Middlewich Town 1 Rylands 0

RYLANDS’ seven-game unbeaten run came to an end with a shock defeat at the home of Cheshire League basement club Middlewich Town on Saturday.

A superb goal from Sam O’Sullivan five minutes from the break was enough to earn the points after an abject performance from Rylands, who failed to really trouble the home keeper until the final minute when Kris Bell missed a glorious chance to rescue a point but saw the keeper save his close-range effort when clean through on goal.

Rylands manager Dave Parr said: “I didn’t see this performance coming at all and it was very poor from everyone.

“Credit to Middlewich who were well organised and stopped us playing but we have to have the ability to cope with situations like that.

“I think some of the squad thought we just had to turn up but at this level any team is capable of beating any other and if you’re not prepared for that, things like this happen.

“We have certainly made things hard for ourselves now, but I have faith in the squad to react to this performance in the right manner.”

The game started with Rylands enjoying the early possession but on a very poor surface they were unable to create a chance until the eighth minute when James Daniels headed straight at the keeper when well placed inside the penalty area.

Gradually the home side gained a foothold in the game and O’Sullivan gave notice of his shooting abilities with a good strike which Andy Moor turned aside.

A deep cross by Adam Morris gave Bryning the chance to test Moor again with a header and then the same player wasted a glorious opportunity when he drove a shot wide from an angle of the six-yard area.

Little had been seen of a distinctly below-par Rylands as an attacking force but Ben Slater broke clear and crossed for former Middlewich man, Alex Lowe, to drive a shot just wide of the goal.

As the half drew to a close, Middlewich took the lead when O’Sullivan fired a superb shot beyond Moor from 25 yards after the visitors had failed to clear a routine cross.

The second half continued in the same manner, as a flat Rylands never raised their performance above the first half levels and were unrecognisable from the team that played so well the previous week against Knutsford.

The home side remained well organised and looked dangerous on the counter-attack and almost secured the points 10 minutes from time when Goryll hit the crossbar with a fierce drive.

As Rylands at last stirred themselves Kris Bell had a glorious chance to rescue a point when a Daniels pass saw him race clear on goal but the keeper saved well as he looked certain to score.

The home side held firm and consigned Rylands to defeat after a desperately disappointing afternoon.

Rylands: Moor, Sinker J, Duffy, Prescott, Tebb, Lowe, Brown (Parr), Slater (Priest), Smith (Demody), Bell, Daniels.