Ramsbottom United retained top spot in the BetVictor North West Division with a 3-0 win at Droylsden on Saturday.

Josh Hmami, Iyrwah Gooden and Reuben Jerome got the goals for Chris Willcock’s side who are two points clear of Workington who have a game in hand.

“I think the result ended up comfortable, the conditions in the first half played a really big part in terms of our team play,” said the Rams boss.

“We had to force our way out in really strong conditions.

"We didn’t have our flowing, passing game that we have come to expect over the past half a dozen games.

“I thought we defended well in first half in conditions against a Droylsden side that wanted to get the ball down and play.

“In the second half we played well, limiting them to just one counter attack when the game became stretched.

"We looked more potent second half.”

The visitors started on the front foot, with Gooden hitting the side netting in the opening seconds.

Luke Thompson was then unable to direct his header on target after finding himself unmarked in the six-yard area.

Still searching for the lead, Hmami saw a shot well taken by Bloods keeper Nathan Wolland with the driving wind that swirled around the Butchers Arms ground proving to be the biggest test for Willcock’s men.

The opener eventually came in the 37th minute, Hmami exchanging passes with Nic Evangelinos before firing home.

Thompson was unlucky not to double the Rams’ advantage just before half-time whistle as he headed wide of the mark.

There was no let up in the second period and the advantage was increased to two goals four minutes into the half.

Jerome was in the right place at the right time to take advantage of a defensive slip up and find the bottom corner.

Droylsden began to slowly grow into the game and Travis Boyles scuffed a shot when he had a chance to really test Tom Stewart.

At the other end Evangelinos saw a shot deflected off target before Thompson stung the palms of Wolland with a fierce shot from distance, the defender more in action in the attacking half of the field throughout the 90 minutes.

The three points were wrapped up the 72nd minute with Gooden credited with scoring the Rams’ third when he headed home a corner, although it appeared to touch Hmami on the way in.

In stoppage time Stewart was called into action to deny the home side a consolation goal, keeping out Boyles’ effort one-on-one with a reflex save.

Manager Willcock was more than satisfied with his side’s display and praised the development of key man Hmam as he goes from strength to strength.

“Since Josh has come back into the team his confidence has really shot up with the team playing well,” the Rammy boss said.

“The pressure is off him now and he is scoring goals frequently.

"There were two things I wanted today from the team talk – a clean sheet and three points – and I got both. We can’t argue with that.”

Rammy return to action on Saturday with Tadcaster Albion the visitors to the Harry Williams Riverside Stadium.

The visitors are currently occupying a play-off spot in what is becoming increasingly a fascinating contest to gain promotion to the Premier Division, the Rams currently in pole position at the summit.