Finally, thankfully, the curtain has come down on a nightmarish and fretful season marked by another insipid home defeat for the Rams.
RAMSBOTTOM UNITED 0 MATLOCK TOWN 1
Harry Williams Riverside Stadium
Saturday 25 April 2015
The game, which Matlock won quite comfortably reflected the season as a whole – a bit of a bright start, a flurry of sporadic activity at the end and nothing to write home about in the middle.
From the kick-off, Jon Robinson, playing his last game before retirement almost had the dream start but was denied by a brave save at his feet by Jon Kennedy. The Matlock keeper then had nothing else to do until he saved well low down from Lee Gaskell in the closing minutes. In the meantime, the Rams served up a pretty weary performance lacking any real sense of structure or purpose from what was clearly a set of very weary limbs and minds.
Matlock could easily have gone into the break three goals to the good, twice seeing efforts cleared off the line and a low free kick round the wall bounce wide of the post with Grant Shenton beaten. They were restricted though to a single goal on 38 minutes – Niall McManus hitting in a scuffed shot after the first of the goal line escapes. The winger also contributed the only worthwhile moment of the second half, taking full advantage of the Rams congenital weakness down the right, he skipped inside and fired past Shenton only to see the ball ricochet away from angle of bar and post.
With Julian Benton resolute at the heart of the Matlock defence, they dealt comfortably with the few sustained attacks that the Rams could muster and the final whistle was met with resigned relief by the dwindling Rams fanbase which has been sorely tried over the last few weeks which has seen a general deterioration in the team rather than the hope for building towards next season.
Only a few of the squad who made up the final weeks are good enough or, more to the point, committed enough for football at this level and the management team will be in little, if any, doubt of the scale of the reconstruction task ahead.
RAMSBOTTOM UNITED team: Grant Shenton (capt), Kyle Harrop, George Bowyer, Matthew Burke, Mark Ayres, Alex Frost, Tom Williams, David Kuba-Kuba, Jon Robinson, Lee Gaskell, Lee Neville. Subs: Phil Edghill, Jamie Rother (for Burke 76mins), Tom Brooks, Luke Heron (for Williams 68mins), Tom Hartley (for Robinson 76mins).
Referee: Paul Hodskinson (Bamber Bridge)