Bet Victor Northern Premier League North West Division
Saturday 2nd November 2019
Ramsbottom United 3 Marine 4
Report by Nigel Jepson
Starting the match in ninth position, the Rams knew they needed to improve on a recent series of indifferent results if they were to sustain promotion hopes. Opponents Marine, in fourth position, were bound to provide stern opposition and so it proved.
After only four minutes, Marine took the lead with their No. 10 Mbulanda powering above defenders to head in a corner. It was certainly not the start the home team wanted but worse was to follow. Just seven minutes later, a defensive miskick ended up with Mbulanda being left a free run in on goal before slotting the ball home to make it 2-0.
Marine’s No 10 was yet again in the thick of things taking a heavy fall following a hefty tackle from Danny Murphy that the referee was well-placed in deciding to wave play on. At the same time as Mbulanda was substituted, Kelvin Lugsden came on for Murphy who also suffered from the challenge.
For the first time in the game, the home team started playing with a bit more confidence. Nic Evangelinos, in a more central striking role in the continued absence of suspended Reuben Jerome, demonstrated impressive skill in linking up play, particularly with Iyrwah Gooden who was at his penetrating best. It was a rasping shot from Gooden after 17 minutes that the Marine keeper could only parry into the goal with Evangelinos closing in, to reduce the lead to 2-1.
Again, though the Rams were to show defensive fallibility against set pieces with Marine central defender Anthony Miles taking advantage of home frailties to restore the visitors’ two-goal lead shortly after the half-hour mark. At this point, the Rams’ defence seemed in complete disarray, Marine further capitalising with a goal from their captain Niall Cummins to take it to 4-1 and no more than shooting practice.
With half-time looming, a corner from Tom Kennedy saw the Marine keeper again fumbling, palming the ball into his own net reducing the deficit to 4-2. Jamie Rother got booked for a foul just before the whistle went on an incident-packed first half.
Whatever the respective managers had to say at half-time, it was the home team that came out with the bit between their teeth. After a clever chest lay-off by Nic Evangelinos, Reece Fishwick came close to finishing off a fine team move, as his close range effort flew inches past the post.
Daniel Nadiole, replacing Mason Falls at half-time, came equally close. Meanwhile at the other end, Marine were hardly getting a look-in against last year’s central defence lynchpins of Luke Thompson and Lugsden.
Eventually on 72 minutes, it was the Rams’ go-to Kennedy- Evangelinos combo that narrowed the score-line as, following a rash tackle that caused the ref to point to the spot, resulting in Kennedy’s deft left foot reducing the margin to 4-3.
In a frenzied last twenty minutes, the home team’s passion slightly got the better of them with both Eddie Moran and Ben Hampson picking up further yellow cards.
Even if in the final event, the Rams hadn’t quite proved able to claw back from a 4-3 defeat, they had shown their mettle climbing back from a 4-1 deficit on the day.
All credit then to the team and their manager. They are still in the promotion race with everything yet left to play for.
Ramsbottom United: Stewart, Hampson, Kennedy (Capt.), Moran, Thompson, Murphy (Lugsden 24mins), Fishwick (Jones 68mins), Rother, Gooden, Fawns (Naidole 45mins), Evangelinos
Subs not used: Hmami, Osi-Efa