Integro League Cup First Round
Tuesday 7th January 2020
Ramsbottom United 2 Bamber Bridge 1
Report by Jon Haslam
It was midweek Cup action as a much changed Ramsbottom United side took on Bamber Bridge in this League cup tie that was originally scheduled to be played back in September.
With only four players remaining from the weekends victory over Pickering the Rams starting eleven had a different look about it with two players from the clubs development squad making their senior competitive debuts in the shape of central defender Ben Stanton and left back Will Alberto alongside some squad members who would undoubtedly would benefit from some minutes on the pitch.
The opening ten minutes were fairly even but visiting keeper Roccia was called into action when Iyrwah Gooden forced the Brig number one into a flying save to deny the Rams winger the games opening goal as the first shot on target was registered.
It would be the visitors who had an eye catching 4-0 away win at Radcliffe at the weekend who almost broke the deadlock shortly before the twenty minute mark when a cross from the right found the head of Marlow but the widemans header bounced off the crossbar and in the aftermath the away side claimed for a penalty but referee Hussein saw no infringement and the game was goal less at the quarter mark of the contest.
On a blustery evening both sides traded attempts at goal with Blackpool loanee Rowan Roache forcing home gloveman Brad Wade into a smart save before Gooden again brought the best out of Bamber Bridge stopper Roccia with another well struck effort similar to the shot earlier in the half but in the main defences were on top for the opening half hour of this keenly contested tie.
Ramsbottom United then produced some excellent passing to create a couple of long distance efforts but neither from Reece Fishwick and Eddie Moran asked too much from the visitors keeper but gave the hosts hope that their superb recent form could be continued at the expense of their opponents from a league further up the league pyramid.
With the half time interval just five minutes away the Rams had the ball in the net after some good link up play by Greg Daniels gave Jamie Rother a sight of goal and the midfielders crisp shot was parried by Roccia and Irywah Gooden was on hand to tap the ball into the net before the officials fluttering flag halted the home sides celebrations.
Then, shortly before the interlude the home side edged in front when a typically clever piece of skill and astute forward pass from the returning Greg Daniels opened up the Bamber Bridge defence and midfielder Daniel Naidole capitalised by running through on goal to confidently slide the ball beyond the onrushing Roccia and open the scoring to give the hosts the lead in a tight first period.
As the game restarted Bamber Bridge manager Jamie Milligan who has brought about a noticeable upturn in fortunes for the side from The Sir Tom Finney Stadium since his appointment around a month ago were looking to build on three consecutive away wins the league so a tough second half awaited the Rams.
In the early minutes of the second period the away side looked to get into their attacking stride but the Ramsbottom United rearguard were frustrating the Brig side and despite two debutants in the backline the visitors found it tough to breach a well organised defence with Ben Stanton and Will Alberto showing great promise and both youngsters looking very assured on their respective first competitive starts for the first team.
Indeed after a number of off target efforts from Bamber Bridge it was almost at the hour point when Bradly Wade in the hosts goal was forced into any action of note in the second period when a Roache shot looked goalbound but the youngster on loan from local neighbours Rochdale responded with a save to deny the forward an equaliser, shortly afterwards a corner found the head of Phil Doughty but the Brig defenders header was collected comfortably by the Rams keeper.
With the three quarter point reached there was a flashpoint in the visitors penalty area when an offside flag brought a swift Rams counter attack to an end but visiting keeper Roccia appeared to make heavy contact with Iyrwah Gooden after the referees whistle had sounded, a bout of pushing and shoving ensued with numerous players involved but thankfully the incident didn’t escalate into anything serious.
As the encounter ticked towards the last fifteen minutes both managers made double substitutions with two more members of the Ramsbottom United Development squad getting their competitive first team bows with battling midfielder Matthew Royle replacing the excellent Will Alberto and 16 year old goal keeper Jake Parsisson taking the place of Wade between the sticks.
Then with the clock showing eighty minutes the decisive moment of the contest arrived when Reuben Jerome replaced Greg Daniels who again showed some sublime touches and will be happy to have got more minutes under his belt after a significant period out injured. Within a minute of his introduction Jerome made an immediate impact when receiving a pass from Reece Fishwick before turning cleverly away from his marker and sending a superb curling effort past the despairing dive of Roccia and just inside the far post to give the forward this thirteenth goal of an increasingly productive season.
Almost immediately the Rams lead could have been extended when a Jerome pass found raiding midfielder Eddie Moran whose well struck shot was helped over the crossbar by the Bamber Bridge stopper, then with just four minutes of normal time remaining the visitors halved the arrears when a cross from the right was headed past Parsisson by the bustling Brig number nine Michael Fowler.
A grandstand finish was on the cards as Bamber Bridge threw players forward looking to send this enjoyable cup tie to penalties but the Rams repelled everything thrown at them and the referees whistle gave the home side their first cup victory of the new decade and a visit to Trafford in a weeks’ time for a second round meeting of two sides that met in league action on New Year’s Day.
On what was a heartening night for many reasons the hardy Rams supporters in attendance got the opportunity to witness the senior competitive debuts of four of the youngsters from the clubs Development Squad who all should be very proud of their individual contributions in what was an eye catching result against a higher division outfit .Well done and congratulations to Will, Ben, Matthew and Jake!
Also worthy of mention is the work being done beneath the first team squad at Ramsbottom United by numerous coaches, managers and volunteers and nights such as this will hopefully reward all those involved to see four youngsters getting the opportunity to play for the first eleven at The Riverside Stadium.
Ramsbottom United:- Wade (Parsisson 74 mins), Fishwick, Alberto (Royle 74 mins), Moran, Stanton, Lugsden, Gooden, Rother (Capt), Daniels (Jerome 79 mins), Naidole, Fawns
Subs not used- Jones, Hampson.