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First Team - Match centre

Ramsbottom United
Full time
B Hodkinson (75')
Sat 2 Mar 15:00 - The Evo-Stik League - West Division Attendance 147

REPORT | Ramsbottom United 0-1 Widnes


Widnes take narrow victory back to Halton

Ben Hodkinson struck 15 minutes from time as Widnes beat playoff-chasing Ramsbottom United 1-0 in the Evo-Stik League Division One West.

In a tight affair at the Harry Williams Stadium, Widnes battled for a narrow victory with Hodkinson’s strike proving the difference as the Whites ended their four-game losing streak in the league.

The home side had the chance to level late on but a superb Sam Sheen block on the line prevented Nic Evangelinos from netting a stoppage time equaliser as Widnes kicked-off March with a vital three points.

GALLERY | Ramsbottom United v Widnes
72 photos

Steve Akrigg and Kev Towey made two changes to the side beaten at home by Leek Town last time out, with Shaun Holden coming in at left-back to make his first Widnes start with Niall Watson dropping to the bench.

Elsewhere, Blackpool loanee Finlay Sinclair-Smith made his debut on the right of a front-three, replacing the suspended George Lomax.

In a slow start to the game the crowd at the Riverside were made to wait until the midway point of the half for the first real sight of goal. Rammy right-back Kyle Jacobs marauded forward but his effort was routinely beaten away by Owen Wheeler.

Ramsbottom were on top but failed to trouble Wheeler as Eddie Moran and Jason Carey both missed the target with half-chances.

Despite the Rams’ relative control of proceedings, it was Widnes who had the best chance of the half with Michael Grogan threading a pass through to Hodkinson but his effort was thwarted low by Sam Ashton. The striker’s rebound was bundled over the line but the Whites’ top goalscorer was penalised for handball.

Widnes spurned an opportunity to break the deadlock three minutes into the second half. Chris Lomax raced in behind the Rams’ defence and advanced on goal but unselfishly looked to square for Hodkinson, allowing Tom Kennedy to recover and make a crucial intervention when the winger was perhaps better served taking a shot on himself.

Akrigg and Towey’s men continued to limit their hosts to half-chances with Evangelinos poking wide after having an initial effort charged down by Phil Mooney.

Both sides looked to the bench for inspiration. Kieran and Kelvin Lugsden were introduced for Ramsbottom while Watson replaced the lively Sinclair-Smith for Widnes.

Moments later, Ramsbottom spurned a glorious opportunity to break the deadlock when Carey split the Widnes defence to find himself one-on-one with Wheeler, only to skew an effort off target when he looked certain to score.

And Widnes made Rammy pay less than a minute later as the visitors mustered a crucial opener. A wayward Ryan Ellison pass was intercepted by a sliding George Webster challenge, teeing up Hodkinson, who rolled his man and fired a shot beyond Ashton.

The Rammy goalkeeper would have been disappointed after getting a firm glove on the effort but Widnes and Hodkinson didn’t care as the visitors were in front.

Ramsbottom responded strongly, but they routinely came unstuck against a disciplined and defiant Widnes defence. Ruben Jerome’s header towards goal was cleared by the immense Sheen, while Evangelinos blazed over minutes later.

Sheen – who produced a Man of the Match performance – would come to Widnes’ rescue inside second half stoppage time. Ellison helped on a deep cross towards Evangelinos who looked certain to score, but the stand-in Widnes skipper threw himself at the ball to make a brilliant block to preserve his side’s clean sheet.

Credit to Widnes for their defensive efforts, shutting out a determined United side to take an important three points back to Halton.

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Sam Sheen

Player of the Match

Sam Sheen

Key moments

Goal Ben Hodkinson scores for Widnes

Videos and photos

GALLERY | Ramsbottom United v Widnes
72 photos


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90:00 Player of the Match
Sam Sheen is awarded player of the match for Widnes
90:00 Clean Sheet Bonus
Owen Wheeler keeps a clean sheet for Widnes
85:00 Sub Off
Chris Lomax is substituted off for Widnes
85:00 Sub On
Kev Towey is substituted on for Widnes
80:00 Sub Off
Michael Grogan is substituted off for Widnes
80:00 Sub On
Sean Myler is substituted on for Widnes
75:00 Assist
George Webster makes an assist for Widnes
75:00 Goal 0 - 1
Ben Hodkinson scores for Widnes
73:00 Sub Off
Finlay Sinclair-Smith is substituted off for Widnes
73:00 Sub On
Niall Watson is substituted on for Widnes
61:00 Yellow Card
Michael Grogan is yellow carded for Widnes
46:00 Kickoff
Widnes kick off
End of period 1
1:00 Kickoff
Ramsbottom United kick off
Start of the game
Replay game

As it happened

  • Ramsbottom United
  • Widnes
  • 0
  • Michael Grogan Yellow Card 61:00'
  • Finlay Sinclair-Smith Sub Off 73:00'
  • Niall Watson Sub On 73:00'
  • George Webster Assist 75:00'
  • Ben Hodkinson Goal 75:00'
  • Michael Grogan Sub Off 80:00'
  • Sean Myler Sub On 80:00'
  • Chris Lomax Sub Off 85:00'
  • Kev Towey Sub On 85:00'

Team selection

Wheeler, Owen Wheeler, Owen
Roberts, Jay Roberts, Jay
Holden, Shaun Holden, Shaun
Sinclair-Smith, Finlay Sinclair-Smith, Finlay
Sheen, Sam Sheen, Sam
Mooney, Phil Mooney, Phil
Webster, George Webster, George
Grogan, Michael Grogan, Michael
Hodkinson, Ben Hodkinson, Ben
Brazel, Harry Brazel, Harry
Lomax, Chris Lomax, Chris
Ramsbottom United
  • 1. Sam Ashton
  • 2. Tom Kennedy
  • 3. Kyle Jacobs
  • 4. Eddie Moran
  • 5. Luke Thompson
  • 6. Ryan Ellison
  • 7. Jason Carey
  • 8. Jamie Rother
  • 9. Ruben Jerome
  • 10. Tony Donaldson
  • 11. Nic Evangelinos
  • 12. Kahail Osi-Efa
  • 13. Kieran Lugsden
  • 14. Joel Bembo-Leta
  • 15. Kelvin Lugsden
  • 16. Tom Schofield

League round up

Other West Division results

Atherton Collieries
Kendal Town
Runcorn Linnets
Colwyn Bay

League table

# Team Pl Pts
10. Kidsgrove Athletic 38 58
11. Colwyn Bay 38 52
12. Widnes 38 51
13. Chasetown 38 46
14. Droylsden 38 43
15. Newcastle Town 38 40
16. Market Drayton Town 38 40

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