Two more wins boys, two more wins!!
Come on County!!
All Match photos @Andrew Machin
So, time for an update regarding my travels in the pursuit of football match photography.
Before County`s kast home game v Maidenhead United, the last match I covered for hedgegrower was the Maidenhead United match at the historic ground York Road on 14th March 2020 where County won 2-1 with Ash Palmer and Liam McAlinden hitting the back of the net. I think I'm right that we've all suffered withdrawal symptoms being away from the beautiful game for so long.
(Ash Palmer's goal)
I had to make alternative arrangements as due to Covid 19 there was no access to carry out match photography at Edgeley Park.
Plan B was in full swing for a match at Runcorn on the 28th December 2020 but the weather put paid to that. It was well and truly 'snow go'.
Plan C was to go to Warrington on 2nd January 2021.
So, I hear you say ‘what has this got to do with County?’
Warrington Town? Keeping tabs on how Josh Amis and Bohan Dixon are doing? Well, that did cross my mind but sad to say they postponed their Christmas and New Year fixtures so that idea went out of the window.
(Josh Amis in Warrington Town colours)
(Bohan Dixon in conversation with Jake Kirby)
I was however extended a warm welcome by Warrington Rylands 1906 FC (known locally as 'Rylands' or 'The Blues') for their match against Squires Gate FC from Blackpool scheduled for 2nd January 2021.
Now I’ve driven along Gorsey Lane in Warrington many times and seen their magnificent pavilion and Stretties Bar but never stopped off.
Both teams ply their trade in step 5 in the North West Counties Football League. Rylands are currently second in the League with games in hand and promotion to the Northern Premier League (Evo Stik) Division One North West their aim. Gate have been less fortunate sitting firmly in the relegation zone.
Some of you may have seen the match shown on the BBC on 3rd October 2020 where on a very rainy day Rylands were narrowly beaten 1-0 in the FA Cup Second Qualifying Round stage by York City. Sean Newton scored for the visitors and Rylands missed a penalty.
However, you know what they say about the ‘best laid plans’…..and Boris with ‘perfect timing’ introduced the national lockdown resulting in the NWCFL bringing a premature and immediate end to the season.
Fast forward to 22nd April 2021 and I was booked in for Rylands FA Vase 5thround cup match against North Ferriby FC and it was time to try out my new zoom lense.
We all remember playing North Ferriby United and some have travelled to and received a warm welcome from the Villagers at the Grange lane ground.
(Warby's goal celebration NFU 1 - County 3)
However, the balloon has well and truly burst since then. The club started the 2018/19 season playing in the Northern Premier League. In the 33 games played up until the winding-up order, the Villagers managed just 2 wins and 4 draws and were firmly rooted in bottom place.
They were wound up in March 2019 with debts of ‘just’ £7.6K and could not finish their remaining fixtures. North Ferriby was formed shortly afterwards.
In the previous round North Ferriby beat West Auckland Town FC 4-0. However, at last minute the tie was awarded to West Auckland Town. This was because North Ferriby had fielded an ineligible player. They put it down to not recording their player’s previous yellow card!
So, before you ask that question again, here are 3 County connections.
- Rylands owner Paul Stretford played for the club in the 1970’s and is John Rooney’s brother Wayne’s agent.
(Paul Stretford celebrating)
- Fraser Ablett who spent most of his playing years at Colwyn Bay and Chester City. He is Rylands co-manager along with Dave McNabb. As most of you know Fraser is the son of our former manager Gary Ablett (RIP). Fraser also runs the Ablett Football Academy carrying on his father’s legacy.
(Dave McNabb and Fraser Ablett)
- 35-year-old defender Evan Horwood plays for West Auckland Town FC. He played 10 matches for County in 2005 in League One on loan from Sheffield United.
West Auckland Town FC ply their trade at the Wanted Stadium in the Ebac Northern Division 1 and were mid table (11th) when the season was curtailed.
They are probably best known for being the winners of the first World Cup (Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy) in 1909 and 1911. The miners side beat Swiss side Winterthur 2-0 in Turin in the 1909 Final and in 1911 beat Juventus 6-1. Sadly, the solid silver trophy that they were awarded after the second Final win was stolen so the current trophy is a replica.
As to the match Rylands were firm favourites even though striker Kane Drummond (9 goals in 14) and Stephen Milne (6 goals in were both missing from the line up.
So on to the game – how did it go?
(Caveat - this report is short and sweet and not to hedgegrowers standards)
It was a blazing hot day and although Rylands dominated from start to finish they lacked the precision and couldn’t make it count in the final third. Fair do’s as this was probably due to the four months lay off and only having played 16 matches during the season.
Standout players were Andy Scarisbrook and Elliott Nevitt and it was Scarisbrook who broke through and his pass was a simple tap in at the post for winger Paul Shanley to put Rylands 1 up on 60 minutes.
Jamie Harwood and Evan Horwood were given a hard time by Rylands press.
Against the run of play West Auckland levelled the game on 77 minutes with the ball glancing off a Rylands player from a corner.
Rylands felt they should have had a penalty but I’ve no complaints about the match officials.
The match finished 1-1 and it was on to another penalty shoot-out. Rylands were in a strong position as they had won the last round match on penalties with GK Graeme McCall the hero.
True to form the 32 year old ex Everton and Leicester keeper made 2 excellent saves to secure a 3-1 win to book a quarter final place against Hebburn Town FC who beat Congleton Town 1-0.
Celebrations followed with the players rightly mobbing GK McCall.
My thanks go to Warrington Rylands for a warm welcome and an entertaining match. It was a grand day out and a great advert for local non-league football.
For those fans who can’t follow County away, get down to your local grass roots club and enjoy a few beers and banter. (Hopefully, it shouldn’t be too long before things get back to normal).
Match photos @Andrew Machin
Penalty shoot out
Match photos @Andrew Machin