Ramsbottom inflicted local rivals Radcliffe to their first away defeat of the season in an action packed boxing day cracker at The Harry Williams Riverside stadium they came from behind to beat the league leaders 2-1 as Chris Willcock saw his side go fifth in the league courtesy of the derby day triumph.
Rammy were unchanged from the side that beat Market Drayton 3-1 as they took on the league leaders who came into the game on the back of seven consecutive victories in the league.
The home side began the game on the front foot and had the opening attempt of the game with Tom Kennedy drawing an early save out of Radcliffe keeper Ollie Martin before Anthony Donaldson’s shot flew over the bar.
Yet it was table toppers Radcliffe who took the lead after twenty minutes. Out on the right Tunde Owolabi met an expertly threaded through ball which split the Rams defence, where his own cutback found Radcliffe striker Ben Wharton who slid the ball past Sam Ashton to hand the visitors an early advantage.
Rammy didn’t let the early goal affect them and bounced back with efforts of their own. Donaldson’s attempt was expertly saved by Martin and on the rebound Evangelinos was denied a leveller by the men in yellow who somehow managed to clear the ball off the line.
Jamie Rother also tried his luck from distance only for his shot to rattle off the underside of the crossbar, then Eddie Moran failed to find any blue shirts with an ambitious cross of his own when in space from an Evangelinos pass.
However Rammy’s patience was to pay off moments later when Jamie Rainford rounded Martin to slot home the home sides equaliser on the stroke of half time. A route one ball from the Rams back line was too hot to handle for any Boro defender and Rainford provided much needed joy for the home crowd heading into the half time break.
HT: Rammy 1-1 Radcliffe
The second half began in bullish fashion with Radcliffe carving out the opening attempt. A mix up in The Rams back line was picked up by Wharton yet Sam Ashton was there to keep the Radcliffe striker at bay.
The home side were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position shortly after, where set piece wiz Tom Kennedy didn’t fail to disappoint and took advantage with an expertly taken free kick to put the home side in front on the hour mark for the first time in the match.
Ramsbottom continued to assert their dominance as the half wore on and had a penalty appeal turned down by referee Anthony Ball as crowded goal mouth scramble ensued in the box. The ball then broke to Kennedy whose was deflected wide for a corner where Luke Thompson’s header was again cleared off the line as Rammy pushed for a third goal. Again wide appeals that the ball had already crossed the line were waved away by the linesmen. On his home debut, Richard Brodie could also have scored with a header.
Another opportunity for a third goal came and went in the eighty-ninth minute. The ball fell came to Rainford but fluffed his lines when he could have done better. Brodie again came into the action yet saw his chance blocked.
But The Rams were able to see out several minutes of stoppage time without much trouble and send the home faithful out of the gates with wide smiles on their faces.
FT: Rammy 2-1 Radcliffe
Manager Willcock had much to cheer about following the victory as he reflected on the win.
‘I thought the win was well deserved. On chances created I though it was well deserved, we were by far the better team over the 95 minutes and the response to going a goal down was superb, it just goes to show the strength and character of the team at the moment’.
The attendance of 511 was the highest seen in these parts since March 2016 and easily the highest this season by a mile to which Chris remarked.
‘What the fans have seen today is a great advert for the Evo-Stik League at the right end of the table’. What we have seen from Ramsbottom is a team on the progression. If I lived in Ramsbottom it would be a no-brainer for me to come and watch this side play, there is no doubt we’re a team in progression’.
Rams: Ashton, Kennedy, Ellison, Moran, Thompson, Kelvin Lugsden, Rainford, Rother, Jerome (Brodie 72′), Donaldson (Kieran Lugsden 90′), Evangelinos.
Unused subs – Osi-Efa, Bembo-Leta, Jacobs.