Ramsbottom United rounded off the home league campaign with a 3-1 victory against a Droylsden outfit that had won just one match since the turn of the year at a sunny Riverside Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
RAMSBOTTOM UNITED 3 DROYLSDEN 1
Harry Williams Riverside Stadium
Saturday 21 April 2018
The home side who began the game with a defence which included Harry Foulds at right back and the ever versatile skipper Dean Stott filling in at centre half in the absence of Zehn Mohammed and the suspended Luke Thompson.
The match started with positive attacking intent from both sides with Droylsden having the first effort when Smith’s effort sailed way over Sam Ashton’s crossbar.
Indeed it was the visitors that almost took the lead on 11 minutes when the angular Gonzales squared the ball to Caddick and what seemed like a certain goal was denied by a superb one handed save from Ashton in the home goal.
The Rams responded positively and broke the deadlock on 20 minutes when Lee Gaskell’s sublime curling free kick from the edge of the box beat the diving Jones before hitting the inside of the post and nestling into the back of the net.
Droylsden replied to falling behind immediately when a strong run from ex Bury player Domaine Rouse resulted in a low shot which Ashton repelled to retain the home sides slender advantage as the game continued to have an open feel about it.
Ramsbottom United were playing some very watchable and fluent football and as the half continued the home side created a number of presentable chances.
Perhaps the best of them fell to Gaskell on the half hour mark when after a flowing move down the right flank the ball arrived at the feet of the Rams forward and his well struck goal bound shot was tipped around the post by Jones in the visitors’ goal.
With half time approaching the home side almost doubled their lead when a superb cross from the right found the head of Robinson 8 yards out but the strikers attempt cleared the crossbar as the hosts looked to gain some tangible reward for the efforts in a stirring Rams first half performance that arguably deserved more than single goal they ultimately scored.
Both sides returned after the interval unchanged and the pattern of the match continued in the early moments of the second half when a pinpoint Jerome Wright cross from the left again found the head of the onrushing striker but Robinson’s effort bounced wide of the target.
Sadly the Rams had to make their first change after only 5 minutes after the restart when the influential Jamie Rother succumbed to injury and was replaced by Chris Rushworth.
With the encounter finely balanced the away side were looking for a way back into the game and Ali had a well struck free kick well saved by the impressive Ashton as the Rams were reminded that the outcome was far from certain.
Both sides exchanged substitutes as Jason Jarrett replaced Luke Jordan for the Rams and in turn Droylsden made two changes as they sought to restore parity in a match played in glorious sunshine.
The Rams defence which could maybe be described as makeshift were marshalling the Droylsden attack superbly with Foulds performing excellently in only his third start for the first team ably assisted by the ever adaptable duo of Stott and Phil Dean, whilst the consistent Ryan Ellison’s contribution should not be ignored.
With three quarters of the encounter played the home side would double their advantage when after Jerome Wright was upended in the penalty area Greg Daniels confidently slammed home the spot kick giving Jones no chance as the Rams looked to end their home league campaign on a high.
The goal was no more than Daniels performance deserved as playing in a deeper role the gifted playmaker showed some exquisite touches throughout.
Both sides made their final changes of the afternoon shortly after the second goal of the match and saw Rams stalwart Robinson receive a well-deserved ovation from the home support as he made way for Sam Madeley.
With Droylsden becoming ever more desperate to reduce the arrears and throwing men forward there appeared to be plenty of opportunity for the Rams to hit the visitors on the counter attack in the time that remained.
As the contest was entering the final fifteen minutes the home side had a golden opportunity to wrap up the points when a mistake in the visitors defence allowed Wright a chance and despite rounding the goal keeper the wide man’s shot cannoned off the post when it looked likely a third goal would arrive for the hosts.
It was the away side that continued to push forward with pacey sub Phillips looking a particular threat for Droylsden but resolute defending and wayward finishing ensured that the Rams two goal lead was intact going into the closing minutes.
With the ninety minutes played the officials indicated a minimum of four minutes additional time to be played and with almost three of those played Droylsden halved the arrears when good work from Gonzales gave Caddick a chance and the close range effort flew past Ashton.
Amazingly there was still time for the hosts to confirm the victory and grab a third goal when Daniels was sent sprawling in the penalty area by visiting keeper Jones before the forward picked himself up to covert his second penalty of the afternoon and ninth goal of the season.
As the final whistle blew on another league campaign at the HWRS Ramsbottom United claimed a well-deserved victory with a thoroughly enjoyable display and in the process claimed their 11th home league win of the season whilst rising to 15th position ahead of three away games in the remaining seven days of the season.
Ramsbottom United:- Ashton, Foulds, Dean, Rother (Rushworth 50 mins), Stott, Ellison, Jordan (Jarrett 55 mins), Daniels, Robinson (Madeley 68 mins), Gaskell, Wright, Subs not used – Brownhill
Monday 23rd April The Evo-Stik North Brighouse Town v RAMS 7.45
Thursday 26th April “ Atherton Collieries v RAMS 7.45
Saturday 28th April “ Glossop North End v RAMS 3.00
FRANK CROOK’s PICTURES FROM THE GAME