RAMSBOTTOM United's second trip to Ossett in seven days saw them bring home a point from their 1-1 draw at Ossett Town.

With the pitch at Inglefield looking heavy even before kick-off it free flowing football would prove a major challenge and the opening exchanges of the match did little to suggest otherwise.

It was Ossett that started the encounter positively with a couple of early excursions into the visitors' half which ended up with Sam Ashton comfortably collecting crosses without too much threat to his goal.

With almost 15 minutes played the Rams had their first attempt at goal when a long throw was cleared to the edge of the area where it fell kindly for leading scorer Jerome Wright but his attempt flew wide of the target.

As the first half continued Ramsbottom United began to look more of an attacking threat and midway through the half Wright tested home keeper Leigh Overton with a well-struck free kick from 20 yards, the Rams' first attempt on target.

The match was developing into a finely-balanced contest with both sides finding themselves in promising positions but failing to make the crucial final pass count.

But, with 10 minutes to go to half time, it was Ossett Town who broke the deadlock. A through ball down the right-hand channel caught out the Rams' defence and Town winger Jake Ellam surged towards the penalty area before squaring the ball to the unmarked Martin Pembleton, who tapped into an empty net to give the hosts the lead. 

The goal sparked the contest into life and both sides started creating presentable chances.

A superb Chris Rushworth cross found the head of Wright but the effort sailed wide of the target, and Ossett responded by fashioning an opening of their own, a low shot that was collected by Ashton in the Rams goal.

As half time approached Ramsbottom almost restored parity when good link-up play down the left flank saw Wright again burst into the box before unleashing a stinging shot which Overton parried back to him but he could not find the finish at the second attempt, with the ball deflected out for a corner.

Ossett looked to extend their advantage early in the second half when an incisive breakaway resulted Ashton making an impressive save to keep the deficit at one goal.

As the minutes ticked away the visitors continued their search for a leveller with increasing desperation but despite the team's hard work they could not fashion an effort on goal during an increasingly frustrating second period. 

In fact, Ossett Town looked the more likely team to add to the scoreline as Rammy committed more players forward in their bid for an equaliser, although the defence and industrious midfield kept the home attack at bay until home striker Nicky Boshell again tested Ashton on a breakaway. To their credit the Rams continued to push forward and almost got their reward when a scramble in the Ossett box saw three quick-fire goalbound efforts repelled by home keeper Overton and his increasingly stretched colleagues.

With half of the signalled injury time played the Rams attacked again and after superb work from Jack Burgess who drove at the defence before a tackle sent the loose ball to the ever-alert Sam Heathcote and his clinical low drive beat Overton to give the away side an equaliser, much to the delight of players, staff and travelling supporters. 

Rammy manager Mark Fell said: "In the first half we missed a hatful of chances, we didn’t deserve to go in a goal down but the defending for their goal was miles from what we expect. They outworked us for that and we need to ensure that doesn’t happen again. 

"In the second half there were chances at both ends and I think a point is probably a fair result. Their keeper has pulled off the best triple save I’ve ever seen at 1-0, but we showed enough character to keep going right to the end. 

“It wasn’t pretty on the eye and we got a bit long at times but the pitch was horrific, we’ve still some learning to do on how we adapt to pitches with no grass on them. 

“We’re 14 off the playoffs with four in hand, we’ve given nothing up yet. Of the 17 games left we have 11 at home – we’ll take each one at a time, we know there isn’t much margin for error but a run of four or five wins would put us right in the mix with lots of football still to play."