PICKERING Town suffered defeat in their first game under new manager Steve Roberts, who oversaw a 3-2 loss at Ramsbottom United.

Former Scarborough Athletic first-team coach Roberts was appointed last week to replace Denny Ingram at the helm following the Pikes' 3-0 New Year's Day defeat to Tadcaster.

In the aftermath, assistant manager and player Ryan Blott has also left the club.

Luke Thompson opened the scoring for the Rams in the 13th minute, with former Scarborough youngster Flynn McNaughton equalising before the break.

Thomas Kennedy netted a penalty after the hour and Nic Evangelinos effectively wrapped up the points with a 77th-minute free kick.

Ramsbottom had the chance to increase the scoreline further with an 82nd-minute penalty but Harrison Foulkes saved well.

Iwan Heeley lobbed in an outstanding late consolation from almost on the halfway line.

The result leaves the Pikes at the foot of the Northern Premier League north/west division table, two points adrift.

With just three league wins from the 21 games this term prior to Roberts' first game in charge, Pickering chairman Wayne Taylor admitted this was not the position he expected the Pikes to be in.

Like last season, when Ingram took over from former boss Paul Marshall, Taylor is hopeful a management shake-up can be the tonic Pickering need to survive - though that does not mean it was an easy decision for him to make.

Taylor's statement on Pickering's website reads: "The club would like to put on record their sincere thanks to Denny for all his hard work and endeavour while he has been manager, but unfortunately football is very much a results game and our results this season have been disappointing.

"We wish Denny all the best for the future."

Taylor added of Roberts, who drops down from the NPL premier division: "He is no stranger to the area or the club having played for the Pikes in the early 2000's.

"We give Steve a warm welcome to the club and wish him every success."

Speaking to the Gazette & Herald, Taylor said: "Survival was our aim at the start of the season, and it's the aim now.

"I didn't expect to be bottom at this time of the year. We had to make a change and hopefully the change will get us up.

"One of the most disappointing things is our away form - we haven't had a point all season.

"We've had a lot of bad luck, but in football, you make your own luck.

"I can't say Denny and the backroom staff aren't trying their hardest, because they are, but I thought we needed a different look at the side and different ideas.

"Hopefully there will be a change like when Denny took over - a bit of fire and a different face can make all the difference.

"Denny's been in football all his life, he's worked under numerous managers and he understands that if the team aren't doing as well as they should be, the manager's job is always in danger.

"That's football. It's a terrible game if you're a manager.

"As manager, it's your job to get rid of players, and if they don't perform, it's the manager who suffers.

"Denny's a friend as well as Pickering Town's ex-manager.

"As far as hard work goes, he put his heart and soul into it, but in the end it didn't work.

"It's the worst thing you can possibly do.

"Sometimes it just has to be done, but you don't want to do it."