Report: Ramsbottom United 1-0 Colls

Instalment two of Colls' run of four games in seven days saw Micheal Clegg's side fall to defeat on a chilly night away to Ramsbottom United as the black and whites' ten game unbeaten record, stretching back to early January, finally came to an end in East Lancashire. With high-flying Scarborough Athletic due to visit the Kensite Stadium twice in the next few days, Clegg shuffled his pack from Saturday's 2-0 win away to Radcliffe Borough, with goalkeeper Dale Latham making his Colls debut between the sticks in place of Greg Hartley, while Adam Farrell, Glenn Matthews and Dave Sherlock all earned starting spots, with the latter in the starting eleven for the first time since returning to the club recently, with Josh Messer, Ben Hardcastle and Iain Howard all on the bench after starting Saturday's encounter. The substitutes’ bench also saw the return of Gareth Peet, back in the squad having recovered from the injury he picked up in the 1-1 draw with Goole more than two months ago that marked the beginning of Colls' lengthy unbeaten run that has lifted them to the safety of mid-table. It wouldn't be unfair to suggest that the first half was an encounter high on endeavour but lacking in quality, with neither side threatening the scorers in what was rapidly descending in to a rather chilly game of midfield pinball. Marcus Cusani was replaced by Ben Hardcastle after six minutes of the second half in the hope of introducing more attacking flair to the Colls outfit, but it was the home side who had the first serious glimpse of goal, forcing a smart save from debutant Latham, tipping a Jamie Rother effort over the crossbar. Controversy was to reign on sixty two minutes when the hosts were awarded a free kick on the right hand side of the Colls penalty area in what was to prove to ultimately be the decisive moment in the match. Just as the ball was about to be swung in, the referee noticed blood on the shirt of Matt Grimshaw and immediately sent him from the field to receive treatment before allowing the free kick to be taken, with the net result seeing Colls defending the free kick with only ten men and minus arguably their strongest aerial defender. Latham did well to twice deny the hosts whilst being put under what could be politely described as ‘heavy pressure’ from the somewhat burly attackers in blue, but it wasn’t to be third time lucky for Latham as right back Zehn Mohammed topped off a fine individual performance scrambled home what turned out to be the winning goal. Having introduced Josh Messer from the bench shortly before the conceding of the Ramsbottom goal, Clegg made his final throw of the dice on sixty nine minutes as Gareth Peet made a welcome return to action after more than two months out with injury, but Colls continued to struggle to make headway in the game. There were cries for a visiting penalty on 80 minutes when Hardcastle was sent sprawling in the box in the midst of a Ramsbottom sandwich, but the appeals fell on deaf ears as Colls became increasingly desperate for an equaliser. They thought the perfect chance had arrived just two minutes before the end when Peet’s corner was won in the air by Grimshaw who in turn nodded it on for unmarked centre back partner Daniel Lafferty, but his header brushed Sam Ashton’s right hand post and the chance was gone, and with it Colls’ astounding unbeaten run as the hosts ran out worthy victors. As mentioned earlier, Scarborough Athletic are the visitors to the Kensite Stadium this Thursday (22nd March) for a 7.45pm meeting in the Integro League Cup Third Round before making the same journey to downtown Athy on the Saturday (24th March) for a 3pm Evo-Stik League Division One North fixture. Ramsbottom United: Sam Ashton, Zehn Mohammed, Liam Brownhill, Dean Stott ©, Luke Thompson, Ryan Ellison, Phil Dean (Chris Rushworth 90'), Jamie Rother, Tom Brooks (Sam Madeley 83'), Greg Daniels (Lee Gaskell 88'), Jerome Wright. Substitutes (not used); Jack Burgess Goals: Zehn Mohammed (62') Atherton Collieries: Dale Latham, Jake Kenny, Daniel Lambert, Matt Grimshaw, Daniel Lafferty, Brad Cooke ©, Adam Farrell (Josh Messer 59'), Marcus Cusani (Ben Hardcastle 51'), Jordan Cover, Dave Sherlock, Glenn Matthews (Gareth Peet 69'). Substitutes (not used); Iain Howard, James Sigsworth Attendance: 140 Match Report: Matt Lawton Photograph: Ian Monk

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