Three points against a team even lower than the Rams in the league were absolutely essential if the progress in performance, albeit slow and patchy, over the last few games was to be taken as a credible sign of a steady climb up the league towards the play-off positions.

RAMSBOTTOM UNITED 2 OSSETT ALBION 1
Harry Williams Riverside Stadium
Saturday 15 October 2016
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One North
Attendance: 192

So getting only the third league win of the season is as great a source of satisfaction to the managers, team and supporters alike.  But if those in attendance were also wanting an aesthetically pleasing performance and entertainment they would have been better spending their time watching “The Flying Scotsman” passing back and forth behind the goals serenely and with no little class.

There is clear evidence of improvement in individual performances.  The Paul Linwood and Luke Thompson partnership at the back is growing in assurance with Thompson having a particularly good match – although there are still a few too many moments of self induced panic.  The full backs are solid, Joshua Askew looking strong, quick and skilful.  Ryan Salmon is busy and holds the ball up well – but along with Damian Green who shows real vision on the ball he needs to be brought into the game more.  And Grant Spencer, returning for the umpteenth time, is a class act on the ball.

So all is good and positive but there is still lacking a spark “un certo qualcosa” as we say in Naples that is preventing all of the parts coming together in a complete, compelling performance.

On Saturday the Rams could have considered themselves unlucky to be behind during the first 45 minutes in which the passing of the aforesaid Flying Scotsman was better than any passing on the pitch.  On the half-hour James Eyles contrived to trip over something in the Rams area – perhaps a blade of grass – and the gullible referee awarded a penalty which Eyles, barely having to dust himself off, put away. The Rams could not get support up to Salmon and Green quickly enough on the odd occasion they were able to find meaningful possession and generally there was too much space between them and the midfield.

Consequently there was no real threat on the Ossett goal apart from Green picking out an on-rushing Spencer from out wide with a ball of true vision and class.  It was a shame that the referee’s vivid imagination perceived a hand ball which curtailed the midfielders dart into the box.  That was until the final moments of the half when Brett Souter spilled a harmless free kick onto the foot of Sam Freakes who levelled the score.

From there the Rams went on to largely control the game although the exquisitely named Talent Ndlovu did as much as he could to live up to his name by being a constant threat for Ossett whenever he was on the ball.  A few moments of silliness in the own box aside, the Rams did not look like conceding again and began to stretch a tiring Ossett defence.  Just past the hour, Spencer sent Ollie Crankshaw clear with a neat ball inside the fullback and the winger was fouled in the act of shooting (at least the ref fot that one right).  Damian Green rolled the penalty in the bottom corner so slowly that the keeper could have easily walked across and picked it up if not he had been sent to hug the opposite post by the sleight of the run up.

Ryan Salmon appeared to have opened his scoring account for the club when he lifted a ball over the despairing keeper only to see it bounce just the wrong side of the goal and that was the end of the action.

Having played at Colne (who on Saturday had a good win away at Mossley) on Tuesday night, the Rams are then away at Scarborough next Saturday.

TEAMS:
Ramsbottom United: Ashley Shenton, Bradley Roscoe, Joshua Askew, Sam Freakes, Luke Thompson, Paul Linwood (capt), Oliver Crankshaw, Damian Green, Ryan Salmon, Grant Spencer, George Mannion.  Subs: Lee Botham (for Green 85mins), Jake Cliffe, Matt Atherton (for Mannion 52mins), Nat Taylor, Alex Meaney (for Spencer 77mins).

Ossett Albion: Brett Souter, Declan Dawson, Ross Hardaker, Stefan Holt, Danny South, Dominic Riordan, Tom Guest, Rikki Paylor, James Eyles, Nicholas Matthews, Joshua Wright.  Subs: Connor Bower, Talent Ndlovu (for Holt 41mins), Ben Walker (for Matthews 76mins), Abdou Bojang (for Wright 81mins), Steven Nicholson.

Referee: James Madine (Liverpool).

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