Pre Season Friendly

Saturday 4th August 2018


Report by Jon Haslam

Ramsbottom United suffered a heavy defeat in their penultimate pre season game on Saturday afternoon at the hands of Pontefract Collieries who have just been promoted to the Evo Stik Northern Premier League East Division.

The Rams got off to the worst possible start and fell behind with barely two minutes on the clock when a defensive mix up gave the unmarked Daly a simple tap in at the far post.

Pontefract would double their advantage before the ten minute mark when a free kick was played in the Rams penalty area before finding the head of Picton whose downward header beat Ashtons dive as the home sides early pressure was turned into a deserved early two goal lead.

The visitors were struggling for any real fluency as they attempted to recover from the early double strike but then out of nowhere a ball over top of the home defence found the pacey Marie who broke the offside trap and confidently lofted the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper to half the arrears and register his third goal in his last three matches.

With the Rams looking to gain some confidence their plans where disrupted somewhat on 25 minutes when Luke Thompson had to limp out of the action to be replaced by Jamie Rother resulting in captain Dean Stott dropping back to a central defensive berth.

The game continued to be an open affair with the home side looking the more threatening, indeed Sam Ashton was forced to make a fine low save with around ten minutes remaining in the first half.

The Rams best attacking moments involved Luke Jordan whose pace was proving a useful outlet for the Rams although the home keeper wasn’t really asked any serious questions with both Marie and the angular trialist (number 10) not having too many clear sights of goal.

Sadly the next goal of an open contest would go to the home side five minutes before the interval when an incisive through ball found the impressive Hey who coolly slotted the ball past Ashton to restore the hosts two goal advantage at the half way point.

As the contest resumed and with a certain amount of symmetry the Rams contrived to present the home side with a fourth goal five minutes after the break when a sliced clearance from Ashton was pounced on by the hosts and after a neat interchange Redford made the visitors pay for their mistake as he converted with a low drive which found the corner of the net.

Ramsbottom United flickered into life briefly with Jordan again stretching the home defence before arguably the best piece of play from the visitors resulted in a superb cross from Wright which found Marie who was denied from close range before the Rams trialist forward couldn’t smuggle the ball over the line when a goal seemed inevitable.

As the second period reached the half way point Pontefract increased their advantage further when Hey again controlled the ball well before firing a shot past Ashton for this second goal of the game with the Rams defence looking in disarray.

As the game continued towards the final quarter of an hour both sides made a number of substitutions which seemed to benefit Pontefract more than the day trippers from Lancashire.

Unfortunately the punishment wasn’t finished there for the visitors as a long through ball again caught out the Rams backline and Redford lobbed the ball over the onrushing and worryingly vulnerable Ashton to make the score 6-1 to the hosts with just over five minutes remaining.

With almost the last kick of the match Pontefract added a seventh when Knights low drive beat Ashton, shortly afterwards the referee thankfully blew his final whistle to put an end to a chastening defeat for Ramsbottom United.

As the Rams made their way home over the Pennines contemplating a miserable trip to Yorkshire even the most ardent Ramsbottom United supporter would find it difficult to find any positives from a performance that will be a cause for concern with the league campaign only two weeks away.

Ramsbottom United:- Ashton, Trialist (Trialist 46 mins) Henry,Stott, Thompson (Rother 25 mins), Ellison, Jordan, Higgs (Brooks 64 mins), Marie (Gaskell 79 mins) , Trialist (Trialist 79 mins) Wright.

Match action photos will be available shortly!

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