An afternoon that started so brightly for Ramsbottom United against AFC Liverpool quickly deteriorated as their injury jinx once again struck, hampering any attempt to put together a winning run, writes Tony Cunningham.

Within the first 60 seconds, the home side took the lead with a superb finish from Harvey Whyte.

Maine Walder, who has been one of the standout players of this campaign, again provided the assist, and Whyte took his pass from the left wing before venturing into the penalty area and unleashing an inch-perfect drive into the far top corner.

But, just 15 minutes later they would suffer the latest injury blow.

A well-struck free-kick from 25 yards by Liverpool’s Luke Porter, sailed inches wide of Ryan Hamer’s post. However, having dived to ensure he covered the ball, Hamer lay prone on the ground for a full eight minutes as the medics attempted to deal with the injury. A stretcher was called and the keeper was carried off with a nasty back injury, leaving substitute Kayle Power to come on and don the keeper’s jersey.

Despite the disadvantage, the Rams went looking to double the lead, and Whyte had a couple of attempts that missed the target before the visitors levelled things up.

On 31 minutes, a long cross-field ball from the right found Porter in acres of room on the left, and he pushed forward before cleverly slotting the ball past a flat-footed Power.

The first chance after the break came for the home side, when a left-wing corner was headed back in at the far post by Oscar Radcliffe only to see Tommy Lent’s close-range connection fly inches wide.

The visitors failed to test the stand-in stopper on as many occasions as was expected but they did enough to grab all three points on 62 minutes when Liam Paton found himself in space on the right-hand side of the penalty area to slide the ball home.

Liverpool held on for the win despite losing their captain, ex-Ram Tom Croughan, late on for comments made to the referee.

Rams boss Steve Wilkes said: “I’m beginning to think I’ve run over a black cat. I’ve never known injuries like we’ve had this season and today sums it up.

“My disappointment was how poor we once again were with the ball and never created anything ourselves. The players know e need to stick together and get out of the rut we’ve got ourselves in.”