Category: Club News


Ahead of the new season which kicks off on Saturday 17th August, Ramsbottom United can announce that the following pre-season fixtures have been confirmed:

Wednesday 24th July RAMS v Rochdale 7.45pm

Saturday 27th July Caernarfon Town v RAMS 4.00pm (This follows a tournament that involves members of the Ramsbottom Junior sides)

Tuesday 30th July RAMS v Nantwich Town 7.45pm

Saturday 3rd August Newcastle Town v RAMS 3.00pm

Tuesday 6th August RAMS v Ashton United 7.45pm

Thursday 8th August Kidsgrove Athletic v RAMS 7.45pm

Fixtures for the new season will be released in early July following the Northern Premier League’s AGM this Saturday (15th June) where the constitution of the newly named Division One North West will be confirmed.

Category: Club News


Players, management and Supporters got together on Saturday night, to celebrate the end of the season for Evo-Stik West side Ramsbottom United.

A season that began in mediocre mode proved to be one of the best in recent years, with a final league placing of fifth, which saw them compete in the play-offs, and an exciting journey to the last 16 of the FA Trophy.

Held in the adjacent cricket club, a speech from Chairman Harry Williams indicated just how well the season had progressed under new manager Chris Willcock. Harry indicated that the change of management had certainly improved performances and that the club is now looking to making further strides in an attempt to regain Evo-Stik Premier Division status, with more work expected to take place on the ground throughout the summer break.

He thanked everyone who had worked tirelessly behind the scenes, and reiterated just how much is involved in running a semi-professional club at this level. He also thanked manager Chris Willcock and his coaching staff, noting that when the previous manager left he immediately contacted Chris, with no-one else in mind, having known what a fine job he had done at other clubs, and the fact that he had spent a couple of seasons as a player with the Rams. He also praised the players for their efforts on behalf of the club, and their fine FA Trophy run.

Club captain Tom Kennedy spoke, stating that having had a wonderful career professionally, joining Ramsbottom United has allowed him to enjoy his football this season. He praised the team spirit within the side and how the players all mix well together, and the fact that he has had many laughs and much banter with the Chairman. He looked forward to more success in the future.

Manager Chris Willcock thanked the Chairman for offering him the opportunity to return to management at a time when he felt he was struggling to get back into the game. He stated that he had needed to rebuild the squad, which he did quickly, and praised the players for the way they had stuck to the task and produced some entertaining football. He also highlighted the excellent work undertaken by his coaching staff, and although disappointed that promotion failed to materialise, felt that with an extra three months preparation time for next season, the club could really push on in an attempt to gain promotion next time. He thanked the supporters for their backing, especially the “Weymouth 17” who made the long midweek journey to the south coast to follow the club in the FA Trophy replay, and was happy that they had something to celebrate.

Flowers were handed out to four hard working girls at the club, Sophie Fletcher, Dawn Comer, Katie Worswick and Emma Debono, as appreciation for their efforts throughout the season.

Trophies were then presented on the night, the first going to the player voted the “Players’ Player of the Season”.

This was handed over by the manager to winger NIC EVANGELINOS.

The “Supporters Player of the Year” was won by club captain TOM KENNEDY, who received his award along with the large Club Cup from supporter Dawn Comer.

A “Special Award” was presented by assistant manager Lee Donafee in recognition of an outstanding goal-scoring feat during the club’s mammoth FA Trophy run. Ten goals were scored in the twelve games played, including a hat-trick in the amazing 5-5 draw at the HWRS against AFC Fylde, by NIC EVANGELINOS, who scooped this prize.

Finally the “Clubman of the Year” went to someone who had not missed a game all season. As this was being mentioned, he whispered that he hadn’t missed a game in THREE seasons, making the awarding of the trophy even more relevant. This went to the club’s long-standing and popular photographer FRANK CROOK, who as well as providing all the snapshots for publication, spends much of the week down at the ground doing whatever is necessary to keep the stadium in prime condition and the pitch similar.

The night ended with a feeling that, although the season just ended had been most enjoyable, the optimism for the new campaign was already tangible, and as the fans take a break, the management will now begin the task of putting together a strong squad for next season, whilst work behind the scenes will continue through the summer months.

All the photos from the presentation night are below, taken by Frank Crook

Category: Club News

PREVIEW: Radcliffe (A) - Play Off Semi Final


The Rams renew rivalries with Radcliffe in a repeat of the Easter Monday fixture just eight days earlier which turned out to be something of a non-event as both sides failed to find the target.

Going into the last fixture of the regular season on Saturday last, Radcliffe had already guaranteed a home play-off spot courtesy of that draw, whilst for the Rams, they were one of four clubs chasing the other three spots. Fortunately that aim was acheived.

During the home game against Kidsgrove, Ramsbottom’s fate changed numerous times throughout the 90 minutes.

It looked like being a home tie against Colne in the play-off semis but then as results altered elsewhere, Leek looked the likely opponents at the HWRS.

With five minutes to go, Leek took the lead at Colwyn Bay, meaning the Rams would need to make the journey down to Staffordshire, before a last minute equaliser for Kidsgrove saw the Rams move down to fifth as the final whistles blew.

The outcome of that was an away day at second placed Radcliffe which sees a Bury Metro derby, the outcome of which will see one of the local sides eliminated, whilst the victors move on to the Play-off Final on Saturday.

The winner will oppose the successful team from the Leek v Colne semi-final, and should Radcliffe win, they will be at home, whilst the Rams, should they overcome their neighbours, will be away.

Promotion should be the eventual prize, but the FA in their wisdom have thrown one or two obstacles in the way, and, without going into detail (it’s too complicated to explain!) there is still the possibility that promotion will be denied.

But that’s for the future.

In the meantime it’s all eyes on the happenings in Radcliffe in what promises to be an exciting and crucial contest.

Category: Club News


Having enjoyed the club’s best season for a number of years (5th place play-off finish in the League, and last 16 in the FA Trophy), manager Chris Willcock is preparing for a challenge at the top of Evo-Stik North West come August, and the club are looking to add to the backroom staff that already includes Assistant Manager Lee Donafee and Coaches Lincoln Adams and Warren Nolan.

A new club Physio is required along with a newly-installed position for a Kit Man, to join a club looking forward to a successful campaign at non-league’s level four.

Ramsbottom United is also looking to expand it’s Commercial operation with a view to increasing sponsorship and advertising, and again a newly-created post is looking to attract someone who feels that they can add to the profile of the club by bringing in extra revenue.

Interested parties for all three positions are asked to contact the club via email to club secretary Tony Cunningham at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Having enjoyed a memorable season last time out, hopes are high at the Harry Williams Riverside Stadium that the club can go one better next season, so successful applicants should be in a position to enjoy their input into the well-run club.

Category: Club News


As the 2018/19 season draws to a close, a certain symmetry fell nicely into place as the final winner of Ramsbottom United’s “Player-of-the-Month”, as voted for by the supporters, also happened to be the recipient of the first award of the season back in August, Jamie Rother.

Jamie, now in his fifth season with the club, recently completed 100 games in a Rams shirt, and after injury hit early seasons, has proved to be a consistent hard-working midfield player throughout this campaign, and his all-action displays have made him a firm favourite with the Rammy faithful.

He received his award, along with a case of beer from League sponsors Bowland Brewery, at the end of season Presentation Night held in the adjacent cricket club on May 4th.

Category: Club News

PHOTOS: Rams 2 Kidsgrove 2

Photos from yesterday's 2-2 draw against Kidsgrove, taken by Club Photographer Frank Crook
Category: Match Reports

REPORT: Radcliffe 0 Rams 0

Evo-Stik West Division

Monday 22nd April 2019

Radcliffe FC 0 Ramsbottom United 0

Attendance 523

Report by Damien Barlow

The penultimate game of the regulation season saw the Rams make the short trip into M26 to take on neighbours Radcliffe. With the two teams placed 2nd and 4th respectively, both knew that three points today could secure a playoff spot and alleviate some pressure heading into the final weekend in six days time.

The Rams got us started, playing in their changed strip of red and black and attacking from right to left and with the up hill dis-advantage which would dictate the first forty five minutes.

With the rewards that a win would bring today, it was no surprise that the opening fifteen minutes were a scrappy affair, with no quarter given nor received, and no time on the ball for any of the outfield players. On the rare occasions anyone was able to send a meaningful ball into the area, namely two Tom Kennedy free-kicks, they were dealt with simply by the home defence.

The first test on Sam Ashtons goal came just after the ten minute mark as a Jamie Rother foul allowed Scott Metcalfe the opportunity to send an in-swinging free-kick down by the corner flag whch found Smith at the back post who won his header with ease but sent the ball into the side netting.

Shortly after that scare another was to follow, as Thompson seemed to get caught under a long ball from Radcliffe and mis-judge the flight allowing it to bounce behind him and allow Tunde Owolabi free down the left. As the recovering number 5 tried to make amends Owolabi crashed to the floor with a shot at goal beckoning, the home fans were certain of the penalty, and the away fans rueing the simplicty of how the chance was presented, only for the referee to replay the incident through his head and then issue a yellow card to the man on the floor for simulation. The reaction from the closest Ramsbottom players to Owolabi would suggest the man in the middle made the right decision, unfortuantley Kelvin Lugsden made too strong a point and joined Owolabi in the book.

The referee was called into action again minutes later as Rother found himself in a foot race with Haywood, again the coming together saw the attacking player ending up grounded, and again the protests were waved away, however the decison not to book the Rammy midfielder once again ruffled the home suporters feathers.

As the half hour mark approached, the home side were enjoying territorial supremecy, ableit without dirtying Ashtons gloves, there was the sense they felt their leverge of down-hill play needed to be profited from and began to up the tempo and regularity of balls into the final third, and as Elliot Rokka rode two challanges and established well earnt space at the edge of the area his attempt to break the deadlock left Sam Ashton flat footed, he could do nothing as the ball rolled to an open goal. Again, the gods were shining on the visitors, as the ball bounced off the bottom of the left hand post and the recovering defenders cleared the danger.

That, however, did not dis-hearten the hosts, and the next 10 minutes would become a personnal dual between Radcliffe and Sam Ashton, as he thwarted them four times to keep the scores level. Before Ashton took centre stage, there was still time for Owolabi to leave Thompson in his dust as he sped away down the left, this time Lugsden was on hand to clear the danger.

The first showing of Ashtons cat-like reactions came as a result of Rokka again getting free down the left and sending a cross towards the 6 yard line for Ben Warton to have a free point blank header only to be denied by the visiting keeper and immediatley turned the follow up header from Owolabi round the post for a Radcliffe corner.

A minute later a free kick escaped the Rammy defence which allowed Owolabi and Ashton to contest the high ball, which was punched clear, only for Williams to react first, and become the latest to find Ashton's reactions in fine fettle.

The final effort of the half came in stoppage time as Rokka tried his luck from the edge of the box, only to have his hopes dashed by the excellent Ashton.

Half-time Radcliffe Boro 0 Ramsbottom United 0

The second half began in the same veign as the first, with rushed passes and little time to express ones-self. Rother again, was adjudged to have won the ball unfairly which gave Radcliffe their first attempt on the Rammy goal. The resulting set peice was again headed into the magnetic grasp of Sam Ashton.

A free kick for the vistors on the hour which was sent long by Kennedy and cleared by the home defence, looped more up than away, had Evangelinos dreaming of tomorrows back pages as he met the falling ball full on, unfortunatley, his vollied effort was closer to smashing through a nearby greenhouse than any tabloid space.

The down-hill adavntage which was with the home side in the first half was clear to see in the away sides play in the second, as they started to enjoy more time out of their half, and began to ask half questions of Radcliffe. A good crisp inter-change of passes between Jacobs and Moran allowed a couple of crosses which were dealt with by the home backline, and for Rother to chance his arm from twenty yards but send his effort high and wide.

A rare forray into the Rammy half for Radcliffe in the second half saw a free kick awarded on the right hand edge of the area. Metcalfe again smelt an opportunity to test the score line, and his thunderous effort possibly deserved better but again, Ashton stood strong and pushed away his attempt.

Conceivably, Ramsbottoms best chance came by the way of a mix up between Radcliffes keeper and defender. As Kennedy swung in a free kick after Jacobs had been felled, the initial danger was dealt with, but when the Rams won back possession, a clever reverse pass for Moran, who was retreating from an offside position left the ball, Evangelions pounced on the uncertaintly in Radcliffes back line and somehow gained possession, but from a tight angle was only able to hit the side netting.

70 minutes in, and the first activity from the bench saw Bembo-Leto and Gooden replaced by Kieran Lugsden and Ruben Jerome.

Another half hearted appeal for a penalty came on 76 minutes when Eddie Moran felt aggrieved as he came off worse during a challenge in the box, again the referee waved away any protests and the game continued. Almost immediatley, Owolabi raced clear of Kennedy and from the by-line set a ball rolling accross the six yard line and any Radcliffe man who'd gambled would have had his easiest goal of the campaign. Much to the relief of the men in red and black that wasn't the case and Lugsden was able to bring the ball out.

The final fifteen minutes was littered with possessional errors and more mis-placed, over hit, under hit, wayward passes. Neither team found any fluency or fluidity in their play, and really was a day when both defences came out on top. Credit to Radcliife for nulifying a Rams front line who would fancy scoring against any opposition, and a final mention for Rams keeper Sam Ashton who played his part more than most in keeping Radcliffe at bay.

As the full time whistle blew and results from elsewhere filtered through, it became apparant the Radcliffe had indeed cemented their place in the end of season play offs - well done to them, and good luck. Ramsbottom, however still need one last win to guaruntee their fate, but a run of fourteen away games without defeat shows how much this side has improved since early season, and heading into the closing weekend of the season knowing a win would confirm their own place in the play offs is something most Rams fans would have found hard to comprehend as summer turned to autumn.

Full time Radcliffe Boro 0 Ramsbottom United 0

Rams team: Ashton, Kennedy, Jacobs, Thompson, Kelvin Lugsden, Moran, Rother, Bembo-Leta (Jerome 73'), Gooden (Kieran Lugsden 73'), Evangelinos, Rainford.

Not used: Osi-Efa, Ellison, Donaldson

Category: Club News


Having bowed to years of pressure, the FA have finally put together the final pieces of a more logical 1-2-4-8 pyramid system for the top four levels of non-league.

The season just ended saw a fourth Division added at level three, and the 2020-21 season will see the pyramid completed with an additional Division at level four.

The Evo-Stik Northern Premier League were disappointed to have lost out to the Southern League with regards to embracing the extra level three division last year, but has successfully applied to the FA to run the eighth level four division, meaning that the NPL will operate with a Premier Division and three First Divisions from 2020/21.

In readiness, next season has seen many changes within the league, with the current two First Divisions moving from an East/West split, to a North West/South East divide.

As a result, along with the usual promotions and relegations, a number of teams who played against the Rams last season have now been moved sideways.

Local derbies against Radcliffe and Atherton Collieries have been lost due to their promotions, whilst our old friends at Glossop North End have now been moved into South East.

Also moving with them are Chasetown, Kidsgrove Athletic, Leek Town, Market Drayton Town, and Newcastle Town after a single season of competing against Ramsbottom United following on from last year’s move from a North and South First Division split.

In their places return some former opponents, Ossett United (an amalgamation of the two Ossett teams, Town and Albion), Brighouse Town and Tadcaster Albion.

Joining them are two old foes who both suffered relegation from the Premier Division, Marine and Workington, whilst the Rams will be welcoming a number of sides for the first time in their history.

City of Liverpool come up as North West Counties League champions, whilst the top side in the Northern League, Dunston UTS will see the club having a long trip up to Gateshead, whilst other longer trips will see journeys up to Marske United, Pickering Town and Pontefract Collieries.

All of which leaves the club with a minority of clubs still in the Division from last season, namely Clitheroe, Colne, Droylsden, Kendal Town, Mossley, Prescot Cables, Runcorn Linnets, Trafford and Widnes, but losing Skelmersdale United who were relegated to the North West Counties League.

So, providing the new set-up is approved at the NPL AGM in June, the Rams will have quite a variety of opponents next season, with ten new teams to play, against just nine who competed together last time out.

Proposed Evo-Stik North West Division line-up for Season 2019/20:

Brighouse Town, City of Liverpool, Clitheroe, Colne, Droylsden, Dunston UTS, Kendal Town, Marine, Marske United, Mossley, Ossett United, Pickering Town, Pontefract Collieries, Prescot Cables, RAMSBOTTOM UNITED, Runcorn Linnets, Tadcaster Albion, Trafford, Widnes, Workington

Category: Match Reports

REPORT: Rams 2 Kidsgrove 2

Ramsbottom United were held to a 2-2 draw by Kidsgrove in the final game to the league season. Two-nil up at half time, goals from Lee Williamson and a last gasp Anthony Malbon goal denied The Rams three points. The draw confirmed a playoff spot of fifth place and has lead to s semi-final away at Radcliffe Boro this coming Tuesday night.

Chris Willcock named an unchanged side against Kidsgrove from the goalless draw against Radcliffe in the league game on Easter Monday.

The opening ten minutes of the game brought little goalmouth action, yet Rammy were to break the deadlock in the 11th minute. Tom Kennedy’s cross from out wide found Eddie Moran, whose shot on the edge of the box flew past Kidsgrove keeper Kieran Harrison.

After some nice midfield play, The Rams striker should have doubled their lead in the twenty-third minute. Striker Jamie Rainford dribbled past several orange shirts but could only find the side netting with his effort.

The visitors had a quiet opening half an hour in the attacking third, but midfielder Kyle Blake did force Sam Ashton into a save. Blake’s shot was straight at the Rammy keeper. At the other end, Moran could have doubled the home sides advantage but failed to properly test Harrison.

The game took a huge turning point shortly before half time. The visitors were down to ten men when James Butler was given his marching orders, pulling down Rainford as he turned towards goal. The defender looked to be the last man in Grove’s line of defence.

The home side did double their lead immediately after Butler’s sending off. Midfielder Jamie Rother’s fine shot from distance was simply unstoppable, bringing out a loud cheer from the home fans behind the goal.

Rammy had the ball the net again in first-half added time too but this time the goal was disallowed. Rainford’s initial shot was beaten away before his follow up shot burst the net, yet found himself in an offside opposition.

The second half began exactly as the first half started with Ramsbottom firmly on the front foot. Rainford was unlucky not to find the net again. Identical to his first-half chance, The Rams number nine weaving through several Kidsgrove defenders but again the ball trickled wide rather than over the line.

He should have added a third shortly after. Moran’s through ball found the leading man in front of goal but was unable to take his chance failing to beat the keeper. Kidsgrove’s striker Anthony Malbon gave the home side a scare in a rare attempt for The Grove, however, fired well wide of the target.

It turned out to be an early warning for Rammy who were pegged back in sixty-second minute. Kidsgrove bounced back with a 25-yard wonder goal of their own courtesy of Lee Williamson, his shot leaving Ashton no chance as the visitors set up a thrilling final half hour.

Rainford was beginning to think it wasn’t his day in front of goal, this time drawing his latest attempt wide of the post. Another was expertly saved by Harrison before coming out to Rother who saw an effort deflected over the bar.

Nic Evangelinos also attempted to restore the Rams two-goal advantage. Latching onto a Kennedy ball, the number eleven failed to keep his effort down on goal as he missed the target by some distance.

As the game fell into added time Ramsbottom were punished for their missed chances as Kidsgrove equalised in the ninety-first minute. Grove skipper Anthony Malbon stabbed home an effort from close range and ending their own season on a high.

A tough finish for Rammy nonetheless which was no doubt tough to take after the first half scoreline. Manager Chris Willcock showed his frustration in the aftermath.

‘I didn’t know what to make of that game. Outside of the goals, I thought we were well below par, to be honest with you.

I am extremely frustrated and angry with how the second half developed. Everyone from Ramsbottom should expect more from the lads on Tuesday.

I don’t like the way we are approaching things. Since we have come back, we haven’t been at our usual level.

After admitting the sending off was correct, Willcock looked ahead to the upcoming playoff semi-final against Radcliffe.

'We can beat anybody in this league on our day. We have the quality and have caused everybody problems. The problem is our day is not here at the moment. We have achieved our main goal but I expect more. We’ve only made the top five on goal difference (ahead of Runcorn Linnets)'.

I am always pessimistic but we need to come on Tuesday with a different mindset. Let’s see what we get’.

Team vs Kidsgrove: Ashton, Kennedy, Jacobs, Moran, Thompson, Kelvin Lugsden, Gooden ( Carey 60’ ) , Rother, Bembo-Leta (Donaldson 60’) , Evangelinos, Rainford

Unused subs: Jerome, Osi-Efa, Ellison

Attendance: 297

Referee: Lewis Raper

Category: Club News

Ramsbottom United - 18/19 Season Review

The new season began with hopes of an improvement on recent 14th place finishes in the Evo-Stik League second tier, but as September turned into October, such hopes appeared to have been already dashed, as a League record of 3 wins, 3 draws and 3 defeats from 9 games seemed to indicate that another campaign of mediocrity was about to unfurl.

Added to the disappointing league start, the fact that the Rams had already been knocked out of the FA Cup and League Cup merely added to the general air of despondency amongst the clubs’ faithful supporters.

Then came news that the management team had decided to move on.

Swiftly, Chairman Harry Williams contacted former player Chris Willcock, whose managerial record included a promotion and trip to Wembley for Glossop North End, and an impressive 12 victories from 15 games at the end of the previous season for the now-defunct Shaw Lane club in Barnsley.

Having watched the Rams on a number of occasions, Willcock was quick to point out that fitness levels needed to improve, and he soon brought in new players, whilst releasing a number, to match his winning mentality.

What happened during the next six months was more than most supporters could have dreamed about.

Although the ultimate prize of promotion was missed, the subsequent FA Trophy run, and the race up the league table ensured that the club had it’s most entertaining and successful season since the Johnson-Morley days.

Willcock’s reign began with two draws, but having gone behind in the opening minutes away to Trafford in the Preliminary round of the FA Trophy, most supporters had resigned themselves to exiting yet another cup competition at the first hurdle.

Not so. Signs that this new-look Rammy team would have a little more bottle shone through as the deficit was overturned and the club had it’s first knock-out success of the season. More would follow!

In the league, four successive victories were achieved without conceding a single goal. Two visits to Prescot Cables’ Hope Street ground within four days certainly lived up to the name as hope began to surge through the club. Tenants Skelmersdale were easily cast aside on the back of a 3-0 win, whilst the landlords were put to the sword more emphatically by four goals to nil.

The FA Trophy saw a visit to Frickley Athletic, and again, the team responded with a fine 3-0 win, setting up an away day to Yaxley, who, after much searching, was found to be near Peterborough. As one of the club’s longest ever-trips, the original Saturday date eventually turned into a Tuesday night, despite protestations made to the FA, but it did not deter the players from returning home in the early hours on the back of a 2-2 draw.

Attempts by Yaxley to play the original game to a conclusion were brushed aside, and in the midweek replay, which saw the visitors having to endure the same journey in reverse, the home side totally dominated proceedings, and moved onto the next round courtesy of a 5-1 hammering.

This was quickly followed by a another away draw, this time seeing the club make the journey up to north Yorkshire to meet Pickering Town. An uneventful game resulted in a goalless scoreline, with a swift return to the HWRS, where a 2-1 home win was enough to see the club make further progress.

In the league, a disappointing and highly controversial home clash with Runcorn Linnets saw the team register their only league defeat in seven games, with two Ramsbottom players shown a red card by an over-enthusiastic referee who appeared unable to understand certain tactics that were being deployed.

However, that defeat apart, the Rams would go into the new year with a league record under Willcock of played 10, won 7, drawn 2 and lost 1, with 22 goals scored and just 8 conceded. The rise up the table from the lower reaches to the edge of the play-offs had been both dramatic and entertaining.

As was the FA Trophy run.

Another away draw, the fifth on the trot, saw the latest reward being a long journey up to Evo-Stik Premier Division side Workington, but again the team refused to buckle in terrible conditions, and another replay was earned courtesy of a 0-0 draw on the Cumbrian coast. Back at the HWRS, the Reds were to return home on the back of a 2-0 defeat, and, at last, the club’s name came out first when the draw was made on the radio for the next round.

And what a tie it was. Weymouth, riding high at the top of the Southern League Premier Division had the long journey to contend with.

An over-night stop for the Terras in Bury, had them in prime condition when Saturday afternoon arrived, and it looked as though this former Conference club would finally see off the impudent Ramsbottom team, now the lowest-ranked side still in the competition.

Injury time arrived with the visitors 2-1 up, and the home supporters accepting that the long run was about to come to a glorious end. Not so. A last gasp scrambled equaliser was met initially with rapturous joy, before the realisation sunk in that it now meant the team would have to make the 500 mile round journey to the south coast just four days later!

After much confusion, the team travelled down on the day, and what are now regarded as the “Weymouth 17” supporters also made the long trip, much to the delight of the players and management.

No doubt expecting to return home empty-handed, that trip back must have passed in a flash as they were able to reminisce about one of the club’s best-ever victories, an unexpected, but thoroughly deserved 3-1 win, which even had the cushion of a missed penalty.

The draw for the next round had already been made, with a visit to the HWRS from Football League chasing AFC Fylde. A Lancashire derby to savour.

Back in the league, the first home game of the New Year proved a disappointment, as eventual champions Atherton Collieries arrived in town and departed thanks to a much-deserved 3-0 victory. A draw also at home to Leek Town appeared to have knocked the gloss off the main aim, but that blip was soon put to bed as the side launched into another impressive run, which again ensured that a play-off spot, at least, could be targeted.

A trip to Glossop saw a resounding 5-0 success, and as if to go one better, when Skelmersdale arrived in town a week later, they were thrashed even more convincingly, by six goals to nil.

Then came the game that attracted much media attention. The BBC cameras were down at the ground and various radio stations present as AFC Fylde arrived on a rain-sodden night, no doubt expecting a straight-forward win. So it appeared to be, for on two occasions, the Coasters strolled into a two goal lead, and the enjoyable run appeared to be over.

However, this team did not know when they were beaten, and after coming back on both occasions from that deficit, in the last ten minutes, the ground erupted as the home side finally took the lead at 5-4. However, a surprise result was dragged back by the visitors snatching a late equaliser, ensuring a visit to the new Mill Farm ground at Kirkham the following week.

It was there that the run into the last 16 of a competition that attracted well over 200 entrants from all over the country, came to an end.

On another miserable night, the Rams had the temerity to take the lead, but after a promising first half-hour, the hosts grabbed control of the match and finally ran out deserved winners on the back of a rather flattering 4-1 scoreline.

The FA Trophy saw the club compete in twelve matches and endure over 1300 miles of travel, as the run will live long in the memory of everyone involved with the club.

However, as we bade farewell to that competition, the primary task returned with a home win against soon-to-be-returning-to-Welsh-football Colwyn Bay, which was followed by two more emphatic victories, 6-0 at Newcastle Town, and 4-0 at Trafford.

Hopes were high that the automatic promotion spot was within our grasp.

Two home games were coming up, against a Colne side that invariably got the better of the Rams in recent seasons, and mid-table Widnes. Six points here would seriously put pressure on the top teams, and the fans turned up in expectation that these would be gained.

Alas, it was not to be, as Colne deservedly kept up their run against us with an emphatic win, whilst Widnes were fortunate to grab all three points.

Those two defeats but a dent in the side’s aspirations, but three wins and a draw in the next four games appeared to steady the ship.

Then came the biggest blow. Newcastle Town arrived, still smarting from the hammering they received in Staffordshire, and duly enacted revenge by gaining a surprise 2-1 victory.

Disappointing as that was, the team completed the remaining five fixtures with three wins and two draws, the last of which, in the home game against Kidsgrove, saw the visitors notch a last minute equaliser, which dropped the Rams into fifth place, and a play-off semi-final against local rivals Radcliffe the following Tuesday.

Having met just over a week previously at Stainton Park in an uneventful 0-0 draw, the whole season now rested on a possible two play-off games.

As it transpired, on the night, in front of a large crowd, the Rams failed to perform at their best, and few would argue that Radcliffe deserved the 3-0 win, which saw them contest the Play-Off Final, in which they were victorious against Leek Town, resulting in their promotion, whilst the Rams had to lick their wounds.

Although the ultimate prize just eluded the Rams, much can be gained from the campaign as a whole.

Mediocrity transformed into hope.

As one supporter stated “We used to go to matches HOPING to win. Now we go EXPECTING to win”, which probably sums up the changes that have been seen throughout the campaign.

A great run in the FA Trophy, and a fine campaign league-wise under Willcock’s stewardship which, in his 29 league games saw 18 victories, 6 draws and just 5 defeats, a massive improvement on recent seasons, and on the beginning of this one. Add to that his record in the FA Trophy (Played 12, won 6, drawn 5, lost 1) and the success since the appointment in early October, overall reads, Played 41, Won 24, Drawn 11, Lost 6.

The closed season gives everyone time to take a breather, but hopes will be high come August that next season can see Ramsbottom United make a determined, and hopefully successful, push for promotion.


Category: Match Reports

REPORT: Radcliffe 3 Rams 0: Play-off semi final

Ramsbottom United saw their promotion dream come to an end as they were beaten 3-0 by Jon Macken’s Radcliffe side in The Bury Metro Derby.

Scott Metcalfe’s first half header was followed up by strikes from forwards Tunde Owolabi and Ben Wharton as Radcliffe victory booked themselves a spot in the divisions play-off final.

Chris Willcock made two changes to the side held by Kidsgrove on Saturday. Joel Bembo Leta and Iyrwah Gooden were replaced by Ryan Ellison and Jason Carey in the starting eleven.

Radcliffe made the brighter start to the game, creating numerous chances to open the scoring. Tunde Owolabi was the leading threat for Boro in the opening exchanges as The Blues began the match on the front front. Owolabi saw several opportunities come and go, first heading wide from a Craig Lindfield corner then again heading wide shortly after from a similar goalscoring position.

Wearing their red away kit, set pieces looked the most likely way of scoring for Rammy as they looked to find a way past Ollie Martin in the Radcliffe goal. From a free kick Luke Thompson rose highest in The Boro backline but failed to direct his header on target. In another attempt, Tom Kennedy sent a free kick into the wall after Nic Evangelinos was fouled just outside the Radcliffe penalty box.

From open play Jamie Rainford scuffed a shot which was well covered by Martin, but Boro would soon take the lead from a Craig Lindfield free kick. Radcliffe’s number seven’s cross was initially cleared by the Rammy backline, yet the follow up ball courtesy of Prince Haywood was headed home at the back post by Radcliffe’s number eleven Scott Metcalfe on the 40 minute mark.

The Rams saw out the reminder of the half with little trouble, although Radcliffe’s right back Kyle Harrison appealed a penalty for handball. Referee Peter Shacklady waved away all appeals as the half ended with a one goal advantage to the home side.

Radcliffe were again quicker out the blocks in the second half, the uphill slanting pitch clearly of no hindrance to Macken’s men. Harrison forced Sam Ashton into a finger tipping save, turning the ball over the bar as the right back looked for the top corner with a curling shot.

But Rammy were to be less fortunate immediately after as Radcliffe doubled their lead after 55 minutes. Owolabi was slipped a wonderful through ball by skipper Kingsley Williams and the number 10 wasn’t to be found wanting in front of goal as he rounded Ashton to take the Boro a step closer to the upcoming play off final.

The Rams were now on thin ice and another superb Ashton save prevented Radcliffe from going three up. Owolabi twisted and turned past several Rammy defenders, yet Ashton was an equal match for the frontman.

However Owolabi continued to cause problems for the Rammy back line as Radcliffe again saw a penalty call turned down.

Ashton was adjudged to have brought down Owolabi but like Harrison’s first half call Shacklady refused to award the home side a spot kick.

Ramsbottom looked brighter going forward as the second half progressed and seemed the more likely to halve the scoreline deficit. First Jason Carey’s attempt on goal was beaten away, before substitute Iyrwah Gooden saw an effort fly wide of the target.

Then against the run of play Boro scored the third and final goal of the semi final. On 77 minutes Ben Wharton coolly chipped the ball over the head of Ashton as the Rammy backline could only watch the ball trickle over the line.

Willcock’s side continued to look dangerous going forward despite Radcliffe causing problems on the counter attack. Both Jamie Rother and Nic Evangelinos had efforts blocked in and around the goalmouth, but the Blues defence was able to clear the danger easily.

Radcliffe were able to see out the remainder of the match and ran out well-deserved winners. It was Ramsbottom’s first away defeat in league action under manager Willcock as they ended the season with a feeling of disappointment. Yet the turn of form since the management takeover last October gives hope that in twelve months’ time the club will be in a similar position once again.

Ramsbottom: Ashton, Kennedy (c), Jacobs, Moran, Thompson, Kelvin Lugsden, Ellison (Gooden 70’), Rother, Rainford (Jerome 76’), Carey, Evangelinos Un-used subs: Bembo Leta, Donaldson, Osi-Efa

Category: Club News


A season that began with mediocre form has been turned on its head since the arrival of manager Chris Willcock in early October.

From a bottom half league placing, Ramsbottom United now find themselves one game away from confirming their place in the end-of-season play-offs.

With Atherton Collieries now confirmed as Champions and Radcliffe, as a result of the 0-0 draw against the Rams on Easter Monday, now assured of second place and a home draw on Tuesday in the semi-final, four teams are left to contest the other three play-off spots.

As things stand, providing the Rams avoid defeat in the last scheduled league game at home to mid-table Kidsgrove Athletic on Saturday, their inclusion in the play-offs next week is guaranteed.

That spot would also be confirmed should Colne fail to beat relegated Skelmersdale away or Runcorn Linnets can’t gather the three points on offer at Glossop North End.

However, should both those sides prove successful, then the Rams would need just one point to finish in the top five.

A win against a side that knocked Ramsbottom out of the FA Cup in former manager Mark Fell’s tenure early in the season, would guarantee a third or fourth place finish, depending on Leek Town’s result away at a Colwyn Bay side who would be playing their final game in the English pyramid before reverting back to Welsh football next season.

Should Leek and Ramsbottom both win, then the semi-final next Tuesday would take place between the two sides in Staffordshire, but should the Rams win and Leek fail to do so, then the fixture against whoever finishes in fourth place would be at the Harry Williams Riverside Stadium, with a 7.45pm kick off.

So with just one game left of the regular season, there is still all to play for, and in a campaign that has already thrown up many twists and turns, no doubt Saturday will produce one or two more.

Worst case scenario for the Rams is that Runcorn and Colne both win, and Kidsgrove return home with all three points. That would see Chris Willcock’s efforts all be for nought.

Hopefully a large crowd will turn up to cheer the boys in blue to another week of action and, as many well remember from the last time the play-offs were contested, a fascinating end to what has been a very entertaining season.

The League table (as at 9am Friday 26th April)

Category: Match Reports

REPORT: Rams 2 Mossley 1

Evo-Stik West Division

Saturday 20th April 2019


Attendance: 392

Report by Adam Clark

The Rams continued their play-off push with a 2-1 win at home to play off rivals Mossley.

Rammy manager Chris Willcock named an unchanged for a key game in the play-off race.

It was a quiet start to the game, in the first 15 minutes there wasn’t alot to report apart from a couple of half chances a side. Kyle Jacobs got a ball into the box but it was cleared by Josh Ollerenshaw in the Mossley goal & Andy Keogh for the visitors he had his shot caught by Rams’ keeper Sam Ashton.

Mossley had a penalty appeal turned down on 23 minutes, Max Leonard was the man who was brought down but the referee said no penalty.

It was a dramatic end to the first half when an off the ball incident occurred between Kieran Lugsden of Ramsbottom & Mossley’s skipper Andy Keogh they were both sent for an early bath just before half-time.

HALF TIME – Rams 0 Mossley 0

In the early stages of the second half both Rainford & Jacobs had shots for Rammy that went over the bar.

The game looked like it had a 0-0 written all over it until the 70th minute when the Rams took the lead through Jamie Rainford, he shot from the edge of the area it looked like it was going over but it hit the underside of the bar and went in.

The Rams doubled their lead 3 minutes later through Irwyah Gooden his shot came from just inside the 18-yard box and went into the back of the Mossley net via a deflection. Rams could have made it 3-0 on 78 minutes when a ball fell to the back post for Rother he just couldn’t get on the end of it.

Mossley got a conciliation goal with two minutes of normal time left, the ball fell to Adam Jones about 3 yards out who slotted home.

The Rams held on in added time to make it 3 wins from their last 3 games.

FULL TIME Rams 2 Mossley 1

Ramsbottom United; Sam Ashton, Tom Kennedy, Kyle Jacobs, Eddie Moran, Luke Thompson, Kelvin Lugsden, Ruben Jerome (Irywah Gooden 67’), Jamie Rother, Jamie Rainford (Ryan Ellison 90’), Kieran Lugsden, Nic Evangelinos (Jason Carey 70’).

Unused subs; Anthony Donaldson, Joel Bembo-Leta