FA Trophy First Qualifying Round

Saturday 27th October 2018


Attendance: 127

Report by Jon Haslam

West Yorkshire was the destination on Saturday afternoon as Ramsbottom United took a break from league action to take on a Frickley side in an intriguing looking FA Trophy tie at the Westfield Lane Stadium.

With the departure of leading scorer Jerome Wright to Hyde United in the lead up to the match the visitors starting eleven showed three alterations from the victory against Glossop seven days earlier with Luke Thompson, Jamie Rother and latest new recruit Antony Donaldson replacing the aforementioned Wright, Bembo-Leto and the injured Jack Higgs respectively.

It would be the Rams that would make the ideal start to the contest when on just seven minutes Rother sprayed a pass out to the right wing to Nialle Rodney who skilfully skipped past Algar before the wide mans tantalising low ball across the six yard box was diverted past home keeper Warhurst by the lunging Jameel Ible and into the back of the net to give the away side an early boost.

The early goal was no more than the visitors deserved as they dominated the opening twenty minutes with the Rams attacking players proving a headache for the Frickley defence as they struggled to contain the rampant visitors.

Firstly Ruben Jerome fired a shot just off target before superb link up play again gave Rodney a chance to test the home keeper but his effort was gathered by the home stopper. The one way feel of the contest in the Rams favour continued when Evangelinos headed straight at Warhurst from a superb cross from Kyle Jacobs before then same players shot narrowly wide of the target minutes later as the side from Lancashire dictated the first quarter of the contest.

Frickley were showing little sign of being the same attacking threat that had seen the home outfit score thirteen goals in their last four outings but did begin to offer something more as the first half wore on but with the Rams back four in fine form goal keeper Sam Ashton was being well protected and remained largely untroubled until the final notable action of the first half when a Szanto free kick from 25 yards out brought a diving save from the visiting custodian and the away side lead by a single goal at the break.

On a windy and bitterly cold afternoon in the White Rose county the second period resumed with the Frickley making two early substitutions as they looked to alter the complexion of the match but it would be the Rams that almost doubled their advantage in the opening minutes of the half when Jerome fired over when well placed.

With the home side let off the hook, Frickley then began to enjoy their best period of the match and for a ten minute period the Rams had to be at their robust best from a defensive perspective with Rowe having a header scrambled off the line before Ashton made a couple of flying saves from Smith and Hazel to prevent the home side restoring parity.

As the hour mark ticked by Ramsbottom United had repelled everything that the hosts had thrown at them as the defensive resilience shown under Chris Willcock is beginning to become evident whilst the lively attacking trio of Jerome, Evangelinos and Rodney were causing the home defence some concerns on the counter attack.

The Rams made their first change of the contest with Osi-Efa replacing the excellent Jamie Rother in midfield just after the hour point as the encounter was still finely poised with Frickley having their most sustained period of attacking play but the away team could and perhaps should have doubled their lead when Jerome shot wide of the target with the goal at his mercy.

Just two minutes later Ramsbottom United would increase their advantage when a raking 30 yard pass from Ryan Ellison perfectly connected to the run of Nialle Rodney who out muscled the Frickley right back before drilling an effort past Warhurst’s outstretched hand at the near post and the Rams forward had notched his third goal in three appearances to give the visitors from Lancashire some breathing space for the final 20 minutes.

The second goal appeared to demoralise the hosts as the away side continued to look a threat on the counter attack and appeared to get stronger as the match continued. Indeed the visitors almost added to their goal tally when Evangelinos brought an excellent save from Warhurst before the tie clinching strike arrived with just ten minutes remaining when another incisive Rams breakaway saw Ruben Jerome go through one on one with the home keeper before confidently slotting home his first goal in Ramsbottom United colours thereby sealing the tie and progression to the next round was confirmed.

The remaining ten minutes were fairly comfortable for the visitors with Jerome and Evangelinos being replaced by Rowe and Jarrett, the final chance of a comprehensive looking victory fell to new recruit Donaldson who almost capped off a promising debut with a goal but the outstretched foot of Warhurst denied the midfielder.

With the four minutes of the signalled injury time played the referee brought an end to proceedings as a convincing team performance deservedly sent Ramsbottom United into the next round of the FA Trophy with a scoreline that certainly didn’t flatter the visitors on the day.

The result made it five matches unbeaten under Chris Willcock as the new manager continues to reshape the Rams squad whilst the team continues to play some very watchable and entertaining football.

The players and travelling supporters showed their appreciation of each others efforts after the final whistle as they headed back over the Pennines looking forward to the next fixture away to Skelmersdale with hope that the recent form continues.

Ramsbottom United:- Ashton, Kennedy, Jacobs, Donaldson ,Thompson, Ellison, Rodney, Rother (Osi-Efa 60 mins), Jerome (Rowe 82 mins), Moran, Evangelinos (Jarrett 84 mins)

Unused Subs- Foulds, Gaskell

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