Ramsbottom United notched three goals in the first half to ensure that the three points remained at the Harry Williams Riverside Stadium, as the club climbed the table to eighth, with games in hand.

On the back of their 7-1 home win on Saturday, the Rams came up against a Clitheroe side in good form, but a dominant first half decided this encounter in favour of the home team.

As early as the seventh minute the first chance fell to the Rams. A fine cross from the right by Dominic Smalley found Phil Dean, but his effort was blocked, and Jon Robinson could only head the subsequent cross wide.

The visitors responded well, with two chances falling to Scott Bakkor in quick succession, but on each occasion, Grant Shenton in the home goal was equal to the task.

Lee Gaskell and Grant Spencer, twice, looked to open the scoring with shots from the edge of the box before the first goal arrived on 21 minutes.

Dean raced down the left, skipping past three defenders, before sending in a low cross from the by-line which Spencer hammered home from just beyond the far post.

Four minutes later, it was two.

Owen Roberts high cross into the box was met by Robinson, and his looping header sailed over Josh Ollerenshaw in the visitors goal and into the empty net.

The home side continued to dominate, as first Gaskell played in Spencer but Ollerenshaw held his drive, then Gaskell, himself, fired in from 20 yards leaving the custodian to dive low to his right to keep the ball out.

A third goal wasn’t long in coming.

On 32 minutes, Smalley sent in another perfect cross from the right which found Robinson. He struck the ball, but a defender stepped in to block it, but only succeeded in deflecting it high over everyone and into the net.

Billy Priestley thought he had added a fourth, only to see his header nodded off the line with the keeper beaten.

Two half-time substitutions by Clitheroe, followed by a third early in the half saw the second period much more evenly matched.

Smalley turned defender when he scooped an effort from one of the substitutes, Danny Morton, off the line, whilst an in-swinging corner from another substitute, player-manager Simon Garner, tested Shenton, who was forced to punch it over the bar.

The visitors forced the home side on the back foot for the opening 20 minutes of the half without reward, before the home side gradually began to re-assert themselves.

Gaskell was unlucky when he saw his looping header strike the bar, whilst on 72 minutes the home side should have notched a fourth.

As the Rams cleared their lines, the ball sailed through for Jordan Hulme, who raced through on goal. Ollerenshaw managed to stop the initial effort, but Dean following up scooped the ball wildly over the bar with an empty net beckoning.

Gaskell could not direct his header goalwards from a Spencer cross, and he then saw a goal-bound shot blocked before the visitors finally scored the goal their second half performance deserved.

The ball fell for Lloyd Dean fifteen yards out, and unmarked, he swept the ball past Shenton to reduce the arrears.

The final word, however, belonged to the home side. Gaskell, having taken too long to make up his mind when presented with an ideal opening to notch the fourth, finally did so three minutes into time added on.

A back pass to the keeper was fumbled by Ollerenshaw, and the predatory Gaskell was on hand to pounce and drive the loose ball home to make the final score 4-1.

Ramsbottom United: Shenton, Dean, Roberts, Stopforth(Toth 82mins), Warrender, Priestley, Smalley, Robinson(Pilkington 79mins), Gaskell, Hulme(Brooks 79mins), Spencer. Subs not used: Warburton, Bradbury

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