A very tired bunch of Rams players ended a very satisfying week on a positive note with a well deserved, if somewhat, nervy win against a determined but all but doomed Belper Town team. It will be a great shame to see this well organised, welcoming and well appointed club return to Division One after just one season.
BELPER TOWN 1 RAMSBOTTOM UNITED 2
Christchurch Meadow, Belper
Saturday 21 March 2015
The Rams might have been in front after only 15 minutes – many being positive that Vinny Mukendi’s header had crossed the line before being clawed back by the Belper keeper. They went in front just after the half-hour when Mukendi neatly turned Lee Neville’s raking diagonal pass into the path of Tom Brooks and could have been sitting comfortably in their armchairs had, first, Donal McDermott and then Brooks converted when one-on-one with the Belper stopper either side of half time.
Driven on by David Kuba-Kuba, who put in a second outstanding performance, the Rams created several more clear openings that lacked only a bit of composure and accuracy and timing of the final pass. But while the game stayed 1-0, there was the risk and vulnerability to Belper equalising and ruining a lot of hard work. So it seemed when, with only four minutes left, Michael Towey glanced in a knock-on from a long throw.
The Rams were nothing less than positive in their immediate response. Donal McDermott skipper away from the half-way line, neatly evaded a lunging tackle designed only to take him out of the game and slipped the ball neatly round the advancing keeper.
The win takes the Rams up to 17th position with a five-point cushion and still a number of games in hand over the teams around them. The fact that the Rams rather lost their way in the last 30 minutes or so can be attributed to the understandable fatigue of playing four games in 7 days but in letting Belper back into the game demonstrates that the undoubted positive direction of team cohesion and understanding has to be balanced against a residual fragility in confidence to put games to bed.
For all that, the Rams are in a much better place, both in terms of league position and belief and conviction than they were a few short weeks ago.
RAMSBOTTOM UNITED team: Grant Shenton (capt), Kyle Harrop, Lee Neville, Matthew Burke, Mark Ayres, George Bowyer, Tom Brooks, David Kuba-Kuba, Vinny Mukendi, Lee Gaskell, Donal McDermott. Subs: Luke Heron (for Brooks 68mins), Ian Bennett, Jamie Rother (for Gaskell 68mins), Phil Edghill (for Burke 86mins), Jon Robinson.
Goals: Tom Brooks (32), Donal McDermott (88)