AFTER weeks of being the hunters, Rylands are now the prey.

A superb run of form has seen them bulldoze their way into the North West Counties League Premier Division’s top three, putting them in pole position for promotion.

Late drama were the order of the day this week as both their victories – Tuesday’s 3-2 win at Skelmersdale United and Saturday’s 2-1 home triumph over Squires Gate – were secured by goals in the dying minutes.

Five wins in a row in a wider run of six victories from seven has allowed them to make their move ahead of a crunch trip to second-placed Bootle on Saturday.

Despite their superb form, however, Blues manager Dave McNabb is not getting carried away.

“We’ve had blips this season where we’ve lost a couple of games on the bounce and the only thing we can control is our own results and our own form,” he said.

“We’ve said it before but anyone can beat anyone in this league.

“The gap between the top teams and the teams down in the bottom half just isn’t that great and it’s a very even league as a result.

“That’s why it’s such a good league to be in but ultimately, the only result we care about is ours.”

Lewis O’Halleron made the decisive 82nd-minute intervention on Tuesday, heading in from close range to break Skelmersdale hearts.

A Lewis Buckley penalty and an own goal had put Rylands into a half-time lead having gone behind early, but the hosts threatened to end Blues’ winning run with another equaliser.

“I thought we played really well in the first half and despite going 1-0 down early on,” McNabb said.

“We moved the ball well and managed to get a couple of goals. I think we more than deserved to go in at half time in front.

“The second half was much tougher. Skem are a very good side with good players who can really hurt you.

“Full respect to them, they took the game to us and more than deserved their equaliser.

“After that, both sides missed some good chances to get the winner but against the run of play, our lads once again gave a massive big push and got that all-important winner.”

Buckley’s 88th-minute winner was enough to win Saturday’s game at Gorsey Lane after Freddie Potter’s opener had been cancelled out by Squires Gate substitute Nana Adarkwa.

“I think in the first half particularly, we played really well, we moved the ball very well,” McNabb said of Saturday’s win.

“Obviously, it was very windy so the conditions were difficult but I thought we played really well.

“We created numerous chances and it could have been three or four at half time, to the point where we said to the lads at half time we were disappointed to only go in one up.

“Full credit to Squires Gate, they’ve come out in the second half and they’ve pressed us more, pushed us further up the pitch and created some good chances.

“They got the equaliser – I think we had lost a little bit of shape which is a bit disappointing, but we pulled together.

“The lads have been brilliant with that the last few weeks and I think overall we’ve deserved to win the game, albeit right at the end again.”