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BOWLS: Bowls is booming at Tottington
RAMSBOTTOM United have put their bad start behind them and are now gunning to at least match their best-ever run in the FA Cup.
That was the rallying cry sounded by joint manager Anthony Johnson after guiding his side to their first win of their Evo-Stik Division One North campaign at Ossett Albion on Tuesday night.
Rammy leapfrogged their Yorkshire rivals to move out of the bottom two after an early double from Lee Gaskell secured a 2-1 victory.
The confidence-boosting win followed Saturday’s 2-2 draw at home to promotion favourites Northwich Victoria – Rammy’s first point of the season.
“I must say it is good to get that monkey off our backs,” said Johnson, after Ramsbottom withstood a second-half barrage from Ossett.
“I am just relieved for the lads. It was a scrappy win in the end but I would have settled for that before the match.
“The funny thing is that we are now three games unbeaten.
“People made a lot of us losing our first four games, but we are on a bit of a roll now and I could easily see us going on to cause a bit of an upset in the FA Cup.”
Ramsbottom’s good run started with a 5-0 thrashing of North West Counties side AFC Liverpool in the FA Cup and, after only scoring twice in their first four league matches, they now look to have hit attacking form.
After going behind against Northwich on Saturday, first- half strikes from Owen Roberts and Phil Dean put them in the driving seat in front of a crowd of 212.
But while Johnson admits nerves got the better of his players in the second half after Northwich equalised, they were not about to make the same mistake against Ossett.
“The two games were very different but they could easily have had the same outcome,” admitted Johnson.
“Northwich are a big club with some very good players and while our lads matched them, it was only natural for them to sit deeper as the half went on. We actually hit the bar three times in the opening half but got more nervous as the match progressed.
“Ossett are a different proposition entirely. We dealt manfully with their long balls and took a great deal of confidence from the way we defended.”
Next up is a difficult trip to Stocksbridge Park Steels in the first qualifying round of the FA Cup.
The Midlands side are currently sitting just above the relegation zone in the Evo-Stik Premier Division, and Johnson believes that, while they are the favourites, they could be there for the taking.
“I truly believe, in the form we are in, we can beat them,” he said.
“If we do, that will match the club’s best-ever run in the competition and will be my best as a manager.”
Tom Brookes and Mark Drew are available again after missing the last two matches while Ian Flannery (hamstring) and Gary Stopforth (ankle) could be fit to play some part in the tie.
Phil Edgehill is suspended, however, while Roberts limped off after scoring against Northwich and remains a doubt.
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