There was a sense of déjà vu about the first-half of this table-topping clash - a virtual repeat of the New Year’s Day match at Pontefract.

The goal times were virtually identical too, as Reds had found themselves with a lot of work to do against a physical Collieries side. But that’s where the similarities ended.

The January 1 clash had seen Reds respond positively, completely dominate, pull a goal back, create chances and be denied by the home keeper.

Unfortunately, that was lacking at the Riverside Stadium for, although initially having more possession and territory than their hosts, they didn’t create opportunities and in the end it could have even been a heavier defeat.

There are games when you sometimes have to admit the best team won and your performance wasn’t up to standard. This was one of them.

Ramsbottom duly leap-frogged the Reds to go top and end a five month reign - from the very first game - as league leaders.

To be fair they looked a good side, tidy in possession and importantly hard-working in their efforts to close down the Reds, particularly in the second-half. Workington tried to up the tempo but Rammy matched them and were hugely effective.

They now lead the table by two points, although Reds do have a game in hand. Perhaps the more telling statistic is that Reds were the only team in the top ten who actually lost on Saturday. Most of their main rivals gained ground.

But that’s not a reason to tear up the blue-print which has served them so well to this stage of the season. If there is an area they can look at it will be to step-up the work-rate and make sure they are not out-enthused as they were by Rammy.

Just as Pontefract had in their New Year’s Day clash, Ramsbottom scored early to give them a huge lift. A free-kick out on the right was lifted into the area where a home head got a useful flick on to find Reuben Jerome unmarked and, from close range, he gave Jim Atkinson no chance with a fierce shot.

Twice Reds looked as though they had responded perfectly. Dave Symington, through on the left, cut into the area and his low show beat keeper Tom Stewart but flashed inches past the foot of the post.

Then they were even closer to an equaliser. Nathan Waterston found Scott Allison on the edge of the area and he cleverly beat his marker to turn and fire a low shot against the foot of the post.

Allison was looking to equal Craig Johnston’s record of scoring in nine successive games but this was as near as he got.

Then on 39 minutes Ramsbottom scored again. The admirable Eddie Moran, outstanding in midfield, was involved down the right and a lovely, low cross was thumped in from a few feet by Josh Hmami.

Reds boss Danny Grainger responded by making a double substitution with Conor Tinnion and Matty Clarke replacing Brad Carroll and Robbie Hebson.

He even had them out early for the second-half and initially there seemed a determination to put things right with plenty of possession in the home half of the field. But the breakthrough just wouldn’t come, and there were no clear-cut chances.

Indeed there were only ten minutes left when Reds went closest to a goal. Ceiran Casson drove into the area and his low shot was on target but scrambled behind by the outstretched leg of keeper Stewart.

That was it from the Reds and, in fact, Ramsbottom had four good chances to add to their lead in the closing stages.

Top scorer Nic Evangelinos hit the post and was just wide with another chance while Atkinson saved well from Jerome.

But the best opportunity of a third goal fell to all-action Moran who headed wide from a right wing cross when it looked easier to score.

Match Facts

Ramsbottom United: Stewart, Fishwick, Kennedy, Moran, Thompson, Lugsden, Gooden (Richardson 85), Rother, Jerome (Daniels 90 + 3), Hmami (Naidole 85), Evangelinos. Subs (not used) Fawns, Jones.

Goals: Jerome (3), Hmami (39)

Workington: Atkinson, Hebson (Clarke 40), Brockbank, Wordsworth, Smith, Casson, Symington, Carroll (Tinnion 40), Allison, Hubbold (Bowman 64), Waterston. Subs (not used) Little, Lonsdale.

Referee: Darren Rogers

Crowd: 622

Star Man: Sam Smith