THEY had to be patient, but Rylands eventually forced a third consecutive league victory on Tuesday night.

It was a significant one, too, against a Whitchurch Alport side that are competing alongside them in the upper reaches of the North West Counties League Premier Division table.

When Jay White’s winner did come four minutes from time, however, there could be little argument that it was deserved.

Just two points now separates them from a promotion spot and with three more home games back-to-back to come, it could be Blues’ time to make a move.

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For White, it marked the perfect return from two months out injured and vindicated manager Dave McNabb’s decision to summon him from the substitute’s bench.

Blues set their stall out early to keep the ball on the floor where possible and build moves from defence, with goalkeeper Graeme McCall and centre-backs Gary Kenny and Callum Lees comfortable with the ball at their feet.

They backed themselves in possession and took risks and it led to some eye-catching moves, but it also carried danger.

The latter proved evident for Whitchurch’s opener against the run of play – Blues played themselves into trouble and David Howarth’s low finish from the edge of the area left McCall with no chance.

Still, they pressed on undeterred.

With Tom McNamara and Steve Wolhulter dictating the tempo in midfield, Tom Freeman flying forward from left-back and Kane Drummond causing problems on the right wing with his pace, McNabb’s side continued to cause problems.

They were behind for only six minutes – a lovely passing move released the marauding Freeman. His cross was nodded down by Drummond to Lewis Buckley, who marked his home debut with a confident finish.

Rylands continued to carve their visitors open at will, but the failure to take their chances started to look like it would cost them.

Whitchurch were organised and set up to exploit any overexuberance from the hosts on the counter-attack.

They found themselves in a couple of promising positions after the interval but failed to test McCall.

As the clock started to work against the hosts, they grew more and more frustrated and it looked like it was not going to be their night.

For all of their intricate play, however, it was a stroke of luck that got them their winner as an attempted clearance took a ricochet into the path of White, who made no mistake.