Croughan hat-trick inspires victory at Stockport Town...
By Rylands FC
Blues land first back-to-back win in North West Counties history...
A Tom Croughan second half hat-trick inspired Rylands to a first ever back-to-back victory in the North West Counties on Saturday as the blues scored a 4-0 win at Stockport Town.
The blues were quick out of the blocks, having a penalty shout for handball in the Stockport box waved away by the referee just three minutes in to the contest.
Rylands had a second opportunity inside the first ten minutes when Stuart Wellstead latched on to a ball over the top but was brought down by O'Connell when bearing down on goal just outside the area. The Stockport defender was cautioned and Brad Williams fired the resulting free kick narrowly over the crossbar.
The visitors continued to knock on the door, with debutant Tom McNamara seeing an effort on goal blocked by a defender and a second effort turned over the bar by the 'keeper either side of Adam Etches coming close for the hosts.
Conor Yarwood in the Rylands goal was called in to action for the first time in the twenty-sixth minute when making a good save down to his right to deny a header at the back post from a deep free kick.
The half was then interrupted with two lengthy delays after injuries to Brad Williams and Stockport's Szymon Cubik, who both crashed in to the pitch side barriers on separate occasions within ten minutes of each other.
HALF TIME - Stockport Town 0 v 0 Rylands
The blues were again quick out of the blocks in the second half and took just three minutes to take the lead when top-scorer, Stuart Wellstead was played in behind with a ball over the top. He held off the recovering defender and slotted past the on-rushing 'keeper in to the far bottom corner.
Stuart Wellstead puts Rylands in front
The hosts recovered well and had an opportunity of their own three minutes later when the striker bundled through Kenny & Wolhuter's challenge on the edge of the box but Alex Davies came across on the cover to make a vital intervention as the Stockport man looked to pull the trigger.
A ruthless counter attack from the resulting corner doubled Rylands' lead after Tom Parry's inch perfect cross found Tom Croughan in the area who volleyed past Stinca.
Tom Croughan doubles the Rylands lead
Rylands should have made it three in the sixty-sixth minute when Elliott Jones was played in by Wellstead, but the blues midfielder dragged his shot wide when well placed inside the penalty area.
It was three five minutes later however when Croughan turned his defender twenty-five yards from goal before unleashing an unstoppable drive in to the top corner.
Croughan completed his hat-trick ten minutes later after firing home from Gary Kenny's downwards header after a cross from the right hand side.
Croughan celebrates a brilliant hat-trick
The blues had work to do to hold on to their clean sheet, as Yarwood was forced in to making a brilliant save to pull Festus Arthur's header out of the top corner and over the crossbar.
Rylands regained control of the game and saw out stoppage time without incident to register their first ever back-to-back victory in the Hallmark Security League and go up to 5th place in the First Division South.
FULL TIME - Stockport Town 0 v 4 Rylands
Rylands: 1. Conor Yarwood, 2. Elliott Jones (15. Kasie Jones '72), 3. Brad Williams (12. Tom Parry '37), 4. Gary Kenny (C), 5. Alex Davies, 6. Carl Lownsbrough, 7. George Riley, 8. Ste Wolhuter, 9. Tom Croughan, 10. Stuart Wellstead (17. Jay White '68), 11. Tom McNamara
Subs not used: 14. Daniel Tree, 16. Carter Costello
"We had to make a few changes today with seven players missing for one reason or another but I thought the lads took it in their stride and were the better team throughout the game. We were comfortable in the first half without being hugely creative, lacking a bit of quality in the final third. We told the lads at half time to keep trying to play but to be more expressive and take a few risks when going forward and they did just that. We were fantastic in the second half and everything just clicked in to place. We scored an early goal which helped and then Tom Croughan scored a brilliant hat-trick to cap a really pleasing day all round with the only negative being Brad Williams picking up a knee injury. I'd like to finish on wishing both Brad and Stockport's striker, Szymon Czubik speedy recoveries from their injuries incurred during the game."
Full Match Photo Gallery by Lee Wolstencroft available on the club's Facebook page here
The blues next match kicks off at 3PM on Saturday 8th September when the blues host Abbey Hulton at Rylands Recreation Club, Gorsey Lane, WA2 7RZ.