TWO off-form sides collected a point apiece as Ramsbottom United conceded a late equaliser at home to struggling Skelmersdale.

The Rams began positively enough with Greg Daniels and Jerome Wright linking up effectively early on and the teams exchanged long-distance shots, Alex Meaney firing over for the home team and Tom Molyneux and Callum Mahoney for Skelmersdale.

As the first half wore on Ramsbottom gained the upper hand and almost scored midway through the first period through Lee Gaskell’s superbly-executed overhead kick which beat the keeper but came back into play off the bar.

Gaskell has another chance shortly after, when a surging run and pass from Sam Heathcote created the opening but he was off target.

But Gaskell did give his side a deserved lead as half time approached. A superb ball from Daniels fed Wright and his cross was finished with aplomb by Gaskell for his first goal since returning to the Riverside just before Christmas.

Ramsbottom struggled to rediscover their attacking fluency after the restart though, and Skelmersdale pressed forward in search of an equaliser.

However, on the hour mark Wright’s vicious shot ruffled the side netting, while the visitors were not troubling Rams’ keeper Charlie Albinson.

With 15 minutes remaining the home side suffered a blow to their chances, Albinson sustaining a hand injury that prevented him continuing and, with no goalkeeper on the bench, midfielder Dean Stott had to don the gloves for the remainder of the game.

With admirable protection in front of the stand-in keeper it looked like Ramsbottom would see out the victory, and they almost doubled the lead through Wright but his shot from a tight angle sailed wide of the far post.

With the 90 minutes played the referee indicated there would be six minutes of stoppage time, and with four of them played a Skelmersdale corner was not cleared, allowing substitute Jordan Darr to poke in an equaliser to deny Mark Fell’s side a much-needed win.