Ramsbottom Uniteds disappointing away results continued with a narrow defeat on a sunny afternoon in West Lancashire on Saturday.

Stormy Corner, Skelmersdale
Saturday 14 October 2017
Evo-Stik North Division
Attendance: 159

The Rams starting eleven showed four changes from the Colwyn Bay victory a week earlier, unavailable central defensive duo Luke Thompson and Brad Roscoe were replaced by Sam Heathcote and new loan signing from Preston North End, Thomas Stead.

Meanwhile skipper Dean Stott and Ben Richardson were unavailable giving Grant Spencer his 200th appearance in a Ramsbottom shirt with the recently re-signed Phil Dean also getting a starting berth.

With the match starting evenly both sides looked to make an early breakthrough but it was the visitors that opened the scoring on the quarter of an hour mark when a Jerome Wright free kick found the unmarked Heathcote whose well placed flying header flew into the top corner for his fifth goal of the season.

The home side equalised within 5 minutes when a free kick on the edge of the Rams box was hit towards goal but was adjudged to have struck a hand in the visitor’s wall and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Home striker Owens stepped up and gave Danny Taberner no chance by finding the top corner of the net to level the contest.

A lively opening 20 minutes was rounded off when the Rams retook the lead after a strong run and cross from Wright wasn’t cleared by the home defence before the ball fell to Greg Daniels who confidently finished past Sims to make it 3 goals in a 5 minute goal laden spell.

The visitors could have extended their lead moments later as Daniels headed wide of a gaping goal after home keeper Sims had sliced a clearance. As the half progressed both sides were becoming increasingly frustrated with perceived injustices from the officials, as the free kick count increased the free flowing football perhaps inevitably reduced.

Skelmersdale restored parity with half time approaching as Owens wriggled free of the Ramsbottom defence before sliding a pass through to Mahoney who fired low past Taberner to make the half time score 2-2.

The second half began with Ramsbottom on the attack with Phil Dean having the chance to mark his return to the club with a goal before Sims blocked the effort.

In truth neither side created many clear cut chances as the Rams struggled to repeat their first half showing when they had looked the brighter outfit.

Mark Fell made his first change midway through the half with Tom Brooks replacing Alex  Meaney before the home side forced Taberner into a fine save to keep the scores level with 15 minutes remaining.

Sadly it was Skelmersdale who grabbed the fifth and final goal of the contest on 80 minutes when a superbly struck free kick from the edge of the penalty box from Owens found the top corner giving the Rams keeper little chance. The Rams immediately sent on attacking reinforcements to try and rescue a match they really shouldn’t have been behind in without noticeable success.

A late chance from Daniels sailed wide as the visitors succumbed to a fourth consecutive away defeat which left staff, players and supporters equally frustrated whilst wondering how the home form (7 wins in 8) can be reproduced on the road as the seasons haul of 2 points gained in 6 matches away from the HWRS illustrates.

An equally frustrated manager Mark Fell commented “Saturday was a low point in the season for me, we can talk about the if’s and buts, Greg’s open goal miss first half, Wiz’s chance, Spenny’s chance, the truly abysmal officials, but fact is if you don’t take your chances you are always susceptible to a set play, an unlucky bounce, a mistake – and we are susceptible to all of those.

What Saturday’s game, and Bamber Bridge at home show, is that when we miss key players it hurts us. Dean Stott is always a huge loss, the fact we had to get an emergency loan in from PNE of a 17 year old was clear indication we were very light on the ground defensively. I thought young Tom Stead didn’t put a foot wrong, did all the basics well and I expect him to feature again tonight.”

Ramsbottom United: Taberner, L.Brownhill, K.Brownhill, Meaney (Brooks 67mins), Heathcote, Stead, Dean, Moran(Kneifio-Okai  81mins), Spencer (Rother 81mins) ,Daniels, Wright.  Subs not used:  Ashburner, Williams

Tuesday 17 October – Integro Cup – RAMS v Stalybridge Celtic (7.45pm)
Saturday 21 October – Evo-Stik North – RAMS v Colne (3pm)



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