BetVictor Northern Premier League North West Division
Monday 26th August 2019
Ramsbottom United 1 Trafford 0
Report by Jon Haslam
The busy start to the new season continued as Trafford were the visitors to the Riverside on a sweltering Bank Holiday Monday as both sides lined up for their fourth match in the opening nine days of the season.
The home outfit showed four alterations to the side which drew against Winsford in the FA Cup 48 hours earlier with Sam Adetiloye, Eddie Moran, Teddy Perkins and Khalil Osi Efa gaining starting berths at the expense of Bleau, Lent, Naidole and Fawns.
It would be Trafford who began the contest positively as the Shawe View outfit looked for their point of their league campaign whilst looking to build on their FA Cup victory two days earlier but the first quarter of an hour lacked any serious attempts on goal to trouble either goal keeper.
However, moments the Rams almost broke the deadlock when Ruben Jerome collected a pass before turning smartly away from his marker and firing a low shot from just inside the penalty area but Cooper in the visitors goal was equal to the effort as the in form striker looked to continue his hot streak in front of goal.
The opening quarter of this evenly fought match struggled to live up to the early stages of previous games this season which has seen goals regularly hitting the back of the net in the opening twenty minutes or so and with Trafford looking fairly solid in defence the only other further effort worthy of note occurred when Irywah Gooden received a pass from Eddie Moran but the in form wide mans shot flew off target and with half an hour played the score line was blank.
Shortly after the thirty minute mark arrived perhaps the best chance of the contest arrived when Gooden again was at the centre of the action when Trafford played out from the back and a forward pass was intercepted by the hosts winger whose surging run took him past a couple of retreating defenders but sadly the shot lack the necessary direction to trouble Cooper in the away goal.
The remainder of the first period contained plenty of endeavour from both outfits and could best be described as a cagey encounter, the rare sight of the teams taking a water break gave the participants a welcomed if short rest. With goalmouth action at a premium the opening forty five minutes came to a conclusion with the stifling conditions maybe the winner, allied to the fact that both teams had played a match in similar conditions just two days ago it was perhaps little surprise the game was goal less at the interval.
As both sides re-emerged from the break unchanged Trafford made a bright start to the second half and fashioned their best chance of the match when Gabidon worked some space down the left wing before sending an inviting cross into the path of the onrushing Darius Palma but somehow the winger failed to convert from close range and the Rams had been given a reprieve.
The home side showed two debutants in defence with Sam Adetiloye having an accomplished bow at right back for the hosts and alongside Kelvin Lugsden in central defence was Burnley loanee Teddy Perkins who also had a promising debut for the Rams, despite the youngster picking up a booking for an over zealous challenge the former Orient player looked as though he will be a very useful addition whilst gaining some valuable first team experience during his stay at The Riverside which hopefully can benefit both parties.
With the temperature gauge rising it became more apparent that the use of both substitute benches may ultimately have a positive influence on the remaining thirty minutes with neither goalkeeper being called into any serious action, the Rams were first to dip into the replacements available when Nic Evangelinos took the place of Karl Jones but in truth the longer the game progressed the more it appeared as though one goal may prove decisive.
Trafford responded with two changes of their own as manager Tom Baker looked to introduce fresh legs around the three quarter mark of the game, Ramsbottom United perhaps looked the more likelier side to break the deadlock and Gooden had a spectacular scissor kick attempt which sailed over the crossbar after a Tom Kennedy corner fell kindly to the youngster on the edge of the penalty area.
Then, with just over a quarter of an hour remaining superb closing down by Ruben Jerome allowed the forward to dispossess visiting defender Sam Egerton and as the striker ran towards goal the recovering Trafford player brought down the Rams in form striker and the hosts had a free kick just outside the penalty area. Not only did the referee issue a caution to Egerton but things got worse for the visitors when up stepped Tom Kennedy to use his talented left foot to perfectly beat the defensive wall and also the despairing dive of Cooper to find the bottom corner of the net for the Ex Bury and Rochdale players first goal of the season.
Indeed, Trafford would have every reason to have a feeling of deja-vu as the Rams skipper has now netted in the last three meetings between the two sides having scored in both matches last season at Shawe View, the first being in the FA trophy and the second in the league fixture in February.
The remaining minutes of a tightly fought encounter saw Trafford inevitably push forward looking to restore parity but a well marshalled defence and the often overlooked continuous work rate of the Rams midfield with Jamie Rother and Eddie Moran at their industrious best the hosts restricted Trafford to just one effort on target which was easily dealt with by Tom Stewart in the home goal.
As the additional time ticked away the Rams were nevertheless delighted to hear the final whistle as Chris Willcocks charges are one of only three teams that have a 100% record after three league games but the sides first clean sheet of the season may well please the management equally as much as the 3 points on offer.
With Ramsbottom United now sitting second or joint top in the fledgling league table it is worthy of mention that this is the first time the club have claimed victories in their first three league outings of a season since 1996.
The Rams will be hopeful of continuing the excellent start to the season as they make the trip to face Pontefract Collieries on Saturday 31st August.
Ramsbottom United- Stewart, Adetiloye, Kennedy (Capt), Moran, Perkins, Lugsden, Gooden (Moncrieffe 88 mins), Rother, Jerome, Osi-Efa (Fawns 75 mins), Jones (Evangelinos 55 mins)
Subs not used- Chukwu, Doran