Rylands win battle of top two
Warrington Rylands extracted a measure of revenge for their opening day defeat at the hands of Radcliffe by closing the gap at the top of the table.
In an open entertaining open game in which play constantly switched from end to end, Rylands went on the attack from the first whistle with Ben Hardcastle forcing a save from Radcliffe goalkeeper Mateusz Hewelt in the first minute.
In the 3rd minute, in acres of space Adama Sidibeh was found by a Ben Hough through ball, beating the offside trap he raced away and as he entered the opposition’s penalty area he smashed the ball into the roof of the net to give Rylands an early lead.
Rylands continued to push forward with Hardcastle drawing another save from Hewlt and Mo Touray going close with two efforts before the league leaders started to come more into the game with two former Rylands players – Rick Smith and Scott Duxbury – both directing headers just off target.
Rylands goalkeeper pulled off a top quality double save in the 24th minute, first from a corner he beat away a Josh Hancock shot with came through a packed penalty area, before blocking Duxbury’s follow up with his legs.
Sidibeh doubled Rylands advantage in the 35th minute when Radcliffe’s defence was split open by a through ball, racing into the area he slotted the ball past Hewelt.
Radcliffe pulled a goal back in the 44th minute, a Hancock cross found Jamie Morgan who stabbed the ball home from close range.
The second half began with both Pilling and Hewelt making saves while both sides were also off target with several attempts before Rylands increased their advantage in the 76th minute.
Breaking down the left wing Rylands transferred the ball to the right flank from where Hardcastle cut inside to curl a shot, via the underside of the bar, into the far top corner of a bulging net.
As Radcliffe laid siege to the Rylands goal in the final quarter of the game the red shirted visitors threw their bodies in the way of shots, headed balls clear in a backs to the wall defensive effort and hit their opponents on the break with Touray firing a shot into Radcliffe’s side netting and Sidibeh drew a good save from Hewelt.
Radcliffe set up a nervy finish when 4 minutes into stoppage time, Hancock’s shot from 30 yards evaded Pilling and crept inside the post but Rylands held firm to claim to claim the points from a much deserved victory.
WARRINGTON RYLANDS: Pilling Smith Swaby-Neavin Neild Regan Furman Hardcastle Hough (German) Pedro (Baillie) Touray (Adams) Sidibeh; SUBS: Uche, Butler
Refeeree Nathanial Cox Attendance 968