Two teams with opposing current forms met at the Harry Williams Riverside Stadium and, true to form, the Rams extended their league run to just one defeat in seventeen games, whilst condemning Mossley to their ninth defeat from the last ten.

However, credit to the Lilywhites for making it tough for the home side, as they dug in to belie their poor form, and gave the home side a severe test before two late goals settled the contest.

As was to be expected, Ramsbottom began well.

A low right wing cross from Grant Spencer was fired over the bar by Phil Dean, whilst a dangerous cross from Dean skidded along the crossbar as the Rams looked for an early break-through.

After Billy Priestley saw his header from a Spencer corner sail over the top, the home side did nudge in front as early as the tenth minute.

Lee Gaskell gathered the ball on the edge of the box, and cleverly held off his marker before creating the space to spot Chris Thewlis in the Mossley goal, off his line. A delicate chip saw the ball beat the keeper and creep in under the bar.

Two minutes later, the lead was almost doubled.

A fine cross-field ball from Gaskell found Spencer on the right, and as he cut inside, his goal-bound angled drive beat the keeper, but was hacked off the line.

Darren Green tried his luck from 20 yards, but Thewlis had no problem holding the ball, whilst Dean and Gaskell were both denied in quick succession during a goalmouth scramble.

As the half came to an end, Dean had another attempt denied by the visiting custodian, and whilst they had a certain amount of pressure, Grant Shenton, in the home goal, had just one shot on target to deal with in the opening 45 minutes, and that was a long-range effort from Richard Bennett.

Mossley came out in a much more determined mood for the second half, making the game more of an even contest.

The Rams however, still looked the more likely to score, as first Gaskell attempted to convert a Dean cross before Joel Pilkington pounced on a loose ball in the area, but he couldn’t keep his effort down.

Mossley finally began to exert pressure on the home defence.

Matthew Tierney was inches over from the edge of the box, whilst Shenton had to be alert to cut out a dangerous cross from the right. Charlie Anderson blasted a chance over the top as the Tameside team looked for an equaliser, and it finally came after 65 minutes.

A deep corner from the right was headed back goal-wards, and as the ball bounced down from the bar, Bennett reacted quickest to nod home from a yard out.

Within sixty seconds, the Rams should have regained the lead.

Dean went racing unmarked into the box, but he fired wildly over the bar.

Mossley, buoyed by the equaliser, looked much more dangerous with Mark Haslam and Wayne Welbeck looking for a second. The latter almost snatched one, as he attempted a close-range toe-poke following a scramble inside the six-yard box, but Shenton was in the right place to deny him.

On 78 minutes, the Rams finally regained the lead, and this was down to persistence on Jordan Hulme’s part.

Having seen his first effort charged down, he wrestled back the ball before firing home an unstoppable angled drive from 15 yards, which bulged the back of the net.

Five minutes later, the points were secured.

Substitute Chris Denham, making his home debut, sent in a low shot that seemed too weak to cause any damage. Thewlis, however, was possibly unsighted, and he dived too late to prevent the ball squeezing in by his left hand post, and the game was effectively over. Spencer could have added a fourth, but his shot sailed over the bar.

So despite a second half revival from their opponents, the Rams secured another welcome three points as they continue to target those play-off places.

RAMSBOTTOM UNITED: Shenton, Hulme, Roberts, Stopforth, Lacy, Priestley, Spencer, Pilkington, Gaskell, Green(Denham 62mins), Dean(Reece 77mins) Subs not used: Toth, Fitzgerald, Johnson

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