Winsford United took a vital step towards securing their Vodkat Premier status with a deserved 2-1 victory at Ramsbottom United on Tuesday night.
The Blues’ win was their first in 2009 and will boost morale ahead of Saturday’s home clash with Silsden AFC (3pm).
Goals either side of the break sealed the victory but in truth they could have had two or three more, such was their domination in the latter stages.
It seemed to be a familiar tale early on and after just 50 seconds the hosts found themselves in front.Š
Some slick football and poor defending allowed Andy Sensale into space and his cross was met by Eddie O’Neill to give the home side the perfect start.
Winsford however were not being overawed by the situation as they battled back and came close to equalising almost immediately when Les Miranda’s 25-yard effort was inches over the bar.
The visitors soon settled down and a good run by Tony Sayer saw him shoot inches wide from 30 yards. Omar Mahmoud was the next to go close and his goal bound shot looked to be heading for the top corner before it was deflected over the bar.
The Blues forwards were linking well and such a link-up between Nathan Southern and Miranda saw the veteran striker burst clear but his attempted lob was misjudged and easily saved by Chris Thompson in the Rammies goal.
The home team were still looking dangerous at this stage and only a spectacular header off the line by John Couch prevented them doubling the lead.
There was action at both ends in this topsy-turvy match, but on the stroke of half-time, Winsford found the equaliser, which had always looked like coming.Š
Lee Duckworth’s free kick wide on the left found Nathan Southern in space on the right side of the area and his pinpoint cross was nodded home by Miranda.
Mahmoud was causing all sorts of problems on the left flank and it was his cross in the first minute after the break that lead to a penalty when in the resulting scramble the ball was handled by John Blackley. With regular spot kick expert Darren Connell on the bench Duckworth stepped it to send Thompson the wrong way and bury the ball in the bottom left corner.
The young Winsford forward line continued to trouble the defence and the home side were fortunate not to go further behind.Š
Sadly, the hosts were rapidly losing their discipline out of frustration and they were only able to make speculative shots at goal from distance, and some unsavoury situations led to a spate of yellow cards and eventually to Blackley’s dismissal.Š
Winsford had more energy as the home side failed to make any inroads towards an equaliser and Lee Granell, making his debut in the Winsford goal, was rarely troubled.
The Blues might well have added to their score when Mark Calland made a spectacular run into the box but his shot was deflected wide and from the resulting corner the same player’s header was inches over the bar.
Further efforts by Miranda and Connell went close but in the end they played the time out comfortably and sent the travelling supporters home in a way they hadn’t experienced since December 6 last year, the date of their last victory.