Evo Stik Premier West Division
Saturday 1st September 2018
MOSSLEY FC 1 RAMSBOTTOM UNITED 1
Report by Jon Haslam
Ramsbottom United made the trip to the foothills of the Pennines on Saturday afternoon to take on a Mossley side that had gained maximum points from their opening three league matches of the season.
The Rams starting line up was unchanged from their previous outing at Atherton on Bank Holiday Monday with skipper for the day Phil Dean proudly wearing the captains armband on his 300th appearance for Ramsbottom United.
It was indeed the visitors that fashioned the first goal scoring chance of the match with barely 3 minutes on the clock when a superb threaded pass from Higgs sent Jerome Wright through in the left hand channel but his low shot was blocked by home keeper Diba.
The early stages of the contest were fairly even with Mossley looking to put pressure on the away sides defence with their direct approach, it appeared from quite early on in the match that the home side would look to get the ball into the Rams penalty box as often as possible with long throws a weapon that would certainly not be under utilised by the home side.
With around a quarter of an hour played both teams exchanged attempts at goal with Brooks testing home stopper Diba with a low drive before a Mossley head flicked a long throw goal wards but Ashton was well positioned collect the ball.
The contest exploded into life with around the 20 minute mark when Mossley full back Downey and Ramsbottom United central defender Luke Thompson competed strongly for a loose ball in what looked a 50:50 challenge but referee Mr Ball decided that the Mossley player had fouled his Rams counterpart and issued Downey a red card much to the disbelief of all connected with the hosts.
With a man extra for the remaining 70 minutes of the match hopes were high amongst the travelling Rams that their favourites would make the most of their numerical advantage, minutes later the visitors almost took the lead when a stunning left footed shot from Wright beat Diba but hit the inside of the post before being scrambled to safety.
The remainder of the first half was played out with neither goalkeeper being seriously tested although it was clear Mossley were feeling very aggrieved at the sending off of Downey and would look to utilise their feeling of injustice to spur them on in the second half.
No sooner had the contest restarted than Mossley broke the deadlock when a right sided corner from former Ram Ben Richardson found Jones six yards from goal and the towering defenders downward header beat Ashton to give the ten men a lead to protect.
The early goal appeared to stun Ramsbottom United and the home side had an opportunity to double their lead when another corner caused consternation in the visitors rearguard as another header fizzed wide of Ashton post.
Manager Mark Fell responded with a change from the bench giving ex Bury and Rochdale player Tom Kennedy his competitive Rams debut in place of the ever industrious Jamie Rother as the away side chased an equaliser.
With just over an hour of the contest played the Rams would find a leveller when a shot from distance from Tom Brooks was blocked on route towards goal before falling kindly to Lee Gaskell whose low right footed drive beat the diving Diba to find the bottom corner of the net to give the striker his first goal of the season.
It was hoped that the equaliser would provide the Rams with the momentum to go and find a winning goal as Luke Jordan was introduced in place of Brown mid way through the second period.
As the minutes ticked by it was apparent that ten man Mossley were more than happy to settle for a point as they perhaps understandably attempted to slow play down whenever possible to deny the Rams any opportunity to gain any attacking impetus. With that said, the home outfit still looked to threaten the visitors goal from set pieced and long throws but the visitors defence protected Ashton
Although the away side had the majority of possession for the final quarter of an hour and despite the clever promptings from Kennedy clear chances were limited with Jordan sending a shot wide and man of the moment Dean going down in the penalty area but the referee waived away the muted shouts for a spot kick.
The final chance of a tempestuous encounter fell to the away side as with the five minutes of injury time almost up Jack Higgs sent a free kick wide of the target from around 25 yards out, shortly afterwards the referee brought an end to proceedings and both sides settled for a point apiece. Overall it would be difficult to suggest that either side did enough to take all 3 points in a hard fought contest between two sides hoping to improve on last seasons showing.
It should be noted that the Rams have garnered 4 points from their opening three away fixtures to date this season and it took until November 18th to get to that total in away matches in the previous campaign.
With Ramsbottom United finishing off a run of four consecutive away fixtures in less than two weeks the team have collected seven points from their opening four league matches and sit in eight position in the fledgling league table whilst having an FA Cup replay against Kidsgrove Athletic to look forward to on Tuesday night.
Ramsbottom United:- Ashton, Dean, Henry, Brooks (Stott 79 mins), Thompson, Ellison, Brown (Jordan 66 mins), Rother (Kennedy 56 mins), Gaskell, Higgs, Wright.
Subs not used- Downes, Deegan