RYLANDS made it three wins in a row last night to close in on a promotion spot.

Warren Gerrard’s late goal was enough for Blues to secure a 1-0 victory over Irlam at Gorsey Lane, meaning they beat their neighbours for a second time this calendar month.

They now sit just three points outside the top three in the North West Counties League Premier Division and are slipping ominously into gear.

“It was a real 50/50 game. Irlam came here and were strong like we expected,” Rylands manager Dave McNabb said.

“I think we deserved the win after how hard we battled but it was that kind of game, I think a draw would have been a fair result as well.”

Irlam peppered the Blues goal early, with some good defending and excellent saves from goalkeeper Mike Emery keeping the scores level.

The action moved from end-to-end in the second half, with Blues having most of the possession but their visitors continued to look threatening on the break.

That was, however, until Gerrard landed the killer blow four minutes from time.

A throw-in was cleared out to the edge of the box, from where the midfielder shifted the ball onto his right foot to curl a delightful effort into the top corner.

“I think the pendulum swung both ways,” McNabb said.

“Both sides had to be resilient, I thought we had spells and Irlam had spells. It was a really good advert for North West Counties football.

“We got the goal at the end but they had a few chances in the first half.

“We felt fortunate to come in at half time 0-0 but we slowed the pace down a bit in the second half, which I think suited us more than them.

“We’ve took our chance at the end and Warren’s scored a great goal.”

Blues are at home again on Saturday as they welcome Squires Gate to Gorsey Lane, kick off 3pm.