Willcock’s men defy Skem’s physical ploy
EVO-STIK WEST DIVISION SKELMERSDALE UTD .... 0 RAMSBOTTOM UTD ....... 3 DAMIAN BARLOW ON a blustery afternoon in Merseyside, Ramsbottom got to grips with Skelmersdale’s physical approach to register an away win.
Skelmersdale fashioned the best chance of the opening exchanges as full back Charles Duke turned Nic Evangelinos in his own half and brought the ball forward before sending a well delivered 40 yard pass for Declan Daniels.
The striker worked enough space and got his effort away on the half volley, but lacked real purpose and Ashton’s positional acumen made the save a simple task.
However in his attempt at goal the challenge which hampered a more powerful shot seemed to have caused the front man some pain, and as both physios attended to him on the pitch, he finally left the playing area on a stretcher.
The visitors scored the breakthrough goal in the the 22nd minute as Anthony Donaldson worked his way down the left and managed to feed the ball towards the six-yard line for Ruben Jerome to make no mistake and smash his attempt past the static Smith.
The goal and lead gave the vistors the confidence and they went close to a second when Tom Kennedy’s free-kick towards the back post was met by Ellison who powerfully thundered a header inches over the bar.
The 26th minute finally saw the referees goodwill run out with the over zealous approach from Skem and the yellow card came out to play as James O’Hara needlessly hacked down Niall Rodney who was a yard from the touch line.
The favour was returned minutes later, and just as needlessly, Rodney found his name taken for a challenge that had more than a hint of retribution about it.
As the half time whistle thankfully blew on a 45 minutes which was littered with free kicks, mis-placed passes and two very different game plans, Ramsbottom did hold the advantage.
The second half started without any changes from either side.
If anyone was wondering if a change in approach would greet the onlookers for the second period they were left in no doubt as Ramsbottom were awarded their first re-start set piece within 10 seconds of the half.
As Tom Kennedy held the ball for a second too long, William Dunne mis-timed his challenge and became the second Skelmersdale player to aquaint himself with the referee’s book. ●● Anthony Donaldson
The bookings count was levelled up again shortly after as Ryan Ellison’s challenge on the recently booked Dunne was frowned upon by the man in the middle and after giving himself a few moments to be sure, he duly issued the warning of the yellow kind.
On 55 minutes the away side had a half hearted appeal for a penalty as Jerome rolled his man on the right hand side and sent in a low cross which was blocked by the covering defender who was lying on the floor. The official waved away any appeals coming his way, suggesting no intent.
The hour mark brought a great chance for the visitors to double their lead and probably put the game to bed. Ruben Jerome again showing great skill and ability to break free on the right side. A half challenge offered him the opportunity to chance his arm for a penalty claim but rightly chose to stay on his feet and found Evangelinos who showed equal ability to work an opening and got a shot away which beat the keeper only to be thwarted by the covering man on the line, his clearence only found Bembo-Leta and from seven yards somehow with the goal gaping sent his effort wide.
The second goal for Ramsbottom did arrive minutes later, as Evangelinos picked the ball up just in the Skelmersdale half and immediately looked to run at the back tracking defence. With only Jerome ahead he lifted a perfectly weighted ball into the path of the eager striker and once he had muscled his man off the ball he clinically despatched the ball in the top corner leaving the keeper well and truly beaten.
The 70th minute saw yet another cynical challenge on Donaldson, this time from home captain Phil Mooney. The challenge had a comparable similarity to the first two of the day, being down near the dug-out touchline, and as Donaldson dropped his shoulder one way and was ready to set off the other Mooney scythed him down waist height. This needless booking would prove very costly later.
Willcock made his first changes of the day on 72 minutes seeing Rodney and Jerome leaving the field with Jamie Rainford and Louis Rowe replacing them, and on 80 minutes Donaldson was replaced by Khalil Osi-Efa. ●● Ruben Jerome hammers in the Rams opener against Skelmersdale
Rowe showed good footwork on 82 minutes in the area, and with Rainford begging for the pass which would leave him with a free hit at goal, decided to go alone and tried his luck only for the keeper to parry, this time the rebound was turned in by Evangelinos, and the game was now safe.
On 86 minutes the Skelmersdale captain was given the unwelcome privilege of an early bath after another reckless challenge. After a brief consultation with his assistant, the referee was happy this was the correct decision.
Skelmersdale’s in your face approach did not intimidate or de-rail Ramsbottoms game plan, and the individual as well as team quality ensured the three points came back to the Riverside.