A season that began with mediocre form has been turned on its head since the arrival of manager Chris Willcock in early October.

From a bottom half league placing, Ramsbottom United now find themselves one game away from confirming their place in the end-of-season play-offs.

With Atherton Collieries now confirmed as Champions and Radcliffe, as a result of the 0-0 draw against the Rams on Easter Monday, now assured of second place and a home draw on Tuesday in the semi-final, four teams are left to contest the other three play-off spots.

As things stand, providing the Rams avoid defeat in the last scheduled league game at home to mid-table Kidsgrove Athletic on Saturday, their inclusion in the play-offs next week is guaranteed.

That spot would also be confirmed should Colne fail to beat relegated Skelmersdale away or Runcorn Linnets can’t gather the three points on offer at Glossop North End.

However, should both those sides prove successful, then the Rams would need just one point to finish in the top five.

A win against a side that knocked Ramsbottom out of the FA Cup in former manager Mark Fell’s tenure early in the season, would guarantee a third or fourth place finish, depending on Leek Town’s result away at a Colwyn Bay side who would be playing their final game in the English pyramid before reverting back to Welsh football next season.

Should Leek and Ramsbottom both win, then the semi-final next Tuesday would take place between the two sides in Staffordshire, but should the Rams win and Leek fail to do so, then the fixture against whoever finishes in fourth place would be at the Harry Williams Riverside Stadium, with a 7.45pm kick off.

So with just one game left of the regular season, there is still all to play for, and in a campaign that has already thrown up many twists and turns, no doubt Saturday will produce one or two more.

Worst case scenario for the Rams is that Runcorn and Colne both win, and Kidsgrove return home with all three points. That would see Chris Willcock’s efforts all be for nought.

Hopefully a large crowd will turn up to cheer the boys in blue to another week of action and, as many well remember from the last time the play-offs were contested, a fascinating end to what has been a very entertaining season.

The League table (as at 9am Friday 26th April)

Leave a comment