Bet Victor Northern Premier League North West Division
Saturday 16th November 2019
Ramsbottom United 1 Runcorn Linnets 1
Report by Aaron Benson
A second-half Nic Evangelinos goal was enough to earn Ramsbottom United a point in a one-all draw with Runcorn Linnets. Evangelinos hit back with a second-half strike after Zachery Aley had given Runcorn the lead.
Chris Willcock made two changes to the side beaten 4-3 by Marine a fortnight ago. New signing Richie Baker made his debut while Mason Fawns dropped to the bench, while the other change saw Kelvin Lugsden replaced Daniel Murphy who was replaced in the last game after 25 minutes.
Runcorn made the brighter start to the encounter and could easily have opened the scoring within the opening 10 minutes. A Jack Hinnigan cross found Aley who could only head wide of the target. Playing in an unmissable orange strip Linnets continued to threaten the Rammy goal and the hosts were fortunate not to concede again when Paul Shanley found himself one on one with Tom Stewart. Fortunately for the Rams Shanley saw his effort deflect wide as the ball trickled towards the corner flag.
Ramsbottom were shown to be lacking a killer touch in the final third although their efforts were hard to fault. The nearest goalmouth action came when left winger Iywrah Gooden sent a flying header wide after making a clever run to the back post. Gooden then saw an effort blazed ever the bar after latching onto an Evangelinos pass.
Then in the 40th minute, Runcorn broke away and took the lead. Unmarked, left-back Aley made a marauding run into the six-yard box meeting a cross with a header that flew past the outstretched Stewart. The left-backs goal meant Rammy went into half time behind which on the balance of play was tough to stomach.
The home side came out firmly on the front foot in the second half through Jamie Rother and Reece Fishwick. Rother’s run from the midfield fed his fellow midfielder who was unable to hit the target. As the half progressed, the Rams looked short of quality in key moments. After winning a free-kick 20 yards out, Evangelinos blazed the ball onto the railway line out of the ground and Rother also fired a shot wide. When Evangelinos’s left foot shot again drifted over the bar from close range, it was looking like one of those days where the ball just wouldn’t find the net.
Yet Evangelinos was not to be beaten and the number 11 soon levelled for the men in blue. Gooden’s deflected effort found the striker who from burst the net with a fine finish. Deep into stoppage time, Kelvin Lugsden was denied a winner with an effort straight at Emery. It meant the rams had to settle for just the point despite their efforts.
Rams manager Willcock was pleased with the performance of his side even though they missed out on the win.
‘I thought we were excellent from start to finish. We limited them too few chances and our keeper has had nothing to do. The Linnets goal was a half-chance really, but it was a great header. Defensively we looked more solid and the work rate was fantastic, we deserved to win the game’.
‘I can’t get carried away with the result today. Hopefully, we can kick on from this as we looked more solid. I’ve got a lot of thinking to do with regards to the forward line and I haven’t said that for a while’.
‘What happened against Marine hurt them. We’ve had some great training sessions in midweek and we’ve limited our mistakes. Only conceding one goal will give the lads much-needed confidence going forward. Everyone can be more buoyant- the team and the fans. Today is a start, now let’s see if we can build on it’.
Ramsbottom United: Stewart, Hampson, Kennedy (Capt.), Moran (Hmami 90′), Thompson, Lugsden, Fishwick, Rother, Gooden (Naidole 76′), Baker, Evangelinos Subs not used: Fawns, Jones