Ramsbottom United made it 10 games unbeaten under new boss Chris Willcock and booked a place in the third qualifying round of The FA Trophy with a comfortable 5-1 victory over Yaxley in the second qualifying round.
Tricky left winger Nic Evangelinos grabbed his first hat-trick for the club on a brilliant Tuesday night for Rammy as their superb form continued.
The Rams made just one change to the side that won 1-0 at Colwyn Bay the previous Saturday, Joel Bembo-Leto was cup tied and he was replaced in the starting eleven by Ryan Ellison.
The Rams came straight out of the blocks as left winger Nic Evangelinos’s effort was saved smartly by Yaxley keeper Oliver Sutton.
Seconds later Evangelinos got his rewards for his earlier effort and was brought down in the box under a challenge from the Yaxley defender. Nialle Rodney tucked the ball home to give the Rams a perfect start.
The following minutes saw a flurry of chances at both ends. Yaxley number ten Daniel Cotton provided the biggest threat, cutting inside past Tom Kennedy yet only saw his chance fly over the bar.
Nialle Rodney and Anthony Donaldson both had chances to double the Rams lead. Against the run of play it was the visitors who struck the leveller. Cotton again proved troublesome down the right, his cross turned into the net by Rams centre back Luke Thompson.
Thompson’s own goal was unfortunate for The Rams, coming at a time when the home side were dominant. Rodney, Donaldson, Ruben Jerome caused havoc throughout as the woodwork was struck more than a few times in the opening forty five minutes.
The Rams response was just what Willcock would have wanted, doubling their advantage ten minutes later. Evangelinos got his first of the night ten minutes later, his first attempt coming off the cross bar before firing home as Rammy retook the lead.
The killer goal came just on half time as the Rams pocket rocket Evangelinos got his name on the scoresheet again as Rammy went into half time with a two goal advantage.
HT: Ramsbottom 3-1 Yaxley
The second half was rather one sided as the home side began to turn the screw. Anthony Donaldson had the first attempt but Yaxley keeper Sutton was equal to it and saved the shot with ease.
The Rams could have had another shortly after, only for Nialle Rodney’s effort to be chalked off for offside.
Ramsbottom got a fourth on 61 minutes, Luke Thompson made amends for his first half mishap with a goal at the right end this time, heading home from a corner. The Rams number five was later subbed shortly after and will miss the game at Pickering due to suspension.
The men in blue made it five ten minutes later as Greek international Evangelinos got his third and Rammy’s fifth of the game, converting a trio of goals and of course a hat-trick, something that hasn’t been seen in these parts for a while!
The Rams enjoyed a keep ball exercise in the final moments and as expected boss Willcock was rather pleased with his sides display.
‘The players have settled into the club very well, trying to take on board the philosophy I’m trying to encourage them to do and as you can see it’s working out very well on the pitch’.
Despite the current form, Willcock was rather reserved about the sides chances of a cup triumph.
‘To take the lads to Wembley will be a tough ask in this competition, a really difficult task when the conference and Conference North teams come into it’.
‘But can we take the team a couple more rounds, I’d like to think so, maybe if we can get a plumb tie then that would be a nice end to the competition’.
Should Nic Evangelinos continue to show this level of performance, anything is possible for this ever improving side.
Team vs Yaxley; Ashton, Kennedy, Jacobs, Moran, Thompson (Osi-Efa 64′) , Ellison, Rodney (Lugsden 77′) , Rother, Jerome, Donaldson, Evangelinos (Jarrett 71′)
Unused Subs: Rowe, Hart