RAMSBOTTOM United’s journey to Leek Town’s Harrison Park saw them suffer a chastening 4-0 defeat.

Both sides occupied top-10 spots prior to kick off and Rammy held their own in the early exchanges, Lee Gaskell denied by a save by Leek keeper Ben Chapman.

But, just a minuute later, Leek opened the scoring on 16 minutes when a long ball caught the Ramsbottom defence appealing in vain for offside, leaving Rob Stevenson with time to lift the ball over Sam Ashton for a lead they were not to surrender.

They took just two minutes to double their advantage, when Trickett Smith picked the ball up on the left channel 30 yards from goal and evading numerous flimsy challenges before calmly finishing through Ashton’s legs from the edge of the area.

As the half progressed the Rams’ struggles continued. They could not put together any real cohesive passing going forward and looked unusually hesitant in defence.

Rammy did flicker into life after half an hour and Nathan Brown forced a spectacular save from Chapman, who tipped the effort over the crossbar to preserve their lead at the break.

It took until shortly after the hour mark for leek to seal the win. A long ball was misjudged by the Rams’ defence leaving Johnson the simple task of looping a header over the stranded Ashton.

With the match meandering to its conclusion and Leek in control, things got worse for the visitors on 75 minutes when Rob Henry upended Stevenson in the penalty area, allowing Darren Chadwick to tuck away the spot kick and complete the scoring on a miserable afternoon for Ramsbottom, who were denied a late consolation, when Chapman saved efforts from Tom Brooks and Gaskell.