As always with the opening match of the season, hopes were high amongst the Rams faithful that the club could start the campaign with a victory and continue to build on last seasons’ 14th place finish under boss Mark Fell.
RAMSBOTTOM UNITED 2 TADCASTER ALBION 1
Harry Williams Riverside Stadium
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League North Division
Saturday 12 August 2017
Ramsbottom United began the season with 5 debutants in the starting line up with a tough looking fixture against Tadcaster Albion at the HWRS.
The game began positively for the home side as they started the brighter team putting pressure on the visitors defence and on 8 minutes a through ball from Lee Gaskell found new signing Jerome Wright in the left hand channel before confidently beating Albions ex York City goalkeeper Ingham to give the Rams an early lead and open his account for the club.
The hosts were playing with confidence passing the ball around in a confident manner and looking likely to increase the lead with goal scorer Wright looking a particular threat down the left hand side on his debut.
Tadcaster were second best for the first half an hour struggling to create any clear cut chances to trouble the new look defence or home keeper Fearon.
As the half continued the visitors began to get a foothold in the match but could easily have fallen further behind on 35 minutes when a left sided free kick was flicked on to Tom Brooks who was free in the area before shooting narrowly wide of the post.
As so often happens when a good chance isn’t taken, the opposition score and this arrived 5 minutes from the break when a right sided free kick from Sellars was flicked on before falling at the feet of Tadcasters number 9 Tom Corner who side footed past Fearon to level the score line. Both Wright and Brooks picked up yellow cards before the break as frustration began to grow with the amount of free kicks the visitors were being awarded from the referee for seemingly innocuous challenges.
The second half began in glorious sunshine with both sides continuing with the same eleven they started the game with.
Tadcaster began the second half looking more of an attacking threat although the home side had a penalty shout turned down as Wright went to ground under a challenge.
The visitors had a glorious chance to take the lead just before the hour mark when a back header from Roscoe was seized on by a Albions Savory who tried to take it around goalkeeper Fearon but the Rams stopper made a fine stop to thwart the away side and the defence cleared the danger.
This served as a warning and the Rams began to get more possession and look more of an attacking threat, indeed debutant Greg Daniels created a chance for himself after battling away on the edge of the box before fizzing a shot over Inghams goal.
Max Hazeldine was the first change for the home side replacing Gaskell on 63 minutes, another chance arrived for Ramsbottom shortly after Hazeldine’s arrival when Daniels again shot but Ingham was well placed to hold the attempt.
The match was finely balanced with both sides looking to try and get their season off to a winning start, the ever reliable Fearon made a couple of routine saves, one from a Tadcaster long throw which the visitors used to good effect. It must be noted that the Ramsbottom defence where dealing with the threat very well with both Thompson and Roscoe at their competitive best.
Ramsbottom then made their last two substitutions which saw the impressive duo of George Pierce and Tom Brooks being replaced by Eddie Moran and Tom Williams as the hosts looked for a winning goal.
The moment of the game came with 5 minutes remaining when Hazeldine’s pace won a free kick on the right hand touchline, up stepped Jerome Wright to whip in a stunning free kick over the wall before hitting the post and bouncing just over the line leaving Ingham stranded, Luke Thompson was on hand to make sure bundling the ball into the back of the net but it was Wright’s goal and one worthy of winning any game.
The celebrations from the players for both goals show great signs of togetherness and team spirit but the free kick was something special from Jerome Wright.
The visitors pushed for an equaliser but the game had one last point of note on 92 minutes when Hazeldine was given a second yellow card for closing down and making contact with the Tadcaster keeper Ingham resulting in a red card for the Ramsbottom forward.
The game finished with a 2-1 win for the Rams, the game itself was a closely fought encounter and gave the home team a winning start to the campaign with two goals from the hugely impressive Wright but the whole team deserve praise for their part in an excellent victory for Ramsbottom United.
Rams manager Mark Fell had the following to say after the final whistle “I felt we were decent enough value for all the points when you look back over the full game. Opening games of the season are generally cagey affairs and really clear cut chances were few and far between for both sides but chance wise we’ve been on top, Tom Brooks and Greg Daniels both has excellent opportunities to make it a bit more comfortable but the pleasing thing for me was the resilience we showed to keep going, stick to the game plan and find a way to win. That’s the key in this league and it was a bit of magic from Jerome that got us our rewards today, we’ve still improvements to make but this team will keep getting better, the key is to build on that performance on Tuesday night at Colwyn Bay”
Ramsbottom United: Fearon, Heathcote, Brownhill, Stott, Thompson, Roscoe, Brooks (Williams 81), Pierce (Moran 75), Gaskell, (Hazeldine 63), Daniels, Wright
Subs not used Meaney,