Emirates FA Cup Preliminary Round Replay
Monday 2nd September 2019
Winsford United 1 Ramsbottom United 3
Report by Jon Haslam
Ramsbottom United had a Monday night appointment in Cheshire as the two sides reacquainted themselves with each other in an FA Cup replay after sharing six goals just over a week ago in an action packed encounter.
With the Rams swiftly back in action after Saturdays best forgotten defeat at Pontefract manager Chris Willcock made four changes to the starting eleven with Harry Norris, Tommy Lent, Khalil Osi-Efa and Mason Fawns gaining starting berths.
The contest began evenly with the first effort at goal arriving in the eighth minute when Mason Fawns found some room on the apron of the penalty area but the midfielders shot flew over the bar and was the only notable attempt at goal in a first twenty minutes that failed to replicate the excitement of the original tie which provided four goals in the same time period.
With a healthy crowd in attendance Winsford almost capitalised on a mix up in the visitors defence midway through the first half with the ball bouncing dangerously close to the Rams goal but thankfully the threat was averted as the hosts gave their higher division opponents the first real scare of the game.
Then, with 24 minutes played the visitors opened the scoring when after a neat passing move down the left wing lead to the ball falling to Ruben Jerome and the powerful forward unleashed a low shot from distance which appeared to catch out the Winsford custodian Rigby at the near post before fizzing into the back of the net and the Rams had the lead for a fourth occasion in the tie overall.
The clock ticked towards the thirty minute mark before the injury ravaged hosts had their first effort on target but a long range strike was gathered comfortably by Rams keeper Tom Stewart as Winsford looked to respond to falling behind, with around ten minutes remaining of a competitive first period the home outfit perhaps had their best spell of the match winning a number of dangerous set pieces which resulted in yellow cards for both Kelvin Lugsden and Eddie Moran. With the wind in their sails the home side looked to continue their attacking momentum calling Stewart into action on a couple of occasions, the second of which caused more indecision in the Rams back line but again the loose ball couldn’t be forced home by the Winsford attackers.
With the half time whistle only seconds away a potentially game altering moment arrived when a competitive tackle between two committed players around the halfway line resulted in Rams youngster Harry Norris receiving his marching orders in what referee deemed a red card offence, there appeared to be an element of surprise at the decision from some supporters but nonetheless Ramsbottom United whilst holding a slender advantage at the break would need to negotiate the second forty five minutes with one player less.
As the second period began the Rams line up saw Eddie Moran slotting into the right back role and less than a minute after the interval the visitors had an opportunity to double their lead when Ruben Jerome battled well before sending in an inviting cross to Nic Evangelinos whose shot missed the target and the hosts had an early let off.
Ramsbottom United looked the team in the ascendancy in the early minutes after the restart with the home defence being tested more thoroughly with the Rams front players Ruben Jerome, Nic Evangelinos and Irywah Gooden all looking lively but with only one goal dividing the sides Winsford looked to take advantage of their extra player and the visiting supporters had their hearts in their mouths just after the hour mark when a header from a corner was flicked goal wards but mercifully flew wide of the target but served notice that the tie was finely poised.
Despite being a man light Winsford were finding it difficult to create too many clear cut chances in free play but with Khalil Osi-Efa doing a sterling job in the holding central midfield role which gave the visitors defence an extra level of protection. The defensive reorganisation worked well with Eddie Moran again showing his versatility by putting in a typically wholehearted performance whilst Tommy Lent and Kelvin Lugsden kept the home strike force fairly quiet with Tom Kennedy his usual accomplished self at left back.
Then, midway through the second half the Rams doubled their lead and gave themselves more breathing space when a through ball was played behind the hosts rearguard which was chased by the willing Ruben Jerome, the forwards hard work bore fruit when the onrushing goal keeper Rigby and a retreating Winsford defender appeared to collide whilst running in opposite directions on the edge of the penalty area and as the ball fell kindly to Jerome who took advantage of the misunderstanding leaving the striker with the simple task of tapping the ball into an empty net for the second goal of the game.
The lead was almost increased further minutes later when Rigby pulled off a good save to repel a long range effort from the impressive Mason Fawns before the loose ball fell to Irywah Gooden whose well struck shot flew narrowly wide of the upright as the Rams looked to cement their place in the next round.
The third and tie clinching goal arrived with just under a quarter of an hour remaining when good work down the right wing from Irywah Gooden gave the winger the opportunity to roll the ball back to Eddie Moran who sent in a delicious first time cross which was met by a glancing header from the exemplary Ruben Jerome and as the ball flew past the helpless Rigby and into the bottom corner of the goal the angular striker had completed a very impressive hat-trick much to the delight of his team mates and travelling Ramsbottom United supporters at The Barton Stadium.
The forward has now scored seven goals in six appearances this term and undoubtedly Winsford would have been glad to see the back of the Ramsbottom player after five goals in his two matches between the sides as the in form striker was replaced by Will Ozono to a warm round of applause from the Rams fans in attendance.
The two games had an air of symmetry between them in regards that the side reduced to ten men appeared to be more threatening with one player less as in the original match at The Riverside saw Winsford suffer the same fate of being reduced to ten men albeit for a slightly longer period than the Rams and themselves might have felt they could have won the time at the first time of asking.
The Rams were the dominant attacking team during the second half and at the second time of asking got the job done in what was as good as anything seen this season although Chris Willcocks charges have scored three goals in three of their six games to date proving that they are likely to be an attacking outfit to be feared during the season.
The final but nonetheless noteworthy incident took place with almost the last kick of the match when Winsford full back Damian Skolorzynski let fly from 25 yards to send a superb shot which found the top corner to give the home support something to cheer in what was in reality nothing more than a consolation but may well prove to be a contender for Winsfords goal of the season show reel come the end of the season.
This well deserved victory gave Ramsbottom United their first away success in the FA Cup since August 2011 with the reward being a trip to South Yorkshire on Saturday afternoon to take on Maltby Main for a place in the Second Qualifying Round of the worlds oldest national cup competition.
Ramsbottom United- Stewart, Norrris, Kennedy (Capt), Moran, Lent, Lugsden, Gooden,, Osi-Efa, Jerome (Ozono 78 mins), Osi-Efa, Fawns, Evangelinos (Brodie 86 mins)
Subs not used- Rother, Doran, Minard (GK)