Having pushed a team two divisions above before exiting a cup competition on Saturday, the Rams almost went one better only succumbing to Workington, who are currently sitting eighth in the Evo-Stik Premier League in the league cup on penalties.

(Workington Town won 4-2 on penalties)
INTEGRO Northern Premier League Cup Round 1
The Borough, Workington
Tuesday 29 November 2016
Attendance: 181

With the home team having made eight changes from that defeated 5-0 at Stourbridge it is perhaps difficult to judge the strength of this performance but bearing in mind that the Rams were themselves not at full strength and the fact that they had come a comfortable second the last two times they played at this north western outpost of the Evo-Stik League, there will be no little justification in seeing this as yet further evidence that the Rams are now a team who are very difficult to beat and a serious proposition for an assault on promotion.

Joint managers Mark Fell and Paul Fildes, who made a cameo appearance from the bench, can feel vindicated that their vision for the team and principles are bearing fruit.

A rejigged defence initially showed some uncertainty and in the earlier stages of the game it had taken some desperate blocking and tackling to prevent Workington taking a firm grip. But gradually the Rams settled and it was disappointing when just past the half hour a number of opportunities to clear a home attack were declined giving Joe McGee the chance to shoot home.

Whereas in the earlier stages of the season this reverse might have seen a collapse, the Rams now have the resilience and belief to bounce back. Only a minute had passed before Ollie Cronkshaw was fouled in a dangerous position and Gareth Seddon, on as an early substitute and thereafter putting in a model performance, turned in the free kick to equalise.

From there the Rams grew in assurance and were more than a match for their hosts. On the restart Bradley Roscoe saw a rising shot turned over the bar but then somewhat against the run of play Workington regained the lead. Vulnerability to the quick counter attack remains a slight Achilles heel and it was that weakness that saw Workington re-bound forward and find Elliott Newby home alone at the far post on 55 minutes.

This time it took a full five minutes for the Rams to respond and it was again Seddon who regained parity with a real poachers goal which spoke volumes for his ability and experience – collecting and controlling the ball under pressure in the box cutting past defenders like a knife through cheese and shooting across the keeper into the bottom corner.

As penalties loomed both teams had chances to seal the win – Seddon getting the ball trapped under his feet when in a good position and then a Workington attacker losing his footing with the goal beckoning and so it went to the spot kicks and the Rams eventual but proud demise.

On Saturday the Rams resume their league campaign at Mossley who are below them in the table. Free now of cup distractions and having established a firm base camp they are fully equipped totraverse the colls rock faces and crevasses hat stand between them and a return to the Evo-Stik Premier League. Hold on to your hats because this now promises to a roller coaster journey.

Workington Town: Tom Fowler, Jake Simpson, David Symington, Kyle May, Matthew Douglas, James Earl, Robbie Hebson, Anthony Wright, Nathan Waterston, Joe McGee, Conor Tinnion (capt).  Subs: Jack Ryan, Josh Calvert (for Douglas 29mins), Elliot Newby (for Earl 29mins), Scott Allison, Callum Henderson (for Tinnion 50mins).

Ramsbottom United: Charlie Albinson, Bradley Roscoe, Josh Askew, Dean Stott (capt), Lee Botham, Paul Linwood, Oliver Crankshaw, Sam Freakes, Ryan Salmon, Nathaniel Taylor, Matthew Atherton.  Subs: Alex Meaney (for Taylor 58mins), Gareth Seddon (for Salmon 11mins), Paul Fildes (for Crankshaw 83mins)

Referee: R Holmes

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