The recent run of results for the Rams might suggest that this was an unlikely outcome but local derbies often defy form.  In truth though a defeat to this kind has been in the offing for several matches.  That is to take nothing away from the spirited performance by Colne who were worthy winners and in no way flattered by the margin of victory.

Harry Williams Riverside Stadium
Saturday 28 January 2017
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One North
Attendance: 269

On a heavy but eminently playable pitch it was always likely that the first goal would be crucial in determining the final outcome.  It came as no surprise that, just short of the hour, it fell to Colne, who adapted better to conditions as the game progressed.  They might have considered themselves slightly fortunate to have gone into the break level as the Rams, in their customary fashion, had put on a compelling first half display which all to familiarly could not be sustained in the second.

In those first 45 minutes the Rams had posed a constant threat down the right.  In the open ending moments a Ollie Crankshaw low cross was just scrambled away from an on rushing Sam Freakes and then the same player was just unable to get on the end of a Grant Spencer cross.  Next a floated cross found Gareth Seddon at the far post but his header lacked the force to beat Nosakhare Aghayere who was able to get a hand to the ball.  The keeper was then fortunate to see a scuffed shot from Seddon cleared off the line and a shot from Luke Thompson bounce over off the top of the bar after he had spilled a corner.

Colne though were not without threat and tempers mounted when Spencer Jordan was booked for simulation when claiming for a penalty after a desperate tackle lacked little by way of credibility.  Undeterred they came out for the restart with resolve.  Mark Ayers and Alex Coleman put Seddon and Ryan Salmon into a tighter clinch than a Big Daddy hold and Michael Morrison took a firm grip of midfield subjugating Grant Spencer who as usual was the sole source of Rams creativity but in the absence of Alex Meaney is finding himself having to play too deep to be fully effective.  Once Colne took the lead from the spot – Mark Ayers calmly rolling the ball into the corner of the net – the writing was on the wall.  Connor Gaul had already given warning of his ability to carry the ball at speed with a searing diagonal run in the first half.  Just four minutes after Colne had gone in front he turned the Rams defence giving Oliver Wood the chance to force the ball home from close range.

The Rams threw men forward but unable to find the ball which would have had the Colne defenders having to turn.  Instead they tried to unhinge the defence with short balls that were all too easily intercepted.  If anything, harsh as it may sound, the Rams were trying to play too much football.  In contrast Colne hit the ball into space and played on the break to great effect.  With 15 minutes left Gaul picked the ball up on the edge of his box and set of on a searing run to which there was no Rams response.  Timing his pass perfectly he put Jason Hart clear in the box and his cross shot found the bottom corner.

So a sad end to a positive run of results for the Rams.  The unfortunate postponement of Tuesday’s game may have led to a certain loss of momentum after the good win at Colwyn Bay and the sulphurous atmosphere that is surrounding off field affairs is unlikely to be helping.

Ramsbottom United: Martin Fearon, Bradley Roscoe, Matt Atherton, Dean Stott, Luke Thompson, Paul Linwood, Oliver Crankshaw, Grant Spencer, Ryan Salmon, Gareth Seddon (capt), Sam Freakes.  Subs: Regan Jarrett (for Freakes 63mins), Andy Bell (for Atherton 79mins), Aaron Hollindrake, Joe Rathbone (for Crankshaw 73mins), Dean Hardy.

Colne: Nosakhare Aghayere, Alex Coleman, Lee Pugh, Chris Lynch, Mark Ayres, Simon Nangle (capt), Spencer Jordan, Jack Lynch, Oliver Wood, Connor Gaul, Michael Morrison.  Subs: Jack Hartley (for Gaul 90mins), Kenneth Taylor (for Wood 83mins), Jason Hart (for Jordan 61mins), Alexander Grice, Daniel Thorpe.

Referee: Johnathon Bickerdike (Leeds).

IMAGES FROM THE GAME (courtesy and copyright of Frank Crook)

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE GAME (courtesy of Evo-Stik League)

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