FA Trophy Preliminary Round

Saturday 13th October 2018


Attendance: 272

Report by Jon Haslam

Ramsbottom United began their FA Trophy campaign on Saturday afternoon as they made the short trip to a blustery Shawe View to reacquaint themselves with a Trafford team who narrowly came out on top in the league meeting less than three weeks ago at the HWRS.

The Rams starting line up showed three changes from the midweek draw at Widnes with new additions Nialle Rodney and Nic Evangelinos making their debuts for the visitors replacing Dean and Gaskell with Jack Higgs gaining a starting berth at the expense of the absent Jerome Wright as manager Chris Willcock reshapes his Ramsbottom United squad.

With only 3 minutes on the clock Trafford made the early breakthrough when a through ball found the pacey Burns whose surging run took him in behind the Rams defence to the edge of the penalty area before a confident low finish found the bottom corner of Sam Ashtons net as the hosts made an ideal start to proceedings.

As the opening stages of the encounter unfolded it was the home side that appeared to take some confidence from the early strike as Ashton was forced to block a goal bound effort after a dangerous run and cross caused panic in the visitors defence.

Perhaps not unsurprisingly, bearing in mind the alterations to the side, the Rams began to get a foothold into the encounter as the half progressed with the front three looking threatening and with just over 25 minutes played Nic Evangelinos seized on a poor back pass by O’Brien before rounding the onrushing Cooper in the home goal and cutting the ball back from an acute angle to Eddie Moran whose goal bound effort was saved by the recovering keeper to preserve Traffords slender advantage.

As the half hour mark approached the visitors deservedly drew level when recent recruit Ruben Jerome found some room outside the penalty area before floating an inviting cross to the far post which perfectly found the run of debutant Niall Rodney whose well directed downward header gave the Rams an equaliser and gave the former Notts. Forest and Hartlepool forward his first goal in a Ramsbottom United shirt.

Almost immediately Trafford looked to regain the lead as they won a free kick in a promising position, former Ram Sam Heathcote stepped up to take but thankfully his attempt fizzed wide of Ashtons right hand post as both sides, despite a swirling wind, were providing decent entertainment for the crowd of 272.

The remainder of the first half saw the Rams in the ascendancy with the visitors playing some purposeful football with the new look front three looking a particular threat to the home defence ably backed up by the tireless work rate of the midfield whilst the away sides defence blunted the hosts pacey attack.

As the opening period came to a conclusion the score line of one goal each was a fair reflection of the contest which was undeniably a half of two halves with Trafford having the better of the first quarter of the game but the Rams worked their way back into the argument with an encouraging last 20 minutes.

Trafford who boasted an impressive record of six victories from seven home matches this campaign in all competitions made a change at the break with Davidson replacing Brown but it was the Rams who began the second period as they ended the first with Ruben Jerome winning a free kick 25 yards from goal, former Bury full back Tom Kennedy showed his undoubted quality by floating the ball over the wall and past Cooper to give the visitors a lead they would ultimately hold onto.

Within minutes and with confidence coursing through the team the Rams won another free kick a similar distance from goal but Rodneys curling effort looked destined for the top corner before Coopers flying save denied the striker a second debut goal.

With an hour played the visitors had a slender advantage but regular observers of Ramsbottom’s recent games would be mindful that the team had found it difficult to hold onto leading positions as twice in the last fortnight the Rams had surrendered two goal advantages.

Trafford made their second change and increased their attacking options with the angular Derbyshire replacing O’Brien as the home side looked to change the complexion of the contest, the Rams responded with another debutant, former Barnsley striker Louis Rowe replacing Ruben Jerome up front.

With almost three quarters of the contest played the lead was almost increased when good interplay down the right hand side gave Kyle Jacobs the opportunity to stride forward and the full backs well struck 30 yard angled drive looked to have beaten Cooper but flew fractionally over the crossbar as the visitors looked to give themselves more breathing space ahead of Traffords anticipated onslaught to preserve their participation in this seasons FA Trophy competition.

Trafford, who had won five consecutive matches didn’t disappoint in that regard and the last twenty minutes were played mainly in the visitors half with the home side pushing hard for an equaliser, chances came and went for Trafford with Burns heading wide when well placed and Sam Ashton saving well from a well struck effort from the edge of the area.

With 15 minutes remaining Phil Dean replaced Evangelinos as the Rams resolute defending kept the hosts at bay with Luke Thompson and Ryan Ellison at their competitive best, indeed the away side almost broke away to devastating effect when a long ball over the top of the hosts defence found substitute Rowe who outpaced the home defence before rounding the goalkeeper but a prohibitive angle made it difficult to get a shot on target.

The remaining ten minutes saw Trafford fashion a couple more chances as Burns threatened to restore parity firstly flicking a header inches wide of the post before the same player forced a fine finger tip save from Ashton and despite the hosts winning a number of late set pieces Ramsbottom repelled all that the hosts could throw at them to register Chris Willcocks first victory as Ramsbottom United manager.

In summary an excellent result and encouraging team performance from Chris Willcocks’ charges as Ramsbottom United progressed to the First Round of the FA Trophy whilst ensuring that the travelling Rams supporters had an enjoyable day trip to South Manchester.

Ramsbottom United:- Ashton, Kennedy, Jacobs, Osi-Efa, Thompson, Ellison, Rodney, Higgs (Rother 89 mins), Jerome (Rowe 66 mins), Moran, Evangelinos (Dean 75 mins)

Unused Subs- Gaskell, Hindle

The next round draw for the FA Trophy is expected to take place this Monday, details of the next round will be on rammyunited.co.uk as soon as we have them.

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