The 2015/2016 season really cannot come soon enough for a beleaguered Ramsbottom United, who suffered defeat once again, this time to a Marine side who ensured they would not be joining the Rams with that sinking feeling this term.

Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Premier Division
The Marine Travel Arena, Crosby
Saturday 16 April 2016
Attendance: 425

Since the great false dawn of early January, when Garry Vaughan’s outfit recorded back-to-back victories, it has been a tale of woe and desperation with this latest loss against a well-organised, keen but not exactly unbeatable Marine side the 21st successive game where United have seen all the points evaded them.

But whilst the frustrated supporters felt that the performance was slightly better than of late, it just goes to show just how poor the Rams had been as Matt Cooper in the Marine goal could have felt a fraud in collecting his end-of-match wage.

Gallows humour has now fully taken effect amongst the Rammy faithful.

In realism, it was all Marine with Jamie Rother’s extremely speculative shot on 18 minutes from as far as 45 yards the sum total of anything reminiscent of a ‘chance’ as the home side pressed without much end product.

Captain and goalkeeper Grant Shenton, without doubt the Rams man-of-the-match, pulled off some outstanding saves to keep Marine at bay – one fingertip save as the ball looked to dipping under the bar one such sign that he hasn’t given up.

However, he was powerless to prevent the Crosby side from taking the lead – although Dylan Smith’s high boot did connect with the ball, the referee deemed it dangerous and Danny Mitchley fired the resultant spot kick straight down the middle.

It was game over.

Even gaining a corner came to nothing as the ball flew way beyond anyone in a red Ramsbottom shirt as they played with no forethought, anticipation or game awareness.  At times, the skill level of the doomed Rams was embarrassing.

Going in only one goal behind might have been deemed a success but two further goals as the Rams pressed forward only to be caught horrendously exposed at the back just summed up the afternoon.

From a Rammy free-kick, the ball was drifted in but was safely gathered by the keeper and a quick ball released Liam Goulding down the centre and he simply lifted the ball over Shenton for the easiest of goals to extend the lead to 2-0.

It could have quickly been three but for Shenton’s excellence again preventing Lewis Codling at his feet but he couldn’t stop Mitchley from grabbing his second on 67 minutes when Charlie Barnett’s free-kick swung into the box and the striker was on hand to poke the ball home.

Marine were attacking at will.  Codling broke on the right and fired a superb cross field ball but there was no-one on the end of it while Shenton again saved one-on-one from Alan Burton late on.

21 games without a win.  One goal scored in the last six games.  Just 12 goals tallied within those turbulent games since mid-January.  Two more games to go for the season from hell to finally end and the supporters are already asking the key question – what next for their beloved club?

Change is needed and very, very quickly.  Ramsbottom United are quite simply a laughing stock of Evo-Stik Premier Division – their complete inability to play any kind of decent, thoughtful, skilful and proactive football was never more evident than on this bright Saturday afternoon on Merseyside.

Marine: Matty Cooper, Stephen Wainwright, Andy Nicholas (capt), Liam Goulding, Charlie Barnett (Jack Hunter 85mins), Liam Willis, James Short, Alan Burton, Danny Mitchley (James Foley 82mins), Andy Owens (Chad Whyte 65mins), Lewis Codling.  Subs not used: Warren Bellew, Sean Hessey.
Goals: Danny Mitchley (27mins pen), Liam Goulding (62mins), Danny Mitchley (67mins).

Ramsbottom United: Grant Shenton (capt), Robbie Bromley, Luke Hero, Dylan Smith, Nia Bayunu, Alex Meaney, Daniel Wilkins, Jake Cliffe, Jamie Rother (Joe Shaw 35mins), Aaron Smith (Jack Lever 69mins), Dennon Ashcroft (Bevan Burey 56mins).  Subs not used: Andrew Smart, Zak Hargreaves.

Referee: Matthew Bristow (Altrincham)

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