No keep­ing Colls out in cup exit

Rossendale Free Press - - Sport -

INTEGRO LEAGUE CUP QUAR­TER FI­NAL ATHER­TON COLLS ..... 2 RAMS­BOT­TOM UTD ... 0 JON HASLAM RAMS­BOT­TOM United made the trip to Ather­ton Col­lieries in the quar­ter fi­nal of the Integro League Cup on Thurs­day night with a team that showed just one al­ter­ation from the Col­wyn Bay match some 48 hours ear­lier with Phil Dean start­ing in place of Chris Rush­worth.

On a rainy evening it was the Rams that started the con­test brightly and on seven min­utes and had a penalty shout turned away by ref­eree Is­sawi as Jon Robin­son went down from a chal­lenge from Hart­ley.

With just 13 min­utes played it was the hosts who took the lead when a right sided cor­ner by Hard­cas­tle found the head of the un­marked Lynch whose down­ward header was well saved by Sam Ash­ton only for Ather­ton for­ward Farrell to re­act the quick­est to blast a shot into the net from close range.

Rams­bot­tom United then flick­ered into life from an at­tack­ing point of view when a good move down the right flank from the pacey Luke Jor­dan gave Robin­son a half chance but home keeper Hart­ley saved com­fort­ably.

Ather­ton looked to dou­ble their ad­van­tage with around five min­utes of the half to play as the im­pres­sive Hard­cas­tle latched onto a long pass but mis-con­trolled as he was about to shoot.

Mo­ments later a strong run and cross down the left wing from Peet found Hard­cas­tle again at the far post but his well struck ef­fort was kept out by the div­ing Ash­ton.

The Rams re­sponded with per­haps their best piece of at­tack­ing play when More­cambe loa­nee Jor­dan picked up a Thomp­son pass on the left touch­line be­fore beat­ing his man and fir­ing a welldirected shot which Hart­ley in the Colls goal tipped over the cross­bar. With the half almost at an end it was Ather­ton who fin­ished the stronger and Ash­ton was called into ac­tion again to gather a well struck Farrell free kick with the hosts go­ing into the break de­servedly a goal to the good.

As the sec­ond half be­gan with both sides un­changed hopes were high amongst the Rams sup­port­ers in at­ten­dance that their favourites would rise to the oc­ca­sion of a cup quar­ter fi­nal and con­tinue their good run in this sea­sons com­pe­ti­tion.

The open­ing 20 min­utes of the sec­ond pe­riod was an even af­fair with nei­ther side re­ally look­ing likely to add to the score­line, with the Rams play­ing down­hill nu­mer­ous long passes frus­trat­ingly failed to find their tar­get as the vis­i­tors found it dif­fi­cult to gen­er­ate any at­tack­ing mo­men­tum.

Mark Fell made his first sub­sti­tu­tion on 63 min­utes as Jamie Rother gave way to Sam Made­ley in an at­tempt to force an equaliser but the home sides lead con­tin­ued to look largely un­threat­ened.

With time run­ning out Ather­ton looked to keep pos­ses­sion of the ball and play on the counter at­tack whilst per­haps un­sur­pris­ingly as the Rams were forced to throw more men for­ward more space be­gan to open up for the hosts.

While the away side showed no lack of ef­fort they just couldn’t find a way past a res­o­lute Ather­ton de­fence to fash­ion a clear-cut goalscor­ing op­por­tu­nity.

The sec­ond and de­ci­sive goal ar­rived with just three min­utes of nor­mal time re­main­ing when Hard­cas­tle picked up the ball and ran into the penalty box at the Rams de­fence be­fore un­leash­ing a shot which fizzed past Ash­ton to con­firm vic­tory for Ather­ton.

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