The flickering flame of revival and survival which burst into life with the wins at Stourbridge and Grantham is looking more like a dim glow over the horizon which only the most optimistic could discern following the heavy defeat at Ashton and a dismal performance in the South Yorkshire coalfields.
FRICKLEY ATHLETIC 3 RAMSBOTTOM UNITED 0
Westfield Lane Stadium
Saturday 23 January 2016
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Premier Division
For the first 15 minutes the play was even with the Rams looking comfortable in possession. The first exciting incident occurred when Alex Meaney twisted and turned at the corner of the Frickley box, found Kayde Coppin who in turn slipped the ball into the path of Daniel Wilkins. The striker’s shot was strong and well directed but slipped just the wrong side of the bar with the keeper beaten.
From that moment of promise, maters then deteriorated rapidly and badly. Within a couple of minutes, young Cameron Dudley showed his inexperience in dawdling on the ball and being dispossessed. Jacob Hazel raced into the box and neatly chipped over the advancing Grant Shenton with calm assurance to put the home side in front.
The Rams were then the beneficiaries of the unwritten rule that an attacked cannot challenge for a high ball within a yard of the keeper when Shenton failed to get to a viciously curling cross and saw a header beat him – the referee at first appeared to give the goal and then astounded the home players and fans alike by awarding a fortunate free kick to the Rams. With that reprieve, they managed to hold on and breathed a heavy sigh of relief to turn round just the one goal down.
The hope of a second half revival lasted just three minutes. Tyler Williams, a constant threat down the left for Frickley, ghosted unhindered to the deadball line and cut the ball back to give James Walshaw the easiest of tap ins. By this stage the Rams were unable to maintain any possession or gain momentum and the only surprise was that it took Frickley another 15 minutes to score a third and put the game to bed. Again it was Williams who exploited weakness down the left, turning defenders inside and out before curling exquisitely past Shenton.
For the last 30 minutes, the Rams played some pleasing, if largely ineffectual football at least causing Malkowski in the home net to make a couple of saves. Meaney was indefatigable throughout but with the wide men unable to get into or influence the game, he found himself carrying the midfield responsibility largely alone. The belated introduction of Robbie Bromley on the right side of the defence brought a lot more solidity both at the back and going forward and must be a pointer for future matches, but apart from that, the Rams looked pretty lightweight against opponents who themselves did not have much to offer.
Frickley Athletic: Sebastian Malkowski, Macauley Parkinson, Steven Jeff, Luke Hinsley, John Cyris, Jameel Ible, Tom Davie, Sam Akeroyd (Brad Grayson 69mins), Jacob Hazel (Grant Ryan 78mins), James Walshaw (Chris Wood 84mins), Tyler Williams.
Subs not used: Lee Stratford, Jon Hood
Goals: Jacob Hazel (17), James Walshaw (46), Tyler Williams (63)
Ramsbottom United: Grant Shenton (capt), Prince Hayward (Robbie Bromley 75mins), Luke Heron, Cameron Dudley, Nia Bayunu, Jake Cliffe, Kayde Coppin, Alex Meaney, Daniel Wilkins, David Kuba-Kuba (Michael Oates 60mins), John Pritchard.
Subs not used: Charlie Doyle, Zack Hargreaves, Phil Edghill
Referee: I Dudley