Ramsbottom United returned to the north-east for the second time in five days, but once again came home victorious.
After success in the F.A. Trophy, it was back to League action as they ventured to Bishop Auckland, temporary home to former Football League side Darlington, as the Rams completed the double over their more illustrious hosts.
The home side started the brighter, with the Rams looking out of sorts during the first fifteen minutes.
Although the first chance if the match fell to Jon Robinson who nodded Grant Spencer’s free-kick wide in the fourth minute, the home side responded in determined fashion.
Steven Thompson raced upfield and planted a shot just wide of Rams’ keeper Grant Shenton’s post, whilst a mix-up in the visitors defence had Danny Warrender coming to the rescue to head behind from a corner. From the kick another attempt at goal flashed by the other post.
On 13 minutes, the Rams began to get their act together as Jordan Hulme headed wide, then a melee in the home area saw a number of close range efforts blocked.
Phil Dean raced down the left wing before hammering home a drive that had home custodian Peter Jameson at full stretch to turn the ball round for a corner.
The game was now end-to-end with both sides racing at the opposing defences.
The deadlock was finally broken on 31 minutes when a clearance from Shenton was cleverly brought down by Lee Gaskell on the half way line. He fed the ball out to Dean who raced towards goal. As he advanced into the area he fired in an angled drive which Jameson completely mis-judged, and the ball finished up in the back of the net.
Robinson fed Dominic Smalley whose shot also hit the back of the net, but the linesman’s flag had indicated offside before the ball left his foot.
Another Smalley cross caused confusion for Jameson who fumbled the ball, but he managed to redeem himself with a fine save from Dean’s follow-up.
Dean was causing all sorts of problems down the left, and the half ended with the Rams just about deserving to be in front.
The visitors looked the more composed side in the second period, and whilst chances may have been at a premium, the Rams easily dealt with whatever the home side tried, whilst at the other end Dean and Robinson could both have extended the lead.
A moment of farce arrived on 69 minutes when Smalley was chopped down just outside the penalty area. Out came a yellow card quickly followed by a red, brandished at the home defender. At which point the referee was surrounded by protesting team-mates who persuaded the official to consult with his linesman. When all the furore had died down, the red card was rescinded, and a yellow issued to another player, as the match official apparently had chosen the wrong target!
When the free-kick eventually took place, Dean fired inches over the top.
With time ticking down, the home side finally moved up a gear as the visitors sat a little further back. But despite the additional pressure, the rearguard rarely looked like being breached, and the final whistle blew on another fine victory for the Lancastrians.
This now takes the winning run to eight games in all competitions, as the move up the table towards the play-off places continues.
RAMSBOTTOM UNITED: Shenton, Lomax, Hulme, Stopforth, Warrender, Priestley, Smalley, Spencer, Robinson, Gaskell, Dean Subs not used: Toft, Brooks, Warburton, Smith, Johnson