The Rams’ New Year started with an impressive away win against Stourbridge, taking a vital 3-2 success from the West Midlands.
STOURBRIDGE 2 RAMSBOTTOM UNITED 3
War Memorial Athletic Ground, Stourbridge
Saturday 2nd January 2016
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Premier Division
Ramsbottom showed a consistent, slick and professional performance with gritted determination, helping the club to kick off the New Year with a much deserved three points.
On a rather wet Saturday afternoon, Ramsbottom United kicked off the New Year at the War Memorial Ground. The home team started off the better team creating quite a few good chances, a great save by Shenton, who was in fine form as early as the second minute, followed shortly by a Stourbridge free kick which cannoned off the bar.
Ramsbottom started to find their feet and came more into the game as the half went on. Jordon Bove had a near miss on 18 minutes then a minute later Ramsbottom had a penalty appeal turned down for handball in the area. Some lovely football was now being played, especially from Aaron Smith and Jordon Bove up front, both having the flair to create chance after chance.
Another chance for the Rams went begging as Pierpoint from Stourbridge headed onto his own bar before the ball was cleared.
Alex Meaney and Jake Cliffe, who dominated in midfield, combined well with some neat play and on the half-hour mark created the first goal of the game, the Rams pushed forward and the lively Aaron Smith fired in a shot which was parried out by the keeper into the path of Jordan Bove who could not miss from a few yards out. 1-0 to the Rams, and a nice parting present from Bove as it proved to be his final goal with his loan spell from Oldham Athletic ending after the match.
The Rams defence was pretty solid in the first half as they kept Stourbridge at bay. Shenton, Haywood, Heron, Poscha and Bayunu all looked strong under pressure. Cliffe, Meaney, Coppin and Pritchard all worked together well in midfield, helping to assist the strikers.
The second half began with Stourbridge coming out all guns blazing, putting pressure on the Rams defence, with some great saves once again from Shenton. A lot of movement between Smith and Bove continued to cause the Stourbridge defence problems. On 68 minutes, Bove was to be replaced by debutant Danny Wilkins.
Minutes later, Stourbridge equalised with a goal that even the natives stated did not cross the line! The effort from Broadhurst was given the nod by the referee’s assistant.
A whirlwind last 10 minutes started with pressure from the Rams resulting in a goal from close range from Wilkins, following a corner, restoring the Rams lead 2-1. The match was more evenly matched at this point and chances for both sides were aplenty. On 88 minutes, the Rams grabbed what was to be the winner, with persistence, grit and determination, the debutant Wilkins turned his man and fired a shot low across the keeper and into the bottom corner of the net to make it 3-1 much to the delight of the travelling army of Rammy supporters.
The cheers were soon muted briefly as Stourbridge scored again making it a very tense last few minutes. The Rams held on through the four minutes of added time to claim their first victory and three points of 2016.
RAMSBOTTOM UNITED team: Grant Shenton (capt), Prince Haywood, Luke Heron, Marcus Poscha, Nia Bayunu, Jake Cliffe, Kade Coppin, Alex Meaney (David Kuba-Kuba 76mins), Jordan Bove (Danny Wilkins 68mins), Aaron Smith, John Pritchard. Subs not used: Charlie Doyle, Cameron Dudley, Robbie Bromley.