Ramsbottom United broke their duck at the third time of asking with a convincing victory at much-fancied Rushall Olympic.

The trip to south Staffordshire could hardly have started better, as the Rams took the lead in the fifth minute thanks to Phil Dean’s strike. Joel Pilkington fed Jordan Hulme, and the ball fell to the winger who side-footed home the opener.

Rushall pushed the Rams defence, but it held them at bay, allowing Hulme the opportunity to double the lead on 28 minutes. Chris Westwood’s back-pass sold keeper Chris Gemmell short, and Hulme nipped in to pinch the ball and walk it into an empty net.

Not for the first time this season, a set-piece allowed the home side back into the match, three minutes before the break. A corner sailed in and Josh Craddock was left with the simple task of nodding it home at the far post.

The Rams sealed the game, however, with two quick goals in the second half.

Jon Robinson went down under a challenge from Gemmell, and he picked himself up before confidently striking home the resultant penalty.

Two minutes later, on 54 minutes, the visitors netted their fourth of the afternoon. Pilkington supplied the through ball and Dean slid it home, much to the appreciation of the healthy number of Rams’ supporters who had made the lengthy journey down to the Midlands.

The home side did manage to reduce the arrears on 83 minutes, when Craddock scored his second goal of the game with a fine strike from 25 yards out.

Lee Pugh then left the field with an injury, leaving the Rams down to ten men, having made all their substitutions.

With five minutes added on time being displayed, both sides fought out an end-to-end finish, but no more goals arrived leaving the Lancashire side to enjoy a hard-earned but deserved victory.

So the return journey up the M6 was an enjoyable one on the back of the club gaining it’s first ever points at Evo-Stik Premier level.

RAMSBOTTOM UNITED: Shenton, Smalley, Pugh, Spencer(Abadaki 83mins), Howson, Priestley, Hulme(Slaven 83mins), Burton, Robinson(Ahmadi 68mins), Pilkington, Dean. Subs not used: Cook, Williams

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