BetVictor Northern Premier League North West Division
Saturday 14th March 2020
Marine 0 Ramsbottom United 1
Report by Aaron Benson
A late 88th-minute winner from Jamie Rother saw Ramsbottom produce arguably their finest win of the season with a 1-0 victory over fellow promotion candidates Marine. Rother became the Rams super-sub scoring only minutes after coming onto the pitch with a decisive finish in a game that looked to be heading for a goalless draw. With the same eleven that beat Kendal the week previous this was the second consecutive match, Chris Willcock’s side claimed three points late on.
Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic causing havoc in all corners of the globe, a wonderful crowd of 677 was present on Merseyside to see two of the dominant sides in the division lock horns. The expected fireworks from the respective sides were lacking fizz in the opening stages as goalkeepers Daniel Atherton and Tom Stewart was left with little work to do as both defensives stood firm.
The largest appeal of the first 30 minutes came when Marine had a penalty appeal turned down. Turning towards the goal, Niall Cummins met an ambitious forward ball and was caught by Kelvin Lugsden. Fortunately for the number six referee, Nik Storey was not be won over by the appeals from the home players or supporters.
On a rare chance going forward, the visitors could have taken the lead. Iyrwah Gooden almost capitalised on a defensive slip-up before Atherton was able to clear the danger. Defensive stalwart Luke Thompson was the sides star man with multiple blocks and clearances throughout whilst keeping the attacking duo of Neil Kengni and Niall Cummins at bay.
The second half was a sharp contrast to the first with both sides playing free-flowing football and looking dangerous whenever they went forward. The half began with Rammy carving out what seemed to be the best chance of the game before Rother scored. Gooden found himself one on one with the goalkeeper yet despite lifting the ball over the Atherton’s head, Mariners left-back James Joyce produced a goal-saving block to steer the ball wide of goal. Slowly becoming the dominant team Richard Baker saw an effort blocked by Anthony Miley and Reuben Jerome was only a hairs width away from a shot before Atherton denied all hopes of an opener putting both his hands and body over the ball.
As the game slowly started to open up, the home side created their good chance. Splitting the Rams defence, Kengni was left with an open goal on the edge of the box only to misfire the shot wide in a huge wake-up call for Willcock’s men. However, Stewart was called into action moments later making a big reflex save from a towering Miley header. The centre back was turning into the greatest threat from set-pieces, his back-post header from the next corner failed to find any attacking player although had any black and gold man met the ball a goal would have surely followed. With both teams turning the screw when on the front foot, Reece Fishwick stung the palms of Atherton with a long-distance attempt as he tried to rifle the ball home.
With the two defences cracking at the surface, Edward Cooper was the next man on the scene who hoping to score. Fine touch and control all so typical of Evangelinos assisted Cooper, however, the final piece of play was not a testament to the clever forward run the number four made. Richard Baker was also in on the action yet he was only able to drag a shot straight into the arms of Atherton.
All the hard work of Ramsbottom paid off with a goal from Rother. The ball was worked beautifully to the by-line where Cooper’s cut-back found the club stalwart who held his nerve and burst the net, queuing a cacophony of noise from the ultras behind the goal. Holding out successfully in the final minutes, an almighty celebration soon followed at the full time between everyone connected with the team, showing just what a wonderful community club Ramsbottom United are.
Ramsbottom United – Stewart, Fishwick, Kennedy, Cooper, Thompson, Lugsden, Gooden (Fawns 75′), Baker, Jerome (Richardson 90′), Hmami (Rother 82′), Evangelinos
Unused subs – Hampson & Jones