By Chris Sweetman
MAX Chimenes’ first goal since his return was not enough to prevent Newcastle Town slipping to a disappointing final day 2-1 defeat to relegated Ramsbottom United.
Having secured safety with the win Trafford last week, there was an element of sloppiness to Newcastle’s play, as they could not capitalise on some promising positions.
Instead, Ramsbottom took the lead just before half time, as substitute Wealth DaSilva turned in the rebound from his own saved penalty.
Newcastle improved after the break, but found themselves further behind when Jordan Southworth finished off a fine Ramsbottom move.
And although Chimenes’ header saw Newcastle pull a goal back, they ultimately well beaten in a disappointing end to a rollercoaster season.
Newcastle began the game aggressively, with Mikey Conlon breaking free early, but his cross was just too high for Patryk Mazurkiewicz to connect with.
However, it was Newcastle keeper Joe Slinn who had to make the first save of the game, as Ramsbottom broke upfield, but it was a simple low take.
Newcastle took control of the game from there, but with their front four of Conlon, Mazurkiewicz, Nathan Morley and Connor Russo playing together for the first time, too often confusion saw them surrender good position or rush the shot.
Instead it was Ramsbottom who got the first real sight of goal, as a rapid move saw Ryan Lockett fire wide.
Moments later, Ramsbottom saw two chances in a matter of seconds, as Lockett hit the post before Slinn tipped Jordan Scanlon’s follow up shot over the bar.
However, a few minutes later both Lockett and Scanlon were off the field, as early changes for Ramsbottom saw DaSilva and Henri Ogunby take the field.
The hosts were growing into the game as the half went on, with Slinn needing to be brave to prevent Da Silva reaching a dangerous through ball.
Newcastle were not done yet though, as a slick move saw Russo earn a corner, from which James Askey flicked a header just wide of the post.
Jack van der Laan forced Ramsbottom keeper Tom Wooster into his first save minutes later, although his free kick was probably always going wide.
Ramsbottom remained a threat went coming forward at pace, and one such move saw them work the ball wide, and the cross hit a Newcastle arm in the box to earn a penalty.
DaSilva took the spot kick, and while Slinn did magnificently to save, he could not beat DaSilva to the rebound, which he was able to turn in for the lead.
Ramsbottom had their tails up at this point, and were finding space – if not accuracy – in attack, as Ryan Jennings and Josh Askew both fired late shots wide.
Newcastle began the second half desperate for an equaliser, and nearly got one with Kyle Stubbs attempting an acrobatic finish, but Wooster was always behind it.
However, from that early scare, Ramsbottom took control of the game, with Newcastle forced to repel waves of attacks, which were mostly diffused either by great Newcastle defending, or poor passes by the hosts.
But the dam finally broke with 10 minutes of the half played, as Ramsbottom surged up the right flank, and played it to Southworth, whose first shot was saved, but he followed up the rebound to tap in.
The goal was just reward for the way Ramsbottom had played in the half so far, but less than ten minutes later, Newcastle had reduced the deficit.
Stubbs fired a long free kick to Mazurkiewicz, who did well to win a corner, which was whipped into Chimenes at the front post, who squeezed a header past Wooster for his first goal since returning to Newcastle.
That goal sparked both teams into frantic attack and defence, as the game became a relentless end to end affair.
Both defences looked haggard on occasion, but also frequently did well to prevent half breaks becoming full chances.
For Newcastle, Askey at rightback was proving a particular outlet, as his crosses into the box frequently needed dealing with by Ramsbottom.
The corners Askey was winning were Newcastle’s main source of chances, with Askey and Luke Dennis both putting headers wide of goal, while Jack van der Laan forced a save with a powerful long range shot.
However, with less than ten minutes to go, both sides had chances that perhaps should have been scored.
First, for Ramsbottom Ogunby broke free down the right, and his cross into the box went to Jennings, who fired over the bar with an open net in front of him.
The minutes later, Stubbs’ throwin fell operfectly for Askey at the back post, and his header looked to be going in, until Wooster got a glove to it to make a fantastic save.
That was it for goal chances, despite Ramsbottom winning a free kick in the Newcastle penalty area when Slinn was judged to have picked up a backpass.
Defeat means that Newcastle finish the season in 15th place, after a season that has seen plenty of highs and lows, along with much change at the club.