Rylands v City


This was City’s first outing against South opponents in the newly-reorganised Hallmark Security League, and it was to prove to be far from successful. The day did not start well as keeper Michael Ballantyne felt a re-occurrence of an injury from Tuesday evening in the warm-up, and he had to be replaced by Kyle Townsley.
This left City with just two outfield subs- Johnstone and Renyard- plus assistant manager Jonny Allan. It was notable that Rylands appeared to have rung the changes as most of their starting eleven had not made many appearances this season, and leading scorer Wellstead was on the bench.

In the early stages, City were the better side with Blair forcing an early save from McCall. At the other end, a loose clearance from Simpson almost created problems for the visitors. The first half was also littered with free-kicks, and the first from Bradbury was cleared by the Rylands defence. In these early moments, City did win a number of set-pieces in promising positions, but the home defence always looked commanding.

Marc Shiel made a good contact on a 16th-minute shot and McCall did well to save. The first attempt of note from Rylands was in the 20th minute when Gerrard fired wide. Armstrong conceded a 30th-minute free-kick in a dangerous area, and the header from Croughan was just over. City responded with a free-kick from Earl that was headed over by Shiel.

Rylands were almost ahead in the 35th minute when only a desperate goal-line clearance from Greenslade stopped White’s shot going in. The first booking of the game went to Gerrard after a foul on Blair. From the free-kick, a clearance fell to Armstrong who saw his shot blocked. As the half had progressed, Rylands looked the more dangerous and Townsley was forced to save from Jones.

At the break, City replaced Armstrong with Renyard, although it took the officials a couple of minutes to realise this change had happened. Renyard, just returned from injury, was soon into the action with a shot off target. City then created their best chance of the game as an excellent cross-field pass from Earl was tailor-made for Bradbury but his first-time effort flew a yard wide.

Renyard was then cautioned for City, although the decision seemed soft to say the least. City were still pressing early in this half as Shiel’s cross was headed wide by Renyard. In the 53rd minute, City conceded a silly penalty as Heath’s petty challenge on Picton produced the inevitable spot-kick and Boothman easily beat Townsley.

There was then a booking for Croughan of the home side. City made their second change as Johnstone replaced Heath. In the 65th minute it was 2-0 as a quick right-wing break and cross was converted by Croughan.

It was beginning to look as if City were crumbling alarmingly as White broke clear and Townsley saved well. However, Renyard did try to respond and his low shot had to be saved by McCall. Possibly a turning point of the game passed in the 75th minute as a superbly-struck free kick from Renyard beat McCall easily but crashed back off the bar, with the bouncing rebound too high for Shiel to reach.

As so often happens, Rylands went straight back up the field and scored again as Croughan raced past Greenslade and easily beat Townsley.
It was then extremely disappointing that City capitulated in the last ten minutes as Boothman added his second on 85 minutes and completed his hat-trick four minutes later, with City’s defence conspicuous by their absence, and Townsley easily beaten on both occasions. Renyard was the one bright spark in the second half and another free-kick from him flew over. It could have been worse for City as Gerrard missed an easy chance when clean through , and Bradbury’s 86th-minute goal was a mere consolation.

There was a late booking for substitute Wellstead but Rylands progressed comfortably to round 2 and they look a strong side.
TEAMS- RYLANDS- McCall, Woolley, Boothman, Gerrard, Lownsbrough, Moran, Jones, Wolhuter, White, Croughan, Picton SUBS- Parry, Wellstead, Ablett, Riley, Murphy
CITY- Townsley, Heath, Bradbury, Simpson, Allison, Greenslade, Shiel, Earl, McCartney, Blair, Armstrong SUBS- Renyard, Johnstone, Ballantyne, Allan
STAR MAN (picked by opposition secretary)- Boothman (Rylands), Bradbury (City)

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