By Aaron Benson

RAMSBOTTOM came from two goals down to draw 2-2 with fellow non-league side Ashton United in their final home pre-season game before the new campaign.

Trailing by two goals at half time through a trialist and a Josh Wilson penalty, forwards Nic Evangelinos and Karl Jones earned the Rams a deserved draw.

Summer signing Jones joined the returning Ruben Jerome, Jamie Rother, Eddie Moran, Tom Kennedy and Nic Evangelinos in the starting XI with the remainder of the team being trialists.

Ashton made the brighter start and took the lead after just four minutes. A trialist took a shot from the edge of the area only for it to be turned over by the Rammy keeper, he again was an unnamed starter.

From the resulting corner, Ashton’s number nine bundled the ball home from close range.

The Rams responded well and looked a real threat going forward.

An Evangelinos effort was well saved by Jon Worsnop in the visiting goal, while fellow attacker Jerome and new signing Jones caused havoc for the Robins defence whenever they got hold of the ball.

The closest Rammy came to an equaliser came when a misdirected clearance by an opposition defender hit his own bar. Worsnop was certainly worried, back-pedalling nervously towards his own goal.

Yet all of the home side’s good work was wasted as the visitors doubled their lead in the 29th minute.

Liam Tomsett was brought down in the penalty area and from the resulting spot-kick, striker Wilson converted, smashing his shot into the roof of the net.

The Robins did net again just before the break through Connor Hughes, although he was adjudged offside by the assistant as he slid the ball home.

Chris Willcock’s side, wearing their new Rosebridge home kit for the season, came out with a new lease of life after the break and halved the deficit in the 52nd minute.

Jones was fouled as he made his way into the box, then from the same penalty spot as the first half, Rams’ number 11 Evangelinos sent Worsnop the wrong way.

Jones continued to cause all kinds of problems in the second half down the right-hand side, earning his just rewards with a goal of his own after 68 minutes.

A deep cross from the left was spilled by the Ashton keeper, falling to the number 10 who cut inside before launching a missile-like shot into the bottom left corner, bringing the men in blue level to complete the scoring

Manager Willcock saw the friendly as a game of two halves, highlighting the second period of the match as a real positive, unlike the first which wanted improvement.

He said: “We were off the pace first half, with how we set up and the way we went about our business.

“The goals are disappointing, we made silly schoolboy errors.

“Our ball retention lacked quality but once we addressed it I thought we were very good, much more like usual selves.”

Willcock also voiced his compliments for scorer Jones.

“He had his best game tonight,” he added. “He will have so much more confidence out of this performance, especially in front of goal. First half he was a good outlet, the second a constant thorn in their side.”

The management staff begin their first full season in charge this coming year and are more than ready for the season ahead.

‘We’ll get through our last pre-season games and then prepare for Widnes next week. The excitement will build no doubt as the game approaches. The butterflies will be turning and the adrenaline will be pumping.”