RAMSBOTTOM UNITED 0 CHESTER FC 1
Attendance – 190
Ramsbottom United welcomed back familiar faces both on and on the field as former managers Bernard and Jonno brought their new club Chester FC to the Riverside for a pre season friendly on Tuesday night.
Both lines up showed a mixture of well known players, new signings and the obligatory trialists as preparations for the new season began in earnest with a hard fought encounter settled by a penalty just after the hour mark in favour of the National League North outfit.
Sadly the contest began in unwelcome fashion for Greg Daniels as the forward limped off before the ten minute mark to be replaced by Lee Gaskell.
The opening exchanges began competitively but goal scoring chances were at a premium as both sides struggled to test the respective goal keepers, although it was substitute Gaskell who had the first effort of note for the hosts but his effort sailed over the crossbar.
Chester perhaps had the better of the possession in the first quarter of the game without seriously threatening the Rams goal as the visitors toiled for any rhythm in their attacking forays.
Ramsbottom United began to cause the away sides defence some concerns as Luke Thompson headed wide from a Wright corner before Wright threatened from the left wing but his shot narrowly missed the target.
With the interval approaching the Rams trialist keeper was called into action to make a smart save from Smalley, there was still time remaining for a Chester striker to be put through one on one but his toe poke struck the frame of the goal as the half finished goal less.
The second period began with the home side on the front foot as Jerome Wright again burst through into the penalty area after good work down the left touchline but his low shot was repelled by ex Rams favourite Grant Shenton.
As is often the case with early pre-season matches the match real fluency although it could be argued that the main thing on such occasions is to avoid serious injuries and get minutes on the pitch as the build up to the seasons opener is the main objective.
With the inevitable flurry of substitutions occurring and the clock ticking just beyond the hour mark Chester would make the breakthrough when former Ram Gary Stopforth was adjudged to have been tripped by Henry and the referee pointed to the penalty spot where Pritchard made no mistake sending the keeper the wrong way with a calm left footed strike and the visitors had the lead.
The goal appeared to give Chester some confidence in the final third as substitute Mahon stung the palms of the Rams stopper before Hughes fired wide as the visitors looked to increase their advantage.
With 20 minutes remaining the referee awarded Chester a second spot kick when Dean bundled over Hughes in the area, again it was Pritchard who stepped up but this time it was a different outcome as the penalty flew over the cross bar and into the trees behind the goal.
As the match drew towards its conclusion home forward Marie fired in a low shot which was comfortably saved by the Chester keeper as numerous substitutions punctuated the remaining quarter of an hour, the contest ended with the visitors pushing unsuccessfully for a second goal but still remaining narrow winners by a single goal.
The Rams put in a promising performance considering it was the squads first 90 minutes together and should take some positives from the evening as both sets of players look forward to their respective seasons beginning in the coming weeks.
Ramsbottom United:- Trialist, Henry, Dean, Trialist, Thompson , Ellison, Jordan, Trialist, Marie, Daniels, Wright.
Subs- Stinca (GK), Foulds, Brooks, Rother, Trialist, Standring, Gaskell