Millers win a game of two halves

Vodkat League Challenge Cup Third Round

Ramsbottom United 1

New Mills 2

If ever there was a game of two contrasting halves then this was it as New Mills turned around a one goal deficit at half time to deservedly progress into the quarter finals of the cup.

The home side very nearly took the lead in the opening minute when Dominic Smalley’s dangerous cross flashed across the face of the goal and just past an outstretched leg at the back post.

Rammy, looking slightly more threatening going forward, made the breakthrough in the 21st minute when New Mills full back Mike Bowler executed a decent block tackle but the loose ball ricocheted fortuitously into the path of Carl Lomax. After carrying the ball goalwards, the striker’s subsequent shot was parried by Dominic Ingram-Hughes but only to Joel Pilkington who comfortably netted the rebound.

The Millers struggled as an attacking force in the first half and only twice did they really get in range of the home goal. Douglas-Pringle elected to shoot when he had team-mates in a better position to his left and then Chris Hirst did the opposite by passing when he had time and space to test keeper Grant Shenton.

Rammy player manager Anthony Johnson only had himself to blame when he missed a gilt edged opportunity to double his side’s lead in the run up to half time. Lively winger Dominic Smalley played in the unmarked Johnson, who blazed his shot high over the crossbar.

After a fairly lacklustre first half, the game exploded into life when New Mills grabbed an equaliser 28 seconds after the interval. Leon Grandison gambled that the bounce of the ball would clear Ramsbottom’s diminutive Jonathon Lea and once it had, he finished superbly by nutmegging the onrushing keeper.

The early goal completely rattled Ramsbottom, and they were extremely fortunate not to concede a penalty when Liam Coyne’s goalward effort clearly struck an arm but the referee only awarded a corner.

Some kind of justice was therefore served when Adam Mather’s resulting set piece was glanced home by Carlos Meakin.

In complete contrast to the first 45 minutes, the Millers attack looked menacing particularly Grandison who led the line superbly with his pace and power constantly troubling the defensive line.

Rammy full back Jonathon Lea resorted to foul means in stopping the striker and after finally being cautioned, the referee issued him his final warning.

At the other end, New Mills’ defensive unit held strong with centre half Coyne standing out as the home side looked a different side to that on show in the first half.

New Mills: Ingram-Hughes, Bowler, Horrocks, Hirst (Moore), Coyne, Swirad (Rowe), Meakin, Innes, L Grandison, Douglas-Pringle, Mather.