by Garry Clarke
FREDDIE Potter’s triple strike made Padiham disappear from the Macron (NWCFL) Challenge Cup at a wet Gorsey Lane on Saturday, but Rylands had to survive a late fightback from their opponents to progress.
The two teams kept the crowd who braved the elements entertained with a free flowing open game which produced seven goals.
Potter almost opened the scoring in the 5th minute when his shot from distance grazed the top of the cross bar. Padiham goalkeeper Tom Scott saved well to deny Tom McNamara who also had a goal disallowed for offside before the visitors Jason Hill had a shot cleared off the line by former Padiham player Adam Jones.
Rylands broke the deadlock in the 26th minute when Potter converted from the penalty spot after Kane Drummond had been felled.
Scott did well to keep out another Potter shot, Drummond netted the rebound but was adjudged to be offside and Joe Denman crashed a header against the frame of the Padiham goal before Padiham drew level in the 40th minute. Luke Noble crossed to Bradley Knox who forced a save off the foot of Rylands goalkeeper Graeme McCall, Knox followed up to stick the rebound away.
Rylands regained the lead two minutes into stoppage time at the end of the first half. Padiham only half cleared a corner allowing Ste Wolhuter the opportunity to cross the ball to Potter who volleyed the ball home from 12 yards.
McCall started the second half by tipping a Dominic Craig header onto the bar.
Potter fired in a long range free kick which deflected off the defensive wall. From the resultant corner Scott saved two attempts before the ball came out to Potter on the edge of the area from where he blasted it through a packed box into the roof of the net.
Rylands netted their 4th on the hour mark. Jones lofted a cross into the Padiham area, Scott, under pressure from Potter, could not hold on to the ball which fell into the path of McNamara who tapped it into an open goal.
Both sides continued to create chances, and with ten minutes to go Noble fired a shot across the Rylands goal finding player/manager Adam Morning unmarked at the far post to score what seemed to be a consolation goal. However, a long clearance by Scott evaded the Rylands rearguard, Noble ran on to the ball round McCall and slipped it into the net to set up a nervous finish.
Rylands safely negotiated the final minutes to confirm their place in the third round draw where they were paired with the winners of the postponed Irlam v 1874 Northwich tie.
After the game manager Dave McNabb commented “Brilliant performance for 80 minutes today. Played some great stuff, controlled the game and defended well. A lack of concentration allowed a very good and strong Padiham side two late goals”.
Rylands face Padiham again on Tuesday night when they travel to East Lancashire for a NWCFL Premier Division fixture; the Blues are on the road again next Saturday visiting Ashton Athletic.