Ashton United just about deserved all three points which should guarantee them a play-off place but should feel themselves both fortunate and more than flattered by the final scoreline.
RAMSBOTTOM UNITED 0 ASHTON UNITED 3
Harry Williams Riverside Stadium
Tuesday 14 April 2015
The Rams largely dominated the first 45 minutes playing some of their most constructive and progressive football of the current era. Had Jon Robinson been able to match precision with power first with a header and later with a volley, they could easily have gone into the break with a deserved and perhaps comfortable lead.
However, they were too often thwarted by a well-marshaled Ashton defence who presented the best organised back line in red since Rorke’s Drift aided and abetted by linesmen with a penchant for the offside flag – 20 in all against the Rams, suggested they were auditioning for the Royal Navy corps of semaphore signallers. The visitors had also showed that they were quick and sharp on the break but it took a combination of a poor clearance and a momentary loss of laser-like precision from the linesman to give them the opening goal seven minutes into the second half. By common consent, up to and including senior Ashton officials, Ben Deegan was well offside when put through but from the moment he raced clear from his advanced starting position, there was no doubt that the ball would end up where it finished – in the bottom corner.
The Rams could not recapture their first half momentum. Their one, and truthfully, only chance of regaining parity fell to Lee Gaskell a few minutes later but his cross shot from a narrow angle swerved just the wrong side of the far post with the keeper beaten. After the, the Rams attacks were as irritating as The Riverside midges but no more likely to cause real hurt or alarm to the visitors.
Any hope of a revival disappeared with 10 minutes left – Dale Johnson having the easiest of chances after the Rams defence had been shredded down the left. Then in added on time to add a bit of insult to injury, the substitute was given the benefit of the doubt with another offside flag, a marginal decision to the extent of at least five yards, and coolly shot past Grant Shenton.
So another disappointing evening down at the Riverside where you have to go all the way back to the balmy late November autumn days to find a home win in the league. It will be quite typical of the Rams to pick up some points in the next two difficult away matches at Curzon Ashton and Barwell but the fear is that the season will go into its frantic last week of three home matches against a mixture of fellow strugglers and relegated teams with them needing at least a win under real and mounting pressure.
Squeaky posterior time!
RAMSBOTTOM UNITED team: Grant Shenton (capt), George Bowyer, Lee Neville, Matthew Burke, Mark Ayres, Alex Frost, Kyle Harrop, Jamie Rother, Jon Robinson, Lee Gaskell, Osebi Abadaki. Subs: Tom Brooks, Phil Edghill (for Burke 73mins), Ian Bennett (for Rother 83mins), Jake Cliffe, Tom Hartley.
Referee: David Fisher (Preston)