A trip over to St Helens had the Rammy faithful smiling but no doubt wondering why the team has left it so late in the season to be producing such good performances, writes Tony Cunningham.

Hot on the heels of a well-deserved win at Cheadle Town and an encouraging performance at Gigg Lane against Bury, the Rams well and truly buried this Pilkington team for the second time this season, both with emphatic 5-1 score-lines.

On an artificial pitch, much more suited to the passing style than the farmers’ field that was Gigg Lane, the Rams took the game to their hosts from the off, with some neat interplay, and it was no surprise when the scoring was opened as early as the twelfth minute. Dylan McMahon created space down the left, and his ball into the box found Oumar Camara, who gleefully hammered the ball home.

Mind, before that, the away side nearly had a scare when a hopeful lob into the box from Gabriel Ellis rebounded back into play off the crossbar.

The Rams early goal instilled the confidence to continue to attack the home goal. Harvey Whyte was denied by the keeper at close range, then fired over the bar as they sought a quick second. Camara drifted another effort just wide while Luke Sephton saw his shot saved by the home keeper.

Failure to add to the score seemed to instil hope for the home side, and they began to play the Rams at their own game. That effort brought it’s reward after 33 minutes, when a poor back header left Freddy Garbutt with the opportunity to poke the ball home from close range, and suddenly, against the run of play, it was all level.

And so it stayed until the break, with the visitors wondering how they had not stamped more of their authority onto the game.

The second half, however would answer that question.

After an early scare when Ellis was provided with a perfect opportunity, only to see his close-range header well saved by Chris Thomson, the one-way traffic returned.

A great through ball from the outstanding Theo Butterworth fed Luke Sephton, but he was denied by an excellent covering save by Jake Hilton in the home net, then the keeper was equal to an effort from Manouchehr Tavakoli, but the resistance was soon to be broken.

On 56 minutes some determined running down the right wing saw Tavakoli keep the ball in play, feed it to Sephton on the by-line, and his low cross was met by Camara from a yard out to give the Rams the lead again.

Minutes later, Butterworth charged through the middle only to be denied as his fierce drive bounced back off the foot of the post.

However, on 64 minutes, the game was effectively over as a Whyte corner from the left was met by the leaping Roman Allen who headed home to make it 3-1.

At that point it was a case of how many. The Rams roared forward on multiple occasions. Whyte saw his shot well held by the diving keeper, before a tempting low cross from Oscar Radcliffe just failed to be converted by Camara.

A long throw-in from Radcliffe found Dylan McMahon, whose trickery deserved better than to see the ball land on the roof of the net, but on 73 minutes the fourth goal did arrive.

A sweeping run down the left from Sephton saw the captain-for-the-day’s cross converted at the far post by Camara who celebrated a well-deserved hat-trick.

Indeed, he almost added his fourth when he was just over from a Henri Ogunby centre, but he would not be denied later.

In the meantime, the free-flowing visitors created another fine chance as a Sephton cross from the right evaded Camara only for Ogunby to hit the side netting as it flashed along the front of the goal.

Defender Harvey Hayhurst decided to join in the fun, with a strike that flew inches wide and a low drive that the over-worked custodian managed to save.

The same keeper then turned a fierce shot from Sephton wide before denying Radcliffe.

There was still time for the Rams to add a fifth, and it was that man Camara who was in the right place to convert another assist from Sephton.

The 5-1 score-line did certainly not flatter the Rams, who, with the exception of a fifteen-minute spell before half-time, completely dominated proceedings, and maybe should have returned home with an even bigger reward.

Manager Steve Wilkes said: “Good to finally get the rewards from a game that we’ve deserved.

“Apart from conceding a sloppy goal, I thought we dominated the 90 minutes and 5-1 doesn’t actually reflect just how much we dominated the game.

“Let’s hope we carry the form into the four remaining games all of which are derby games.”