Rylands 2 Crewe 3

RYLANDS suffered a second consecutive league defeat after a last minute deflected goal from Stephen McNicholl gave visitors Crewe FC all three points in an entertaining five-goal encounter at Gorsey Lane on Saturday.

After taking a first half lead through Lee Dermody, Rylands were pegged back by Nath Southern’s leveller before the break.

Carl Everall gave the visitors a somewhat fortunate lead in the second half as his shot was deflected several times along the way into the net, before substitute Kris Bell seemed to have rescued a point for Rylands with an 84th minute equaliser.

However, to their credit the visitors scored the decisive strike a minute before the end.

The home side started well and seemed determined to erase the woeful performance at Middlewich the week before, as Dermody and Jonathan Priest fired early strikes to test the Crewe keeper.

Gradually the visitors came into the game and Southern forced Andy Moor into a good save to prevent the opening goal after some neat approach play had presented the chance from inside the penalty area.

The opening goal came after twenty-two minutes when Lee Deakin, on his return from a three-game ban, chased a long clearance and forced the advancing keeper to clear against him.

The ball fell perfectly for Dermody to roll into the empty net to give the home side the advantage.

The setback fired Crewe into life and they dominated possession for long periods of the half without really troubling the home defence until the visitors' player-manager Everall headed strongly but Moor was again the equal and tipped the ball against the crossbar.

It was no more than the visitors deserved when Southern finished well to level the scores after 38 minutes after some good approach play once again from Crewe.

The second period saw a more disciplined performance from Rylands, with the returning Lee Deakin a constant threat with his tricky running at the visitors' back line.

At the other end the visitors always looked threatening too and it was a very even game.

The away side regained the lead in somewhat fortunate fashion after Everall’s strike from a corner deflected off two defenders and a post before rolling almost apologetically over the line.

Rylands responded well and Ben Slater almost equalised immediately with an angled drive which hit the outside of the post.

As time was running out Rylands were desperately unlucky when first James Daniels and then Ryan Duffy saw efforts strike the post and cleared off the line respectively.

It was no more than the home side deserved when substitute Kris Bell struck a superb equaliser with five minutes remaining after turning sharply and firing past the keeper.

Incredibly the visitors came back to take all three points when their skipper McNicholl struck from close range after Johnson's effort had been deflected into his path.

It was cruel fortune on Rylands who suffered a last minute defeat to Crewe for the second time this season after a similar outcome on the opening day.

Rylands: Moor, J Sinker, Duffy, Prescott, Brown, Lowe, Priest, Slater (Rodger), Demody (Bell), Daniels, Deakin.

Dave Parr’s view: “I thought we played very well in the second half today after a frustrating first half when I was very disappointed that we lost our shape and discipline after starting well.

“Crewe are a good footballing side but that should have suited us as we like to get the ball down and play too, which we did in the second period.

“You don’t always get what you deserve in football and I thought we were worthy of at least a point today after creating some good opportunities in the second half.

“We move on and we have some really tough games approaching including the cup final against the league leaders but if you have anything about you that’s the type of challenge you look forward to with belief not apprehension.

“We are a good side and can cause anyone problems and although the level of performance has dipped of late, in the context of the long term objective at the club we are still progressing.

“We have to stay positive on and off the field, something that in my view can be improved upon.”