Bottoms Up

Its that time of the year again when semi-pro clubs are patronisingly deemed to be dreaming of Wembley when in fact their ambitions are no greater than claiming the wodge of money on offer for the winners of the round they're in and, possibly, a match against a team that has a home gate of more than 300.

Some maybe even dream of playing Mossley and the lucky recipients of that particular honour this year are Ramsbottom United, who beat Hallam at their Riverside Ground less than a fortnight ago to do so.

United's last visit to Seel Park was in the final game of the 2003/04 season, which coincidentally was also our last ever game in the North West Counties League. That match ended in disappointing 2-2 draw which made Clitheroe's hopes of winning the league title a week later slightly easier, requiring them only to draw their final game at Nantwich rather than win it.

The Lilywhites have played Ramsbottom three times in cup competitions and, in a fate tempting statement, have won them all. The first two were in the gone and long forgotten NWCL Floodlit Trophy, while the third was in the FA Vase during the 02/03 season; the latter being a victory that set in motion a run to the quarter-finals along with the now legendary meeting with Lymington along the way.

Our opponents got off to a fantastic start to this campaign winning three matches in the opening week, including the aforementioned match with Hallam. Since then though they've hit a bit of a slump and go into the the tie having lost their last two matches to both Glossop and Congleton. We on the other hand go into the game on the back of two wins but as we all know, particularly those who spent that cold Monday night at Chadderton last season, that means nothing in cup competitions.

Keep your fingers crossed that one of £1500 cheques the FA will be writing out on Thursday will have our name on it.