Match Preview: Rammy (a)
Andrew’s Match Preview
Ramsbottom United v Colne
Harry Williams Riverside Stadium
Saturday 12th November - 15:00
Colne travel 20 miles to “historic Lancashire” rivals Ramsbottom United, for another Autumn 6 pointer.
Ramsbottom United, nicknamed the Rams, play their home games at the Harry Williams Riverside Stadium, which has a record attendance of 2,104 achieved against FC United in 2015. Last season, the Rams finished 15th in the NPL West, and in the head to head with the Reds, a win apiece was the outcome. Goals from Murphy, Cooper and Abadaki, helped Rammy surge into a 3 goal lead, before a late consolation from Lee Pugh meant a 3-1 final scoreline for the home side last September. In the return at Holt House in March, an early Danny Edwards strike proved to be the only goal, as Colne gained revenge in front of 420 supporters.
This season Ramsbottom have struggled, winning 3, drawing 2 and losing 9 times. This has left the Rams in 20th place with 11 points from 14 games. The victories have come at home to Mossley 3-1, Prescot Cables 2-1, and away at Bootle 2-1. In the FA Cup this season, Rammy overcame Thackley 2-0 at home in a replay, before losing 3-4 at City of Liverpool, again in a replay. A 2-1 home win over Glossop North End in the FA Trophy gave the Rams a home tie against local rivals Clitheroe, but it was the Blues who ran out 4-1 winners. In their last home game Rammy went down 2-3 to Kidsgrove Athletic (highlights on YouTube), and last weekend, Ramsbottom travelled to Widnes in a clash of the bottom two, but it was the Cheshire side who prevailed 3-1. This means that the Rams have lost their last 4 games.
Ramsbottom United players to watch - Former Rochdale youngster Billy Hasler-Cregg, needs no introduction to the Red Army, after spending almost 3 years at Holt House. The pacy winger/attacker played for Altrincham, Stalybridge Celtic and Congleton Town before joining Colne in the summer of 2019. Billy was a very popular player for the Reds, but lack of starts saw him swap Red for Blue in February of this year. Ben Halfacre only joined United last month, but the experienced striker has already scored 4 times in 6 appearances. Ben was signed from Runcorn Linnets, having previous experience at this level with Mossley, Trafford and Glossop North End. Former Chester youth attacker James Murphy spent the biggest part of his career in the Welsh Premier league before signing for Litherland in the North west counties. A move to Rammy was short lived as he moved on to City of Liverpool after only 2 months. A return this season has seen him score 3 times in 12 appearances. Versatile 20 year old defender Oscar Radcliffe is an ever present for the Rams this season. He signed for Rammy in the summer after previously being at Bamber Bridge. Ex QPR youth, Witton Albion and Prescot Cables winger Leon Johnson, had a brief spell with Colne last October, turning out for the Reds on 4 occasions. Leon signed for the Rams late in September and has been in the side ever since, scoring 1 goal. Creative midfielder Tony Donaldson has been on the move regularly since coming through the youth ranks at Wigan Athletic. Securing a professional contact at Doncaster Rovers as a teenager, he has had 3 spells at Runcorn Linnets, and has also represented Marine, Runcorn Town, Widnes and is in his 2nd spell with Rammy. Tony also spent most of the 2019/20 season at Holt House. The Rams are managed by Lee Donafee, who stepped up from the assistant manager role last summer, after Chris Wilcock moved to Workington.
Last time out for the Reds - Following their 5 star performance the previous week, after smashing Warrington Rylands in the FA Trophy, the Reds’ disappointing home league form returned. Bootle arrived at Holt House on a 5 match losing streak, including a 4-1 home defeat in their last fixture. Oli Roberts dropped to the bench, nursing a hamstring issue, and Tom McCann took his place in the middle with Luke Stowe returning to the left hand side. Colne started ok and had some early play before Bootle adjusted better to the wet and windy conditions, kicking downhill on the heavy pitch. The Bucks showed their attacking intent with Nivaldo, McGowan, Hodkinson and Holland getting forward at every opportunity, and it was Jack McGowan who took advantage of a set play corner to arrive round the back of the Colne defence, unmarked, to give Bootle the lead on 19 minutes. Three minutes later, Reds striker Owen Watkinson had to be substituted after a clash of heads left him with a deep cut above his eye. Matty Kardacz came on to sit in the centre of the park, McCann moved to offensive midfielder and Craig Carney joined Lusiama in attack. And it was Enock Lusiama who had Colne’s best chance before the break, pouncing on a dropped ball by Stanway in the Bootle goal, but his goal bound strike was cleared off the line by Jacques Welsh. Ten minutes into the second half and the Bucks should have gone two up. Leading goal scorer Ben Hodkinson rounded Mendes in the Colne goal, but somehow managed to smash his shot over the goal. The Reds then began to take control, and kicking down the slope the pressure mounted, resulting in two quick yellow cards for Bootle’s full back Ben Roberts, who was sent for an early bath. With 20 minutes left on the clock, Jake Wallace was sacrificed as Lucas Weaver joined the Colne attack from the bench, moving McCann over to the right. Bradley Knox was lucky to only see a yellow card for what looked like a very aggressive challenge deep in the opposition half, as the Reds piled forward. This resulted in another red card for the Bucks, when substitute Will Bell was dismissed from the bench for entering the field of play to confront Knox. After 80 minutes, 10 man Bootle were undone by a long range effort from “natural goal scorer” Craig Carney, whose strike from outside the box somehow ended up in the Bootle goal. Colne couldn’t get a second, and a point apiece means that the Reds remain in 18th place with 12 points from 12 games. Despite a silly lunge which could have had a different outcome on another day, Bradley Knox was influential once more in the middle of the park, and he was Colne’s man of the match once again. The Reds were due to face Witton Albion on Tuesday evening, but the game was called off by the referee an hour before kick-off due to a waterlogged pitch.
Who’s on Ashh’s couch? - Oli Roberts missed Saturday’s game against Bootle with a hamstring issue, but he should be back.
Ellis Wallbank is back training fully and he is available for the squad.
Owen Watkinson needed 20 stitches in a wound above his eye received during the Bootle game. He won’t let that stop him, and he should be back in the starting line up against Rammy.
Glenn Steel was a doubt on Tuesday with a hamstring problem; he may be unavailable for selection.
Harry Winstanley is back to full training, and hopes to be back involved for the visit to AFC Fylde.
McDaniel “Danny” Kyobe is recovering from a fractured collar bone and is only a week away.
Aaron Turner is waiting to see a specialist concerning his meniscus knee issue.
Jack Doherty is still awaiting surgery for his ACL injury, that will rule him out for the season.
Hakan Burton is keeping fit whilst nursing his shoulder injury, and he is well ahead with his rehabilitation.
Team news - Matty Kardacz or Tom Fagan are likely to step into the defence in the absence of Glenn Steel, and Oli Roberts should return to central midfield, with Luke Stowe continuing on the left. Owen Watkinson and Enock Lusiama will spearhead the attack and 18 year old Kian Ellis could make the bench after returning from injury, along with Ellis Wallbank, Lucas Weaver and Oliver Lombard.
Ramsbottom are on a run of 4 defeats, and have won only 2 of their home league games, losing 5. Of Colne’s 4 away games, they have 1 win, 2 draws and a loss, and have 2 away victories in the FA Trophy. The Rams have conceded 36 goals in 14 outings, which is surprising for a side who set up with 5 at the back. Colne in contrast have the 2nd best defence in the bottom half of the table, and have a much more rounded midfield than the Rams, which is where they can take control of the game. Two differing strike forces face each other, with Rammy relying on the nippy, pacy Hasler-Cregg, playing off the target man Halfacre, whilst Colne’s two frontmen are powerful, aggressive and persistent. All the signs point to a cagey affair, especially with both sides setting up similarly. A win for the home side would see them jump above the Reds in the table, but their obvious naivety at the back, combined with their manager admitting that they are a team in transition, should play into the hands of Phil Brown’s improving team, and Colne can claim their 2nd away league win of the season, and give them the chance to move out of the bottom four.
Admission Prices are:
Adults : £9
Concessions : £5
Students with Valid ID: £6
Under 16's: £5
Under 12's: £1
Ramsbottom United Football Club
Harry Williams Riverside Stadium
Tue 15th November - Newcastle Town v Colne - 19:45 NPL West
Sat 19th November - AFC Fylde v Colne - 15:00 FA Trophy 2nd round
Sat 26th November - Leek Town v Colne - 15:00 NPL West
Today’s NPL West games - 15:00
1874 Northwich v Hanley Town
Bootle v Mossley
Leek Town v Clitheroe
Newcastle Town v Glossop North End
Runcorn Linnets v Kidsgrove Athletic
Skelmersdale United v Witton Albion
Trafford v Macclesfield
Workington AFC v Widnes