RYLANDS are more than capable of standing up to the best the North West Counties League can offer, manager Dave McNabb says.

Premier Division leaders 1874 Northwich needed penalties to get past Blues in the Macron Cup on Saturday after the sides count not be separated after 90 minutes.

A trip to Skelmersdale United tomorrow follows before trips to Irlam on Saturday, kick off 3pm, and Padiham on Tuesday, kick off 7.45pm.

Blues are playing catch-up with their league programme but McNabb believes his side can take massive heart from the way they competed with a side he called the best in their division on Saturday.

“This league has been a massive step up for us,” he said.

“The team has matured well this season and they continue to do so but we can give anyone a good game and we showed that (on Saturday).

“1874 are a great side with a settled squad that hasn’t changed for a couple of years, but we competed with them from start to finish.

“If this were a league game, a draw would have been fair.

“Any game you lose on penalties is always going to be tough. It is a toss of a coin.

“I thought Northwich, who are arguably the best side in the league, were strong in the first half. I thought we showed them a bit too much respect in possession.

“The second half was still close but I thought we edged it. Their keeper has made an absolutely world class save.

“It’s taken until the last kick of the game to get an equalizer and take it to penalties but once it gets there, it’s the luck of the draw.

“You can be disappointed but you can’t be too critical because it’s such a lottery.”

Rylands fell behind late on Saturday when 1874 substitute Taylor Kennerley’s cross found its way past goalkeeper Graeme McCall and into the corner of the net.

Blues kept pushing and were rewarded when Jay White crossed for Lewis Buckley to score his third goal in as many games in injury time to send the tie to penalties.

McCall saved two spot-kicks in the shoot-out, but the hosts missed three of their own to give the visitors a 3-2 victory.