Bet Victor Northern Premier League North West Division
Saturday 14th December 2019
Ramsbottom United 5 Droylsden 0
Report by Nigel Jepson
The emphatic 5-0 scoreline makes it look like an easy victory for the Rams. However, down to ten men for virtually the whole match they had their work cut out at times to stay in the game let alone triumph in the end by such a convincing margin.
On a heavy pitch that after three consecutive days of pelting rain had survived a morning inspection (credit to the ground staff!), the Rams tore into the opposition from the start with an incisive edge to their play. The manager had tweaked the line-up with Josh Hmami starting in midfield and Eddie Moran at right-back. It was Hmami who opened the home team’s account after 5 minutes when following a move between Iyrwah Gooden and Reuben Jerome down the right, Hmami ghosted into the area to finish things off, clipping the ball past a bemused-looking keeper.
With ‘November Player of the Month’ Gooden prominent, just as the home attack seemed to be effortlessly clicking into gear, what can only be described as an extraordinarily harsh decision by the referee to straight red card Gooden after an innocent-looking attempt to play the ball, threatened to turn the game completely on its head. Suddenly, from being rampant on the attack, the Rams found themselves having to mount a rearguard action for the remainder of the first-half. With their numerical superiority the visitors now monopolised possession and the home defence came under increasing siege. On one occasion, away team striker Jack Kay was straight through on goal only to be foiled by a brave dive by Tom Stewart to avert the threat.
Richie Baker was booked for a foul and a few minutes later the trigger-happy referee did likewise to Kay for protesting after not being awarded a free-kick. At this point, a game which had started out being played in a good spirit appeared to suffer from the decision-making vagaries of the referee with both sets of players looking ill at ease.
On the stroke of half-time, having soaked up pressure over a sustained thirty-minute period, a finely-flighted free-kick from Nic Evangelinos was firmly headed into the back of the net by Hmami to send the Rams into a 2-0 lead which, it has to be said, was very much against the run of play at that point.
Coming back out for the second half the home team looked hungry to snatch back the initiative and go in search of another goal. Happily one came following fine start-up play from Tom Kennedy leading to Jerome dummying two defenders before fizzing in a cross the keeper couldn’t hold leaving Evangelinos a tap-in to make it 3-0 after 47 minutes.
Again though, the second half saw the home team’s ten men facing almost constant pressure with Luke Thompson and Kelvin Lugsden stoutly having to head clear a battery of crosses from right and left. If Chris Willcock was proud of the recent clean sheet achieved against City of Liverpool, he had even stronger reason to be proud with this performance.
With the heavy ground taking its toll on tiring legs the manager gambled with a triple substitution midway through the second half. Significantly, the tireless Jamie Rother was kept on to continue snapping at the heels of opponents. The injection of new blood though succeeded like a tonic in relieving the pressure on the defence. First Mason Fawns and Daniel Naidole combined cleverly leaving Naidole to chip the outcoming keeper to make it 4-0 after 76 minutes. Similarly after skilful passing between Naidole and Karl Jones, the latter got on the scoresheet rounding it off at 5-0 after 90 minutes.
This was the third home game on the trot where the Rams had netted five goals, making them the Division’s leading goalscorers.
Excellent team spirit had been shown throughout which was rewarded with an outstanding victory achieved in difficult conditions. With this result, the Rams move up from 5th to 3rd spot in the table with the determination seeming strong to go still higher.
RAMSBOTTOM UNITED: Stewart, Moran, Kennedy (capt), Hmami (Jones 74mins), Thompson, Lugsden, Gooden, Rother, Jerome (Naidole 74mins), Baker, Evangelinos (Fawns 74mins) Subs not used: Fishwick, Hampson