RYLANDS could be 10 points clear at the top of the North West Counties League First Division South by Saturday evening.

They travel to second-place Wythenshawe Amateurs on Saturday, kick off 3pm, knowing a victory would tighten their grip on the league title in what is their first ever season at this level.

By beating St Martins 1-0 at Gorsey Lane on Saturday, Blues took full advantage of a slip-up by their nearest rivals, who were beaten at FC Oswestry Town the previous evening.

Substitute Chris Francis got Rylands’ winner – his first goal for the club – and co-manager David McNabb expressed his delight at the position his side find themselves in.

McNabb, who picks the team alongside co-boss Stuart Wellstead, was under no illusions about how big Saturday's trip to their title rivals will be for his side.

“We had a big opportunity to stretch our lead at the top to seven points and we managed to do it, which is the most important thing at this stage of the season,” he said.

“St Martin's are a good side who had beaten us earlier in the season and gave us a really tough game.

“They were well organised and prepared to sit behind the ball, which made it difficult for us to break down and build up any real momentum.

“Our lads worked hard for the full ninety and got their rewards late on with Chris Francis getting his first goal for the club.

“I'm delighted with the effort and look forward to a huge game on the road against Wythenshawe Amateurs.”

For long periods on Saturday, it looked as if Blues would be frustrated by a stubborn St Martins outfit.

However, they finally broke through 12 minutes from time when Francis was left unmarked at the far post to convert Ste Wolhulter’s corner.

Rylands: McCall, Lownsborough (Moran), Freeman, Kenny, Sayer, Davies (Boothman), Gerrard, Wolhulter, Wellstead, White (Francis), Scarisbrick