RAMSBOTTOM inflicted a first away defeat of the season on local rivals Radcliffe in an action-packed Boxing Day cracker at the Riverside.

Rammy came from behind to beat the league leaders 2-1, a victory that saw Chris Willcock’s side go fifth in Evo-Stik West, Boro slipping to second in the table.

Radcliffe went into the game on the back of seven consecutive victories in the league but it was the home side who started on the front foot. Tom Kennedy drew an early save from Radcliffe keeper Ollie Martin and an Anthony Donaldson shot flew over the bar.

But it was table-toppers Radcliffe who took the lead midway through the half.

Tunde Owolabi charged down the right wing at pace and a threaded through ball split the Rams defence.

Owolabi’s pass found Ben Wharton who slid the ball past Sam Ashton to hand the visitors an early advantage.

Rammy did not let the early goal affect them and bounced back with efforts of their own. Donaldson’s attempt was expertly saved by Martin and on the rebound Nic Evangelinos was denied a leveller by Matty Williams, who somehow managed to clear off the line.

Jamie Rother also tried his luck from distance, only for his shot to rattle the bar.

However Rammy’s pressure brought them a reward moments later when Jamie Rainford pounced on a route-one ball from the back, and rounded Martin to slot home the equaliser on the stroke of half time.

Radcliffe carved out the first attempt of the second half but Ashton prevented Wharton from netting a second goal after a mix-up in the Rams’ back line.

On the hour mark came the winning goal, scored by Kennedy. Rammy were awarded a free kick just outside the box and Kennedy’s expertly-taken effort curled round the wall and into the bottom corner.

Ramsbottom continued to assert their dominance as the half wore on and had a penalty appeal turned down during a goalmouth scramble. Wharton had another opportunity but under pressure he looped his shot on the turn over the bar.

A Kennedy effort was deflected wide for a corner, from which Luke Thompson’s header was again cleared off the line.

On his home debut, Richard Brodie could also have scored with a header, and another opportunity for a third goal came and went in the game’s dying stages, Rainford fluffing his lines when the ball fell to him.

Wharton had a late chance to snatch a draw for Boro but headed straight at the keeper and Ramsbottom took the points from a fully-committed derby clash.