Report by Aaron Benson
Photo credit – Haydan Ray Photography
Ramsbottom United went top of the BetVictor North West table overcoming Workington 2-0 in an action-packed top of the table encounter. The home side produced arguably their most important performance of the season as Reuben Jerome and Josh Hmami proved to be the difference with two well taken first-half goals.
Chris Willcock named an unchanged side from the eleven beaten 3-2 at Dunston in the previous game and his decision was vindicated straight away. The Rams struck the first blow going in front after just three minutes. On his first venture forward of the afternoon, Iyrwah Gooden was brought down by Ceiran Casson earning a free kick in a dangerous position. The subsequent delivery by Tom Kennedy was turned home by frontman Jerome with a clever finish leaving Jim Atkinson rooted to the spot in the visiting goal.
Starting the day top of the table, Danny Grainger’s side were always going to cause problems for the Rams defence. Left-winger David Symington was the first player to try his luck at Tom Stewart driving a shot inches wide of the goal after flying past Reece Fishwick. Moments later the post came to the rescue for Ramsbottom when Scott Allison saw an effort ricochet off the post. Tom Kennedy and Luke Thompson both made key defensive blocks to prevent an equaliser.
After weathering a heavy Workington storm, the home side looked to double their advantage through Gooden. Looking to catch Atkinson cold off his line the number seven could only drag his effort wide. However, patience would prevail as a second goal was scored in the 39th minute. A dangerous cross by Eddie Moran was met by Josh Hmami who made no mistake with a cool finish sending the home fans into raptures behind the net.
Tom Stewart was called into action immediately after Hmami’s goal, diverting a Connor Tinnion header out for a corner which on another day may have burst the net. In the final chance of the half, Kennedy was unable to add a third goal with a free-kick comfortably saved by Atkinson. The halftime scoreline justified a wonderful first 45 minutes by Willcock’s side.
The second half proved to be a dominant one for the Rams. Only a lack of potency in the final third denied a comfortable victory. Gooden was the first to create a chance jinxing past Liam Brockbank although the effort hit the side netting.
Giving their opponents numerous slices of luck due to several missed goalmouth opportunities, it looked as if Workington were being given more lives than a cat. Jerome and Evangelinos both missed big chances when through on goal then the latter hit both posts but not the netting. Still looking to kill the game off with a third goal, Moran leapt the highest of any player in the six-yard area but his header evaded the target. Drawing a blank in the second half, in the end, did not matter as the Rams claimed a comfortable victory at a crucial point in the season.