The Rams will be bitterly disappointed to have lost this game having beaten the visitors in the Black Country only four days earlier.
RAMSBOTTOM UNITED 0 STOURBRIDGE 1
Harry Williams Riverside Stadium
Saturday 14th March 2015
As they ponder on the defeat and prepare for a hectic spell of three games in the next 7 days, there are two lessons that need to be taken on board and dealt with. Firstly, now having had a man sent off in five of the last 6 games, it does help to keep 11 men on the pitch and secondly, a way has to be found of fielding two strikers.
Another trait that has to be reversed is giving the opposition an early goal start but at least on Saturday the lead conceded was down more to good play from the visitors than defensive lapses – although the defence was perhaps a little too easily diced and sliced by a slick move down the right after nine minutes that presented Kayeldon Brown with an untroubled pass into the net. The visitors went on to dominate the half moving the ball quickly out of defence while the Rams were in something on a soporific stouper. When Alex Frost was sent off for a second yellow with one of those mis-times “honest ref, I got there as quick as I could” tackles only moments after a first for an innocuous push, it looked very much like one of those days again.
Perhaps shocked at the idea that they had a victory easy to hand, Stourbridge failed to press home their advantage. The Rams began to nip and nag at their defence without quite managing to get into the box or test the keeper. Vinny Mukendi stumbled around in what looks suspiciously like a constant state of languid weariness but with no-one able to get close enough to feed off his knock-ons, it was all a bit Toshack without Keegan.
That changed though with the introduction of Lee Gaskell. The Rams sensing that the visitors were running of steam and throwing caution to the wind, stormed forward. Dean Coleman did well to tip over two long range shots from Lee Neville and then Gaskell and then pulled off just about the best save seen at the HWRS this season to tip away a cross shot from Gaskell that was all but in the corner of the net. The keeper was then fortunate to scoop away a Mukendi header that more than one observer thought had crossed the line. By this time, all nine outfield players were camped in the Stourbridge half and only a succession of brave last ditch tackles kept the visitors from breaking out with the back four and Kyle Harrop in particular outstanding.
But the equaliser, deserved though it was, failed to come leaving the Rams in need of at last four points from the 3 games ahead. Blyth Spartans head to the HWRS on Thursday, a game sandwiched between two trips to Derbyshire to face Buxton on Tuesday evening and then bottom-placed Belper on Saturday.
RAMSBOTTOM UNITED team: Grant Shenton (capt), Kyle Harrop, Lee Neville, Phil Edghill, Alex Frost, Mark Ayres, Osebi Abadaki, Jamie Rother, Vinny Mukendi, Ian Bennett, Donal McDermott. Subs: Lee Gaskell (for Bennett 73mins), Tom Brooks, David Kuba-Kuba, Tom Williams (for Edghill 45mins), George Bowyer (for Abadaki 45mins)