Late jubilation at Gorsey Lane...
Wellstead nets stoppage time winner as Rylands' unbeaten run stretches to a tenth game...
Rylands stretched their unbeaten run to a tenth consecutive game on Saturday after Stuart Wellstead netted a stoppage time winner against Stone Old Alleynians at Gorsey Lane.
In the low gleaming sunshine, the game started slowly, with neither side asserting any real authority on proceedings.
It took eight minutes before the first chance on goal came, when a ricochet off a Stone defender found its way to Jay White, who raced clear on goal but fired straight at goalkeeper Thomas Degg who turned the effort away for a corner.
The chance brought the blues confidence, and four minutes later Wellstead made a surging run inside from the left hand side before unleashing a drive from the edge of the box that was deflected wide for a corner.
Soon after, White had an effort from distance himself which was deflected over the crossbar.
Graeme McCall was called in to action for the first time mid-way through the half when he raced off his line to intercept and clear an attempted through ball for the Stone striker.
The blues had a real scare ten minutes later when failing to clear a corner in to the box and a goal bound effort at the back post was cleared off the line by Ste Wolhuter.
Rylands had a big chance on the stroke of half-time when White found space in the area, swivelled and struck at goal, but the ‘keeper made a stunning reflex save down to his right before a defender reacted first and cleared the danger.
HALF TIME – Rylands 0 v 0 Stone Old Alleynians
The visitors started the second half well and were denied by another clearance off the goal line, this time by Liam Moran.
Rylands introduced Nev Picton and Tom Croughan in attempt to regain some control, and the impact on play was almost immediate.
Moran carried the ball out of defence unchallenged and drove from twenty-five yards but Degg was again on hand to make a good save, tipping over the crossbar.
Five minutes later a neat interchange on the edge of the Stone box found its way to Tony Sayer, who fired in to the side netting from a tight angle.
The blues’ momentum was halted in the eightieth minute when Wolhuter was issued a straight red card after a challenge on the stretch in the middle in the park.
After a period of reorganisation, the hosts began to come forward again and Tom Croughan drove through the middle of the park past three defenders and fired over the bar from the edge of the box.
As it began to look like it wouldn’t be Rylands’ day deep in to stoppage time, McCall’s long kick from his hands found Croughan on the right hand side, who magically brought the ball down, turned and played a pinpoint lofted pass with the outside of his foot to Wellstead, who touched and fired left-footed back across the ‘keeper and in to the bottom corner to secure the three points.
FULL TIME – Rylands 1 v 0 Stone Old Alleynians
Rylands: 1. Graeme McCall, 2. Carl Lownsbrough (12. Alex Davies ’74), 3. Chris Lester (14. Nev Picton ’59), 4. Gary Kenny ©, 5. Tony Sayer, 6. Liam Moran, 7. Warren Gerrard, 8. Ste Wolhuter, 9. Jay White (16. Tom Croughan ’65), 10. Stuart Wellstead, 11. Steve Boothman
“There’s no better feeling than to win, scoring in stoppage time. You could see the team spirit at the end in what were great scenes. We weren’t at our best today and fluidity in our game was missing but I do think that we should have been a couple up at half time. In the second half there weren’t too many clear cut chances and going down to ten minute with ten minutes left I’m sure that many teams would have been happy to just take a point, but we left two men up top and went for it.
Credit to all three subs who made an impact when they came on, with a special mention to Tom Croughan who was outstanding and produced a wonderful assist.
Stone Old Alleynians are a strong side and I’m sure that they will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season. I’d like to congratulate our defence, who have now gone six consecutive league games without conceding a goal, which is impressive at any level of football.”