The only thing to remember from an otherwise wholly forgettable match, in which both teams were as bad as each other in serving up a desultory brew, is that the Rams somehow came away with three more points.

The i2i Stadium
Saturday 4 March 2017
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One North
Attendance: 318

Frankly neither team deserved to win and the home team will no doubt be feeling somewhat bitter at coming away with nothing when the Rams only effort on target was the Lee Gaskell penalty which put them in front with just 10 minutes left – that is excluding the inexorable added on minutes that the referee contrived to find when all the fans wanted was the final whistle to bring the dregs of an undistinguished encounter to its end.

To be fair to both sides the pitch looked very much better than it played.  Players found it hard to turn and passes often held up and bobbled on the sandy surface.  Neither team were able to carve out a clear chance in open play and apart from Martin Fearon having to make a brave save low down in the closing moments and punch away a couple of dangerous crosses as Tadcaster applied some late pressure in the closing moments the keepers were largely unemployed with stout defending at both ends the order of the day.

In the circumstances it was inevitable that it would take an error to produce a goal.  In fact when it came it was from a double source.  The linesman had been increasingly prone to lag erratically behind the play and in no position to judge whether Darrhyll Mason’s clever curved run onto Matt Atherton’s through ball had eluded or been caught by the Tadcaster offside trap.  From there the winger’s run into the box lacked conviction and he had seemed to take the ball too far before being brought down from behind.  There could be no argument with the penalty decision.

Lee Gaskell, who has been back and forth to the HWRS almost as often often as a cross channel ferry sent the spot kick low to the corner but with a sufficient lack of power to allow Chandler Hallwood to get a firm hand to it but which only succeeded in pushing the ball into the side of the net.  It would be a mild understatement to say that the young keeper was a tad annoyed at not doing better.

Up to that point the nearest the Rams had come to scoring were two first half headers from Ryan Salmon.  The first at the far post from a corner lacked sufficient contact on the ball and slipped wide while the second a powerful effort from around the penalty spot arced just wide of the post with young Hallwood beaten.  But that was just about it despite Max Hazeldine clearly having the legs of his full back but unable to get enough possession in the right places.  For their part Tadcaster looked most dangerous when using the width of the pitch to isolate the Rams full backs but without an end product.

As the game progressed the quality deteriorated from undistinguished to dire both teams managing either to find opposition players with monotonous regularity or sending long passes that lacked nothing except precision.  Tadcaster tended to have the better of the second half play but the yeast in the Rams performance which ultimately fermented into the win was an outstanding effort in midfield by Dean Stott breaking up any number of attacks and imperious defending by Luke Thompson and Paul Linwood.

Whatever else could be said one thing is certain – the Rams are now a hard team to beat – and whisper it quietly are tending to look a little more comfortable and confident on their travels than at home at the HWRS where on Tuesday they face a tough challenge from high flying Farsley Celtic.

After that there is another tough away appointment at Brighouse.  The Rams have scored less and conceded more than all but two of the teams above them.  It would come as no surprise if play-off places were determined by goal difference so an improvement in that area may be as necessary as points from the games in hand.  There is no question other than that they will give it their best shot and whatever the outcome Mark Fell and his players will have delivered renewed pride in and connection with the supporters – and that in itself is no mean achievement.

Tadcaster Albion: Hallwood, Armstrong, Grant, Barrett, Anderson (capt), Ibrahimi, Youhill, Thirkell, Corner, Josh Greening, Sellars.  Subs: Stewart (for Ibrahimi 68mins), Shepherd (for Youhill 83mins), Hansen, Jeridi.

Ramsbottom United: Martin Fearon, Bradley Roscoe, Matthew Atherton, Dean Stott (capt), Luke Thompson, Paul Linwood, Max Hazeldine, Damien Green, Ryan Salmon, Lee Gaskell, Darrhyl Mason.  Subs: Webb, McKay, Oliver Crankshaw.


PICTURES from the GAME (courtesy of Frank Crook)

VIDEO from the GAME


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