If spirits were high going into the home game with Congleton, they were slightly tempered in the approach to this game with the unfortunate news that top scorer, Jay White would be injured for the next few weeks with the ankle injury sustained in the Congleton game.
Blues Manager, Dave McNabb was typically upbeat and confident in his squad, pushing Andy Scarisbrick, fresh from his heroics last week at home into a more advanced role supporting George Lomax in attack. The game started well for Rylands with positive work from Scarisbrick, Jones and the ever willing Wolhuter and Gerrard in the middle of the park.
In the 34th minute, it was Lomax who opened the scoring with a well struck finish on the turn after a pass from Scarisbrick. Rylands looked in good shape for their lead and almost increased this late on in the half with Scarisbrick suffering the unfortunate honour of missing a penalty. Rylands went in at half time, 1-0 in front.
HALF TIME - Hanley 0 v 1 Rylands
In the second half, Hanley’s work rate began to pay dividends for them in the middle of the park. They advanced from a counter attack in the 51st minute and after a goalmouth scramble in the Rylands six yard box, James Phillips tapped home the equaliser for the home side.
Just as Rylands were aiming to put themselves back in front, they were caught on the break on 56 minutes when Joshua Thorpe poked home a cross from a corner and put Hanley in front against the league leaders.
The visitors pressured heavily in the remainder of the second half but a combination of poor finishing, great goalkeeping and heroic defending for Hanley kept the irrepressible Rylands at bay. The game finished 2-1 with the hosts ecstatic to have picked up such a big scalp and Rylands left licking their wounds ahead of a now crucial game away at Longridge on Wednesday.
FULL TIME - Hanley 2 v 1 Rylands
Rylands: 1. Graeme McCall, 2. Alex Davies, 3. Tom Freeman, 4. Gary Kenny (C), 5. John Shaw, 6. Callum Lees, 7. Warren Gerrard, 8. Ste Wolhuter, 9. George Lomax, 10. Andy Scarisbrick, 11. Adam Jones
Subs Used: 15. Harry Molyneux, 16. Liam Moran, 17. Freddie Potter
"Obviously, very disappointed to lose our first league game of the season. We didn’t play very well at all and certainly didn’t do enough to win the game. Maybe undeservedly but I thought we could and should have had the game wrapped up by half-time, a missed penalty and a missed chance could of put the game to bed.
"Second half Hanley, who were impressive throughout, scored two well worked goals in a five minute period. We created lots of chances in the last five or ten minutes but we couldn’t turn them into a goal. Well done to Hanley who were brilliant throughout the game, good luck for the rest of the season lads."
Report by Dave Burley