Market Drayton Town 1 Ramsbottom United 3.
Saturday 22nd December 2018
Evo-Stik West Division
Referee Tom Elliott
Report by Damien Barlow
DEFENSIVE ERRORS GIFT WRAP 3 POINTS FOR THE RAMS AHEAD OF FESTIVE PERIOD
A tradition of recent years has seen market visits in the build up to Christmas include luke warm wine, over priced hot-dogs and more than enough ill-fitting festive items of clothing. Fortunately for everyone inside the Greenfields Sports Ground, which entails a picturesque drive to reach, non of these unpleasentries were in sight, and as Chris Willcock and his team arrived in town keen to build on their mid-week cup exploits and a run of 1 defeat in 15 games since he joined the club, the only mulling was whether another 3 points would be won. Todays game sees the return fixture from the opening day of the season, and is worth noting that only 4 players who featured that day for Ramsbottom survive to tell the tale today.
There were 2 changes for todays match, seeing Kelvin Lugsden and Jamie Rainford installed to the starting 11, the latter in place of Nialle Rodney who suffered an ankle injury midweek. Rainford now occupying the vacant wide right slot with Jerome operating through the middle. The hosts got proceedings underway in what was an unusually pleasent day weather wise for the time of year.
The first chance to send a ball into the area was presented to the away side as Evangelinos was tripped just inside the opposision half, and as Kennedys ball dropped 12 yards out, the head of Thompson couldn’t give the visitors the perfect start and Springthorpe easily collected. Another free kick saw Kennedy opt for the short option and rolled the ball forward towards half way for Donaldson to collect and turn and move forward assessing what lay ahead, Rainford offered the perfect outlet wide right, and only a Drayton defender clearing the eventual cross prevented the best move of the day ending in celebration. On the break from that move presented the home side with the best clear cut chance, and for all of Ramsbottoms pressure and territory they could have found themselves in deficit, thankfully Sam Ashton earned his keep and expertly saved low to his left to deny Harvey Howell from 7 yards out.
The Rams responded well, and continued to build momentum amidst the free kicks and more direct approach from their counterparts, and as Tom Kennedy sent a teasing inswinging corner towards the dangerzone, it was Thompson again who was first to the ball but his free header somehow found the chest of The Gingerbread Mens stopper.
As the first half started to settle down more, the away side looked the more comfortable, and although no real furthur assaults on the scoreline had been offered, there was a sense that the first goal would be very important. After conceding 10 goals in the last 2 games, an away goal could knock the hosts confidence and see the away side run away with the game. A home goal and they’d have apoint to prove and something to defend.
Ruben Jerome became the first recipient of a card from the referee, a trip on Matthew Ballard, saw his reaction to an earlier coming-together see him on a disciplinary tightrope. The resulting free kick almost proved more costly than a yellow card fine, as somehow 3 Market Drayton players found unmarked space at the back post, and unintentionally got in each others way and as the ball bounced along the 6 yard line another on-rushing attacker just failed to make contact which would surely have been the opening goal.
Moments later on 36 minutes the break through was thrust upon us, as a fortunate corner that was awarded to Drayton, when Tom Elliott deemed Ellisons attempted clearence had bounced back off him and out of play, was easily gathered by Ashton, his quick thinking and even quicker clearence into enemy lines saw Jamie Rainford and Paul Mcmullen shoulder to shoulder and as the panicking defender attempted to divert the danger he unceremoniously sent the ball past Springthorpe and Rammy were up and running for what would be a mad 10 minutes.
MARKET DRAYTON 0 RAMSBOTTOM 1
4 minutes later and the season of goodwill continued from the Market Drayton back line. After successfully seeing off a couple of corners, a straight forward ball from the right was strangely headed straight back accross his own 6 yard line, completley wrong footing his team mates and as Jerome gleefully accepted this unexpected bow wrapped present.
MARKET DRAYTON 0 RAMSBOTTOM 2
The 2 goal cushion now allowed Ramsbottom to enjoy more controlled possession, with Rainford being utilised more than most. He and Ellison showing good understanding and were working the right side well. Donaldson became the next to receive a card for what can only be described as a ‘forwards tackle’. The 88 loyal on-lookers were given another example of Rammys play from the back and through the thirds philosopy just before the break. Eddie Moran picked the ball up from Kennedy and moved towards half way smoothly playing the ball into Rother’s path who inturn continued the balls journey out wide into space for Rainford to latch on to, unfortunately the move broke down on the edge of the home sides area.
As 45 minutes ticked ever closer the game was put beyond doubt. As Tom Kennedy made his way over to the right for another corner words of wisdom were fresh in his ears from Thompson who then made his way into position. The resulting corner was met firmly by the Rammy No5, and third time lucky for him, finally got his rewards.
MARKET DRAYTON 0 RAMSBOTTOM 3
As the first half was brought to a close, an unassailable lead which 10 minutes earlier no one could have forseen, was surely a too big a mountain for Market Drayton to climb in the second half. One highlight not many would have bared witness to, was 3 of the sub’s warming up, and whilst doing their stretches in the corner, a conversation broke out between them about the frequency of their hair dresser visits and how often they have their eye brows done. You know who you are lads!
As Ramsbottom got the second half started, no changes had been made by either side, however, Rainford was now up top with Jerome wide right. The first half chance of the second half came as Ryan Ellison broke down the right and deftly lifted the ball over the defender for Rainford to run onto but the bounce took the ball away from him and into the keepers grasp. Evangelinos was next to run at the home back line, and as he cut inside and rolled the ball towards Donaldson, he tried his luck from 25 yards, but was unlucky as his effort whistled past the upright. Drayton were now looking for the goal that would allow them to try and build on and as Glynn Coney wriggled free and got to the byline, his effort to pick out a team mate waas unsucsessful, but acted as a warning to the vistors that there was still a job to do.
60 minutes saw the first change for Rammy as Kyle Jacobs replaced Luke Thompson.
65 minutes second sub for Rammy, new signing Richard Brodie on for Ruben Jerome.
73 minutes and the final change of personel sees Kieran Lugsden take the place of Anthony Donaldson.
Over the next 7 or so minutes the referee kept up his christmas spirit and continued to hand out cards. The first was a yellow for new boy Brodie for a clumsy mis-timed challenge, the second wasn’t, and certainly had him instanty removed from a few of the visitors lists.
81 minutes saw the most notable talking point of the half, as a percentage ball was sent forward the front, and seemed to get between Ellison and Ashton, and whilst the striker escaped the attention of both and got a shot away, which ended up hitting the side netting, the official saw fit to then bring back play, award a penalty and issue a stright red for Ellison for supposedly tugging on his opponents shirt. The spot kick was converted cooly by Coney sending Ashton the wrong way. Ramsbottom had to see out the final minutes with a man dis-advantage, in a game which had never looked beyond doubt.
Jamie Rainford had on 88 minutes a great opportunity to restore the 3 goal cushion as good work down the left saw him receive the ball left side of the area, worked his space really well and curled a shot away towards the far stanchion, only to see his effort go just wide.
The full time whistle sounded not long after, signalling another well earned 3 points for the Rams as they head into a Riverside festive double header, firstly with top of the table Radcliffe on boxing day and then 2nd place Atherton Colleries on New Years Day.
May I take this opportunity on behalf of myself and the rest of the match reporting team to wish you all a Happy and safe Christmas.
Team :- Ashton, Kennedy (c), Ellison, Moran, Thompson, Lugsden K, Rainford, Rother, Jerome, Donaldson, Evangelinos.
Subs not used :- Khalil Osi-Efa, Bembo-Leta.