks, left-winger James Murphy stamped his character on the game by cheekily robbing the ball off a central defender and then calmly slotting it into the net to open the scoring after only three minutes. Down the other flank, Jake Thompson was giving the Drayton defence a drubbing with his electrifying pace. All the while, central striker Domaine Rouse was combining intelligently with both wingers to set up mounting waves of attacks on the away team goal. Finally, on 37 minutes, a passing move between Thompson and Rouse ended with the latter netting to open up a 2-0 lead for the home team at half-time.

After the satisfying 2-1 away win at Kendal in midweek, there was plenty here today both to celebrate and also to convince Rammy supporters that new manager Lee Donafee is on the right track towards producing a team that could again challenge for the league title. At the back, defensive frailties early this season have been seemingly eradicated with the effective central defender pairing of Will Hall and ex-Bootle player Steve Hoy. As at Kendal, the duo played again on this occasion in effective tandem, one looking directly to attack the ball and the other playing laterally acting more in the role of a sweeper. As keeper, Tom Stewart also did everything expected of him on the day, making crucial saves when called upon.

Meanwhile, Dahrius Waldron contributed immensely again in his converted role as a holding midfielder. Nonchalant-looking in the way he conducts himself, at the same time he made so many well-timed tackles that not only staunched opposition raids but also set up home attacks. It was also notable that, with the team’s central defensive spine in good order, full-backs Danny O’Brien and Captain Tom Kennedy felt greater latitude to press forward and effectively prompt attacking moves.

The second half opened much as the first had done with James Murphy scoring another goal to take it to 3-0 within three minutes of resumption of play. There then followed a short spell of complacency on the Rams’ part which the opposition took advantage of to reduce the arrears to 3-1 following a goal clawed back by Harry Morris after 57 minutes.

However, this temporary setback only served to sting the Rams into more venomous action. Any hopes the visitors might have entertained of a further fightback were torpedoed. The floodgates opened with James Murphy completing a very well-earned hat-trick after 67 minutes when yet again he cut inside a defender to restore the home team’s three-goal lead to 4-1.

Then with the effects of a hot sun overhead beginning to take its toll on players’ stamina, second-half substitutions assumed greater importance. Again Donafee’s manoeuvres were to work out particularly well in this direction. Subs Jamie Rainford (2) and Kayle Power (1) came on to inflict further three-goal damage on an opposition that had no answer to the freshness of their input, raising the score to the eventual dizzying heights of 7-1 at the final whistle.

RAMSBOTTOM UNITED: Stewart, O’Brien, Kennedy (capt), Hoy, Hall, Cooper (Rother 68′), Thompson, Abadaki (Rainford 61′), Rouse, Waldron, Murphy (Power 71′)

Unused subs: Collinge, Collins.

Attendance 274

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