Radcliffe 0-0 Ramsbottom United: Derby deadlock bolted as Boro confirm second place
By Daniel Pryer
Radcliffe confirm the runners-up spot in the Evo-Stik West after being held to 0-0 stalemate against local rivals Ramsbottom United at the Neuven Stadium.
The game's first opportunity went to the home side. Rick Smith directed a header into the side-netting from an out-swinging free-kick by Scott Metcalfe.
Controversy then arose 13 minutes in, as Tunde Owolabi looked to have been brought down in the box after carving past two Rams' defenders, but the referee booked the 24-goal striker for a supposed dive.
Just seconds later and another appeal for a penalty was heard, but this time for the visitors. Joel Bembo-Leta dribbled past Rick Smith before the attacker looked to have brought the attacker down, but Richard Holmes waved away the protests.
Elliot Rokka found space to run at the away side's Edward Morgan, then turning the defender inside out and crashing an effort against the post. Sam Ashton, well beaten.
The biggest chance of the half came through first, Ben Wharton, and then Owolabi in the space of five seconds, as both attackers missed point-blanc headers from five-yards due to the brilliance and quick reaction of Ashton.
If Jon Macken learnt anything about the first-half, it was that the Rams goalkeeper's brilliant form was the only barricade in the way of a Boro opener, and that was very much the same in the second-half.
Metcalfe forced a brilliant reaction save from Ashton after a thunderous free-kick from the right-hand side on the 59th minute mark.
Ramsbottom's Nic Evangelinos had the best chance from an away outfit's point-of-view 15 minutes from time, as his effort from a few yards could only find the side netting by a whisker.
The draw, in the end, wasn't enough to take the title-race to the last game, as Atherton Colleries' point at home to FC Trafford ensured they were Champions and promoted automatically to the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League.
The Boro now face Chasetown away next Saturday, and also look forward to the Evo-Stik West play-offs to seek promotion to the seventh-tier of English football.