BetVictor Northern Premier League North West Division
Tuesday 21st January 2020
Dunston 3 Ramsbottom United 2
Report by Tony Cunningham
The curse of thirteen struck Ramsbottom United for the second time in a week.
Having exited the Integro League Cup at Trafford the previous Tuesday, the team’s first defeat in all competitions at the thirteenth attempt, the long midweek trip up to Gateshead saw the Rams suffer their first League defeat in thirteen matches, as they failed to overhaul leaders Workington and grab top spot.
That was the incentive as the team made the journey up to mid-table Dunston for this rearranged game, with the original Saturday fixture having been called off back in November.
The home side started the game on the front foot with a couple of early chances, but it was the Rams who opened the scoring on the night as early as the 14th minute. In a goalmouth scramble, the final touch fell to leading scorer Nic Evangelinos who poked the ball home.
The lead did not last for long however, as just seven minutes later, a corner for the home side was initially well saved by Tom Stewart in the visitors goal, but Dunston centre-forward Heslop reacted quickest to the rebound to level the score.
On the half-hour mark the Rams once again took the lead, and again it was that man Evangelinos with a beauty of a screamer from outside the box that rattled the back of the net.
Holding a slender lead at the break, the east Lancashire side looked to extend that as the second half got under way. Iyrwah Gooden saw his header wonderfully palmed away by the home custodian, who was called into action moments later to prevent a third goal going in.
But that was as good as it got for the visitors, as Dunston began to exert pressure that had the away side on the back foot for the remainder of the game.
Another piece of poor defending allowed the home side to level the score again with Brooks netting from close range on the hour mark, and thirteen minutes later the comeback was complete, as Heslop notched his second of the night, again from close range, and the homesters were in the ascendancy.
Manager Chris Willcock threw on a couple of substitutes in Mason Fawns and newly- resigned Ben Richardson with ten minutes to go, replacing Gooden and Josh Hmami, and it was Fawns who came closest to grabbing a point when his turn and shot in the last minute sailed inches wide, but a point after a disappointing last 45 minutes, would probably have been undeserved.
So the failure to leapfrog over Workington makes this coming Saturday’s game all the more important.
The Reds arrive at the Harry Williams Riverside Stadium still in top spot, but just one point ahead of the Rams.
A big crowd is expected for what is certainly the League’s match-of-the-day which will see the winners top of the pile in what is increasingly becoming a fascination promotion chase in the closest the Division has been for many seasons.
Ramsbottom United: Stewart, Fishwick, Kennedy, Moran, Thompson, Lugsden, Gooden (Fawns 80mins), Rother, Jerome, Hmami(Richardson 80mins), Evangelinos. Subs not used: Jones, Naidole, Hampson.
THE BIG ONE!!!
SAT 25th Jan BetVictor NPL North West Division
THE TOP TWO BATTLE IT OUT AS THE PROMOTION RACE HOTS UP…..
RAMSBOTTOM UNITED v WORKINGTON 3.00pm
(Winner goes top of the table!)