Evo-Stik League West Division
Saturday 29th September 2018
KENDAL TOWN 2 RAMSBOTTOM UNITED 2
Report by Jon Haslam
It was Kendal calling as Ramsbottom United made the journey up the M6 to Cumbria on Saturday afternoon with the home side looking to exact some revenge on their visitors from Lancashire after an injury time winner gave the Rams the three points less than three weeks ago at the HWRS.
The visitors gave a debut to new recruit Curtis Jones who slotted into the back line from the midweek loss to Trafford at the expense of Alex Downes , the other change saw Tom Brooks replacing Jamie Rother in the Rams midfield.
With both sides finding victories difficult to come by in recent weeks the contest began in a cagey fashion with neither goalkeeper being called into action until just after the ten minute mark when Clarke and then ex Ram Aaron Fleming brought a couple of routine saves from Ashton in the visiting goal.
After a dozen goalless minutes it was Ramsbottom United that would edge in front when a tantalising inswinging right wing cross from Nathan Brown fractionally evaded Lee Gaskells head before finding Jerome Wright at the far post, the midfielders first attempt bounced off the post before falling kindly to the same player who bundled the ball over the line from around two yards out despite the valiant attempts of the Kendal defence to keep the ball from entering their net.
With the Rams gaining the early advantage hopes were high that the away side would consolidate their position which was almost improved midway through the first period when a well struck 25 yard free kick from Nathan Brown beat Dixon in the Kendal goal but clipped the top of the crossbar much to the relief of the home fans in a crowd of just over 100.
As the half progressed and kicking down a significant slope the hosts won a couple of free kicks just outside the Rams penalty area, the first of which hit the side netting from Thomas before Fleming brought a comfortable low save from Ashton and despite Kendal having perhaps more possession of the ball the hosts found it difficult to create any clear goal scoring opportunities with half time approaching.
Ramsbottom United would double their lead on the stroke of the interval when a well worked corner by Jack Higgs found Jerome Wright whose unchecked run generated enough room for a low left footed shot which found its way between a couple of sets of legs before squirming underneath Dixon in the home goal and over the line with Tom Brooks claiming the final touch but the Rams leading scorer from last season had his second goal of the game and the visitors had a two goal lead to enjoy at the half way stage.
As expected Kendal returned after the break seeking to rectify the situation and it would be a test of the Rams resolve if they were to leave Cumbria with all the three points on offer.
Within ten minutes of the restart the Mintcakes had halved the arrears when a quickly taken free kick seemed to catch out the Rams rearguard with the subsequent cross finding Harries at the back post and the strikers cross shot fell kindly for the unmarked Gardner who had the simple task of tapping past Ashton and the visitors lead had been halved.
After four matches without a goal the strike appeared to give Kendal all the encouragement they needed to believe that there was still a chance that they could take something from the match with Ramsbottom United finding it difficult to keep possession of the ball and therefore temper the home sides attacking momentum.
Manager Mark Fell made a change shortly after the hour point of the encounter with Dean Stott replacing Jack Higgs which coincided with an adjustment in formation as the Rams looked to get more of a foothold in the contest in the hope of preserving their increasingly slender advantage.
Sadly Ramsbottom United would surrender their two goal half time lead on 73 minutes when a vicious right wing cross from full back McMahon was diverted past Sam Ashton by the outstretched boot of recent acquisition Kyle Jacobs giving the Rams stopper no chance and the home side had come back from a two goal deficit to restore parity in perhaps fortunate circumstances.
With the game entering the final ten minutes the Rams had an opportunity to regain the lead but Browns free kick sailed narrowly past the angle of post and crossbar.
With the palpable irritation of throwing away a two goal half time lead surfacing a flurry of bookings for the visitors increased the frustration levels as Kendal pushed for a winner which looked at best unlikely at the break.
As the clock showed five minutes remaining the Rams fashioned their best chance of the half when a fortunate ricochet fell kindly for Nathan Brown who surged past his marker and into the penalty box before firing an angled shot past the diving Dixon but agonizingly also past the far post for a goal kick. This incident was maybe an indication of how the second forty five minutes had gone for the Rams as they failed to trouble the home keeper in the second period.
With almost the five minutes of signalled injury time played Kendal almost snatched a winner when substitute Chilufya seized on a defensive slip before crossing into the penalty area where a goal bound effort was blocked by the ever reliable Luke Thompson and both sides had to settle for a point apeice as the referee brought proceedings to a conclusion.
The Rams made their way home surely feeling a huge sense of frustration and that this was two points dropped rather than one point gained as a seemingly commanding two goal interval lead was squandered with a disappointing second half performance, credit must be given to Kendal who never gave up and arguably deserved a share of the spoils over the 95 minutes.
Ramsbottom United:- Ashton, Kennedy, Jacobs, Higgs (Stott 63 mins), Thompson, Jones, Brown, Brooks, Gaskell, Wright, Dean
Subs not used- Rother, Downes, Foulds , Henry