EVO-STIK WEST DIVISION
SATURDAY 2ND MARCH 2019
RAMSBOTTOM UNITED 0 WIDNES 1
Report by Aaron Benson
Ramsbottom suffered back to back home defeats as they were beaten 1-0 by a resolute Widnes side on a frustrating afternoon in front of goal for Chris Willcock’s side.
Three changes were made to the team beaten by Colne the previous game. Ryan Ellison was recalled to the side along with Anthony Donaldson and Jason Carey whilst Kieran and Kelvin Lugsden dropped to the bench. Jamie Rainford was unavailable.
Having excelled at times under Willcock this season, the opening 45 minutes will be easily forgotten as few clear cut chances were created.
It took till the 20th minute for an attempt on goal, that coming from Kyle Jacobs. The Rams right back cut inside from the right to unleash a shot yet Widnes keeper Owen Wheeler matched the attempt with a well-drawn save. Midfielder Eddie Moran looked to build on the early momentum built by Jacobs, however the number four could only fire wide of the post.
Then in the 25th minute Jason Carey tried his look on the visiting goal, misfiring his shot wide of the post before from the following move, his latest attempt with a header failed to test Wheeler who was kept quiet during the first half.
Despite the home side enjoying the lion’s share of possession, Widnes had the best chance of the half. A Michael Grogan through ball found striker Ben Hodkinson, yet Sam Ashton kept the scoreline goalless with a brilliant double save. Widnes did put the ball over the line, but a handball in Ramsbottom’s favour meant the sides went into half time with the scoreline level.
Rammy came out firing in the second half and should have taken the lead in the 59th minute. A Jamie Rother cutback found Nic Evangelinos who saw his first effort blocked before drilling his second attempt wide of the post.
Rammy’s best chance came through striker Carey. Through on goal his effort failed to hit the target in a real let off for the visitors defence.
And Rammy were made to pay shortly after as Widnes took the lead in the seventy fourth minute. A defensive mix-up at the back led to Widnes striker Hodkinson intercepting the misplaced pass then followed up with a smart finish that beat Ashton at the far post.
Ramsbottom responded in strong fashion, but were left with a ‘what might have been feeling’ by the time referee Carl Rooney had blown the whistle for full time. Tom Kennedy tried his luck with a free kick and Ruben Jerome saw a header cleared off the line. With time ticking by, Evangelinos again blazed an effort over the bar before a last ditch Widnes challenge denied Jerome an equaliser which on the balance of play, the home side probably deserved.
Instead Rammy fell to another defeat and manager Willcock was not best pleased with his fourth league defeat as boss, all of which have come at home.
‘I thought first half we created one or two decent half chances when in previous games we would have taken them. Second half we upped the tempo and put the pressure on. Then they cleared a couple of chances off the line too.
‘But second half our quality was lacking at times, we rushed things far too often when another pass was needed’.
Defeats since Willcock’s arrival have been a rarity and the manager was not overly worried with the results of the past two games.
‘The lads were looking forward to the game today, ready to go out there and play. Next Saturday we go to Clitheroe, this is not a crisis of any sorts.
‘To be in with a shot at promotion the lads have done really well just to get to this point. All the other teams up there have had a three month start over us.
‘We’ve had a couple of defeats that’s all. But if we want to win next Saturday we’ll have to play a bit better in order to win. We’ll have two good training sessions this week. It’s all about winning and if we can, do it in style’.
Ramsbottom United team vs Widnes:- Ashton, Kennedy, Jacobs, Moran, Thompson, Ellison, Carey, Rother (Kieran Lugsden 70’), Jerome,Donaldson(Kelvin Lugsden 70’), Evangelinos
Unused Subs: Osi-Efa, Bembo-Leta, Schofield