What appeared to be somewhat of a mis-match between a team looking at promotion against another scratching round for players turned out to be closer than expected, with two unmarked headers ultimately proving to be the difference.
TRAFFORD 2 RAMSBOTTOM UNITED 1
Shawe View, Trafford
Saturday 14 April 2018
Trafford look well-placed to compete in the end-of-season play-offs, whilst the Rams struggled with suspension, injuries and unavailability leaving manager Mark Fell limited to a basic selection with only three substitutes named.
Trafford began looking to take an early lead, and on seven minutes former Bury forward James Dean blasted over the bar and seconds later Jack Dorney was thwarted by Sam Ashton as he ran on to a through ball and attempted a chip over the keeper.
Dean again wasted a chance on 25 minutes when his effort sailed over the bar, but in general, the visitors were competing well.
Indeed, it was the Rams who eventually opened the scoring on 39 minutes when the home side only half-cleared an attack and the ball fell nicely for Jamie Rother some 30 yards out. He latched on to the loose ball and fired home a spectacular volley that left former Ram keeper Grant Shenton flat-footed as the ball sailed in by his left-hand post.
Tom Brooks had a chance to increase the lead before three efforts in quick succession at the other end were bravely denied by a desperate Rams defence, ending with Dean again firing over.
Trafford came out for the second half with a couple of changes, and one of those, 6ft 6in Mark Derbyshire proving to be an influential substitution.
On 52 minutes he rose unchallenged to meet a right-wing cross, and his header levelled matters, and minutes later he combined with fellow-sub Aaron Burns to fire narrowly wide.
The Rams weren’t overawed however, and some neat work by Lee Gaskell presented Phil Dean with a chance but his effort was blocked.
The sub-combination then came up trumps again for the hosts as this time Derbyshire turned provider as his cross to the far post allowed Burns to nod home, again unchallenged, and give Trafford the lead on 64 minutes.
The ever-dangerous Derbyshire was denied another opportunity when Ashton blocked his attempt with his legs, as the home side attempted to put the game to bed.
But the Rams were having none of it, and continued to give as good as they got.
As the game entered the final ten minutes, it was the visitors who looked the more likely to notch the next goal, and felt that they should have had a penalty on no fewer than three occasions as the minutes ticked down. Gaskell was felled in the area by Shenton off the ball, whilst an appeal for a hand-ball and a trip both left the referee unimpressed.
So, somewhat frustrated, the final whistle blew on a narrow defeat that ultimately saw the Rams succumb as a result of poor defensive marking for both Trafford goals.
Considering the thread-bear squad, the game certainly did not go the way most would have expected, and the Rams could feel hard done by that they left Shawe View pointless.
RAMSBOTTOM UNITED: Ashton, Brownhill(Ashburner 81mins), Dean, Rother, Stott, Ellison, Madeley(Robinson 62mins), Brooks, Gaskell, Daniels, Wright. Sub not used:McGreavy
Tuesday 17th April The Evo-Stik North RAMS v Kendal Town 7.45
Saturday 21st April “ RAMS v Droylsden 3.00
Monday 23rd April “ Brighouse Town v RAMS 7.45
PICTURES FROM THE GAME (thanks to Frank Crook)