Ramsbottom United’s fine run continued in north Yorkshire with a comprehensive victory over a side that had started the day above the Rams in the table.

HARROGATE RA 0-4 RAMSBIOTTOM UNITED

Another fine display of attacking football added four more goals to a run that has seen the rampant Rams notch 23 in the last five games.

Phil Dean almost opened the scoring on seven minutes but he hit the side netting.

Just ten minutes later, the visitors nudged in front. Some good interplay between Dean and Gary Stopforth saw the latter lift the ball into the box where Dominic Smalley was on hand to rifle the ball into the top right hand corner from 15 yards.

The home side looked to regain parity, but their finishing let them down, with their closest effort seeing a free-kick saved by Grant Shenton in goal.

The Rams should have doubled the lead when an excellent ball in from Smalley landed perfectly for Tom Brooks, but the striker inexplicably turned the ball over the bar from just a couple of yards out.

Brooks and Stopforth both went close before, on 35 minutes, the second goal did arrive. Stopforth provided the perfect ball down the middle, which cleared the heads of two defenders, allowing Jon Robinson to collect, round the keeper and slide the ball home.

Robinson could have doubled his tally when he gathered a cross from the right by Brooks, but he delayed long enough for the keeper to clear the danger.

A free-kick from Grant Spencer fell nicely for Billy Priestley, but the home custodian managed to bundle the ball out for a corner.

In the last minute of the first half, the Rams put the game beyond their hosts when Smalley was upended in the box by Mike Morris. Dean gleefully hammered the ball into the bottom left hand corner from the 12-yard spot to make it 3-0.

The second half began at a slower pace, but on 56 minutes Shenton produced a superb double save to deny first Dan Thirkill then Colin Hunter as the home side desperately strived to find a way back into the match.

On 70 minutes, any Harrogate fightback became academic as the Rams added a fourth.

A great run down the left from the half-way line by Dean saw him drive into the box and send in a cross-cum-shot which dropped into the net over keeper Eric Grimes.

Dean was denied a hat-trick when minutes later he bundled the ball home at the second attempt, but the referee chalked it off for hand-ball.

On 80 minutes the hosts went down to ten men through injury, when all their substitutes had been used, and it got worse on 86 minutes when man-of-the-match Dean was subjected to a crunching tackle from Joel Dixon who was promptly shown a red card.

Another fine display from a Ramsbottom United team playing some excellent attacking football in a run that has brought six consecutive victories.

RAMSBOTTOM UNITED: Shenton, Lomax, Pilkington, Stopforth, Warrender, Priestley, Smalley, Spencer(Toth 71mins), Robinson(Gaskell 67mins), Brooks(Prickett 71mins), Dean. Subs not used: Chadwick, Johnson

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