Ramsbottom United gained their second home win in three days on Tuesday evening with a single goal victory over an Atherton Collieries team that hadn’t tasted defeat for ten matches.
RAMSBOTTOM UNITED 1 ATHERTON COLLIERIES 0
Harry Williams Riverside Stadium
Tuesday 20 March 2018
The Rams began the contest with an unchanged line up from their 3-0 weekend victory over Goole as they were looking to build some momentum in the remaining weeks of the season.
It was the hosts that had the first attempt at goal when a strong run from wide man Phil Dean gave him the opportunity to fire at goal but visiting goalkeeper Latham gathered the shot comfortably.
The contest was being played at a good tempo with the Rams looking to assert themselves in the middle of the park with the energetic trio of Dean Stott, Jamie Rother and Tom Brooks giving the home side the platform to build a number of attacks against an Atherton outfit that were showing the confidence that a long unbeaten run can bring.
Ramsbottom United had a presentable chance around the 20 minute mark when a Rother free kick beat the visitors defensive wall before narrowly missing the target, shortly after which a well worked move down the right flank found Daniels whose astute turn gave the forward an opportunity to shoot but his effort sailed over the bar.
Atherton were intent on playing out from the back but the hosts weren’t allowing the visitors any time on the ball to create any sustained periods of attacking play, perhaps the best chance fell to the lively Cover but the Rams defence snuffed out the danger.
With five minutes of the half remaining the Rams almost opened the scoring when a superbly flighted free kick from Wright found the head of the diving Daniels and with Latham looking beaten the ball sailed inches wide of the post.
As the half came to a goalless conclusion the home side had performed excellently with the well marshalled defence repelling Atherton’s attacking forays with confidence whilst looking the more likely side to open the scoring.
Both sides returned unchanged after the half time break and again it was the home team that signalled their intentions in the early moments of the half with Daniels registering a shot on target to continue the home outfits attacking impetus.
Whilst Ramsbottom United appeared to be the team in the ascendancy Atherton looked as if they could cause some problems on the break with their pacey front man Cover ensuring the Rams defence would need to keep their concentration.
With the game delicately poised the Rams won a succession of set pieces as they searched for the opening goal which almost arrived when a superbly delivered free kick by Greg Daniels was flicked towards the far post where the onrushing Zehn Mohammed headed over the crossbar.
As the hour mark approached another dangerous looking corner was swung in by Jerome Wright but was cleared to the edge of the penalty area to Jamie Rother whose rasping goalbound effort was tipped over the bar by Latham.
Then on 62 minutes the decisive moment arrived when the Rams won another free kick on the right hand side of the penalty area but before the set piece could be taken the referee noticed that Atherton’s towering central defender Grimshaw had blood visible so sent the player off the field for treatment.
The resulting free kick was sent into the danger area by Daniels and with the visitors losing perhaps their best but certainly their tallest defender the Rams kept the ball alive in the box forcing Latham into two fine saves before the ball dropped for Zehn Mohammed who slammed his shot into the net for his second consecutive game on the scoresheet and give the hosts a deserved advantage.
Atherton reacted by making all three substitutes by the midway point of the second period as they looked for a way back into the match, this appeared to give the away side a lift as they their enjoyed their best period of the contest albeit without seriously testing Ashton in the home goal.
As the minutes ticked by the away side inevitably pushed more men forward looking for an equaliser whilst the Rams looked to play on the break with Dean looking a particular threat, on one occasion beating the offside trap before firing a shot narrowly wide of the target as the hosts lead was almost doubled.
With time running out Atherton had a shout for a penalty when a Hardcastle tumbled over in the penalty area but referee Baines decided that there was no infringement and played on much to the relief of all connected with Ramsbottom United.
Ultimately the home side would see out the remaining period of the game without any major scares and goal keeper Sam Ashton probably had his quietest game in a Rams shirt in no small part to the excellent protection he received in front of him.
It would be wrong to pick out any individuals for special praise but every Ramsbottom United player contributed to an excellent team performance resulting in a second consecutive clean sheet as the Rams collected a well deserved 3 points and climbed a place to 15th position before their weekend visit to high flying South Shields.
Ramsbottom United:- Ashton, Mohammed, Brownhill,, Stott, Thompson, Ellison, Dean (Rushworth 90 mins), Rother, Brooks (Madeley 83 mins) Daniels (Gaskell 88 mins),Wright Subs not used Burgess
SATURDAY 24th March The Evo-Stik North South Shields v RAMS 3.00 ***
TUESDAY 27th March “ RAMS v Colwyn Bay 7.45
** The club is running a coach to South Shields, leaving the ground at 10am. Fare just £12, contact Chairman Harry Williams (07849 686374) to reserve a seat.
FRANK CROOK’s PICTURES FROM THE GAME
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