A NIC Evangelinos goal was enough to earn Ramsbottom United a point in a 1-1 draw with Runcorn Linnets.

Evangelinos hit back with a second-half strike after Zachery Aley had given Runcorn the lead.

Chris Willcock made just the one change to the side beaten 4-3 by Marine a fortnight ago, new signing Richie Baker making his debut while Mason Fawns dropped to the bench.

Runcorn made the brighter start to the encounter and could easily have opened the scoring inside 10 minutes. A Jack Hinnigan cross found Aley but he could only head wide of the target.

Linnets continued to threaten the Rammy goal and the hosts were again fortunate not to concede when Paul Shanley found himself one on one with Tom Stewart. Fortunately for the Rams Shanley saw his effort deflected well wide.

Ramsbottom were lacking a killer touch in the final third although their effort was hard to fault. The nearest goalmouth action came when left winger Iywrah Gooden sent a flying header wide after making a clever run to the back post. Gooden then blazed over the bar after latching on to an Evangelinos pass.

In the 40th minute Runcorn broke away and took the lead. Unmarked left-back Aley made a marauding run into the six-yard box, meeting a cross with a header that flew past the outstretched Stewart to give the visitors a half-time lead that was tough for the Rams to stomach.

The home side came out firmly on the front foot in the second half and Reece Fishwick fired just off- target.

As the half progressed, the Rams looked short of quality in key moments. After winning a free kick 20 yards out, Evangelinos blazed the ball onto the railway line out of the ground and Rother also fired wide of the post.

When Evangelinos’ shot again drifted over the bar from close range, it was looking like a day in which the ball just would not find the net.

Yet Evangelinos was not to be beaten and, after 73 minutes, he levelled for the men in blue. Gooden’s deflected effort found the striker who, from 10 yards out, burst the net with a fine finish.

Deep into stoppage time, Kelvin Lugsden was denied a winner the hosts’ second-half performance deserved with a close-range effort clutched on the line by Linnets keeper Michael Emery.

Rams manager Willcock was pleased with his side’s performance even though they missed out on victory.

“I thought we were excellent from start to finish,” he said. “We limited them to few chances and our keeper has had nothing to do.

“The Linnets goal was a half-chance really, but it was a great header. Defensively we looked more solid and the work rate was fantastic, we deserved to win the game.”

“I can’t get carried away with the result today. Hopefully we can kick on from this as we looked more solid. I’ve got a lot of thinking to do with regards to the forward line and I haven’t said that for a while.

“What happened against Marine hurt them. We’ve had some great training sessions in midweek and we’ve limited our mistakes. Only conceding one goal will give the lads much needed confidence going forward. Everyone can be more buoyant – the team and the fans.

“Today is a start, now let’s see if we can build on it.”

The Rams did just that with a 2-1 victory in their midweek trip to Prescot Cables.

The visitors raced out of the blocks and Evangelinos saw his early effort blocked at the near post by keeper Oliver Taylor.

But on four minutes Rammy were in front. Gooden took a pass from Tom Kennedy and, after shrugging off a challenge, drilled a low shot beyond Taylor.

On a tricky surface Gooden and Evangelinos were a threat on the break and they combined for the second goal. Rother burst forward and sent Gooden flying down the left channel. He released a well-timed pass to Evangelinos and he finished clinically.

Prescot struggled to penetrate the Rammy defence with Tom Stewart in goal barely troubled. At the other end Reece Fishwick narrowly off-target with a couple of chances and Taylor prevented a third Ramsbottom goal when Rother let fly from outside the box

With 10 minutes to go Cables halved the deficit. Rammy struggled to clear the ball effectively and when it fell to James Edgar his well-placed shot arrowed into the corner of the goal to set up a nervous finish.

But, despite numerous set-pieces being delivered into the area the Rams remained steadfast and negotiated the final few minutes with little difficulty.