Ramsbottom United suffered injury time heartbreak at The Butchers Arms on Tuesday night as their difficulties on the road continued.

The Butchers Arms, Droylsden
Tuesday 5th December 2017
Evo-Stik North
Attendance: 140

The Rams had 19 year old Everton loanee Matthew Johnson making his debut in goal in place of the injured Danny Taberner whilst Sam Heathcote replaced Alex Meaney in the only other alteration from starting XI from Saturday’s narrow defeat to South Shields.

It was the visitors that started on the front foot with Greg Daniels and Phil Dean linking up well as the former had a shot well saved low down by Branagan before more good play gave Dean a chance to open the scoring but his well struck shot from the edge of the penalty area beat the home keeper before striking the post.

Ramsbottom’s bright beginning to the encounter continued as good work from Kyle Brownhill gave Daniels another chance on goal which gave Branagan more work to do as the first ten minutes were being dominated by the visitors.

The home side fashioned their first attempt at goal just after the quarter hour mark but the attempt sailed wide before Johnson was called on to make his first save minutes later as Droylsden looked to get more of a foothold in the game.

As the first period continued, the home side began to game more possession without seriously threatening the Rams goal whereas the visitors looked dangerous on the counter attack with Dean and Daniels prominent in a number of forays forward by the away side.

The opening half hour ticked by with the game goalless, shortly after which a Droylsden free kick was flicked wide of the target by Frost before home full back Holden sent an effort high and wide as the home side looked to continue their impressive home record of one defeat in seven matches.

As the referee blew for half time, the Rams faithful in attendance were hoping that their side could build on the positive start to the match and gain some reward during the second period.

Indeed it was the visitors that had the first opening after the restart as Jerome Wright fired an effort into the side netting as the Rams began the half in encouraging fashion.

Droylsden made the first change of the contest as they looked to gain some control but Johnson in the Rams goal was having a quiet debut as his defensive colleagues gave the young keeper excellent protection as the visitors searched for their first elusive clean sheet on their travels.

It was the away side that looked the more likely team to break the deadlock as both Kyle Brownhill and Heathcote had attempts that missed the target but nevertheless there was some attacking intent to the performance from the Rams.

Ramsbottom made their first substitution of the match midway through the second period as Ben Richardson, who was playing in a more familiar midfield role after his exploits with the goal keeping gloves on Saturday, replaced Heathcote.

The deadlock was almost broken with 17 minutes remaining when a Wright corner bounced around the area before Kyle Brownhill’s toe poke sent the ball goalwards only to hit the crossbar before being cleared to safety.  The incident perhaps offers a further example of the misfortune the Rams are experiencing on their away trips this season.

With the home team making their two final substitutions and the encounter seemingly drifting towards a goalless draw, the referee was called into action when Droylsden’s Caddick brought down Dean which resulted in the majority of the players involved in what could best be described as a fracas.  The incident resulted in a caution for Caddick with some involved calling for a harsher punishment.

With the match entering the latter stages Ramsbottom almost grabbed the lead when a superb Daniels cross just evaded the onrushing Wright before the home defence cleared the ball for a corner kick.

Then with only three minutes remaining, a bizarre moment almost gave the visitors the advantage when Rams keeper Johnson took a free kick from his own half which flew over all the outfield players before bouncing over his Droylsden counterpart and bobbling just wide of the goal.

Sadly for the Rams, this wasn’t the final goalmouth action of the contest as two minutes into the signalled four of injury time, a left wing cross to the far post was headed into the opposite corner by Daly to win the game for the home side in the cruellest of circumstances.

As the final whistle sounded, Ramsbottom fell undeservedly to their seventh defeat in two away league games with the sense of frustration from players and staff palpable.  This was an all-round team performance that certainly deserved to take more from the game than they ultimately did on a night which perhaps sums up the Rams season to date in 95 minutes.

An understandably frustrated Rams manager Mark Fell summed up the evenings events.  “Another tough one to take, but I’ve said that too often already this season.  We’ve hit the woodwork twice and Matty Johnson hasn’t had a save to make – then we switch off for 10 seconds in the 92nd minute and we’re beat.  Their number 11 should see red for an assault on Phil Dean and he has a hand in the goal, it’s sickening.

“I can’t fault the lads effort, we need to be more clinical, the tide will turn and someone will be on the end of a good hiding but right now we’d take a 1-0 and the rub of the green.”

RAMSBOTTOM UNITED: Johnson, L.Brownhill, K.Brownhill, Stott, Thompson, Kpohomouh, Dean, Moran, Heathcote (Richardson 68mins), Daniels, Wright.  Subs not used: Rother, T.Williams, M.Williams, Meaney

Saturday 9 December – Evo-Stik North – Osseett Town v RAMS (3pm)

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