A very youthful Rams team, featuring 8 players under the age of 21 ran league leaders Blyth Spartans ragged for the majority of a very open game and could count themselves very unlucky not to post their first win of the season.
RAMSBOTTOM UNITED 0 BLYTH SPARTANS 0
Harry Williams Riverside Stadium
Tuesday 6 October 2015
This was by far the Rams best performance of the calendar year and, in fact, as good a showing as any seen since the balmy days of last autumn.
The tone was set from the outset by the effervescent running and movement of Jordan Bove and Jack Tuohy both on loan from Oldham Athletic. Bove was quick and direct neat in possession and effective in his hold up play while Tuohy, playing in a number 10 role, was sharp on the turn. But it was one of those nights on which the Rams came up against a keeper in outstanding form.
Fabian Otte was at full stretch to punch away powerful shots, did well to turn a Jake Cliffe shot away for a corner and having diverted an Andy Dawson header onto the underside of the bar, was fortunate to see the ball bounce on the line before being scrambled away.
Blyth had barely been able to muster a coherent attack in the first half but in the second came on stronger, no doubt having had some strong half-time encouragement. For a while against failing stamina among young Rams legs, they threatened to take control but found the Rams defence quick into the tackle and well organised by an imperious Dawson.
But, with 20 minutes left, the Rams found hidden depth of energy and resolve and swept forward with a wave of attacks. Otte saved his best to last, somehow changing direction to get a hand to a swerving cross-shot from substitute Charlie Russell – then in the last moments and with just about their only shot on target, Blyth almost grabbed what would have been the most undeserved of winners with a shot that hit the inside of the post but bounced away rather than in.
Ramsbottom United: Grant Shenton (capt), Prince Hayward, Ben Woods, Matthew Crothers, Andy Dawson, Kyle Harrop, Luke Heron (Charlie Russell 33mins), Jake Cliffe (Alex Meaney 69mins, Jordan Bove, Jack Tuohy (Max Harrop 85mins), Sam Grimshaw. Subs not used: Callum Jones, Andrew Fitzgerald.
Blyth Spartans: Fabian Otte, Andrew Cartwright, Alex Nicholson, Dillon Morse, Danny Parker, Stephen Turnbull, Arran Wearmouth (Michael Richardson 69mins), Sean Reid (Paul Robinson 85mins), Daniel Maguire, Matthew Wade (Neil Hooks 73mins), Robert Dale. Subs not used: Jordan Watson, Adam McHugh.
Referee: M Cunliffe.