City of Liverpool produced a magnificent performance to take all three points away at Rylands despite playing much of the match with ten men.
Michael Ellison’s side bounced back from Tuesday’s home defeat to Clitheroe in the best possible way, but each man had to put a real shift in to ensure victory after Louis Corrigan was sent off for two bookable offences after 32 minutes.
Ello shuffled his pack again with fit-again Ryan Schofield restored to the starting XI, whilst Ben Rydel came in at right back for Louis Isherwood with Ethan Devine returning to central midfield.
The Purps were also boosted by the return of top scorer Freddie Potter who missed the Clitheroe match in midweek and has become something of a fan favourite since joining the club.
City of Liverpool started the match as much the better side, dominating possession and seeing plenty of joy through the delivery of Louis Corrigan looking to loft the ball into channels for Potter.
The Purps looked to have plenty of fire in their bellies from the off, with the visitors pressing relentlessly and denying Rylands time on the ball.
This told early on as Ryan Gibson robbed Rylands of possession and looked to release Potter in behind, but the winger’s through ball had slightly too much on it and former City of Liverpool keeper Graeme McCall was out quickly to claim the ball.
At the other end, Rylands only initial foray into the Purps half saw Callum Dolan fire a cross shot across the face of goal.
The Purps pressure continued, and the visitors could have taken the lead after a delightful reverse pass from Freddie Potter released Gibson in behind.
McCall was the Rylands hero again though, racing out to make a big save with his body as a vocal away following expected the bet to bulge.
Gibson had another chance to open the scoring moments later, with his rapid pace getting him in behind once again after a magnificent ball from Corrigan from deep.
Gibbo was only denied by a brilliant last-ditch challenge as he attempted to get his shot away, but the winger was looking a dangerous outlet on only his second appearance for his new club.
The pressure finally told however and the Purps got the goal their excellent play had richly deserved, with Gibson involved once again.
The winger raced down the right and played a perfect ball across the face of goal for Freddie Potter to side-foot home his fifth goal in four games from close range.
City of Liverpool’s tails were well and truly up, and Potter almost returned the favour for Gibson after the opener.
The forward held the ball up expertly and released Gibson once again, but another lightning attack ended with McCall making the save.
Jack Hazlehurst also tested McCall, affectionately known as Podge, with a long-range free kick which the keeper calmly patted down and gathered at the second attempt under pressure from Potter.
The game turned in a matter of minutes soon after, however.
Stephen Milne took advantage of the ball breaking loose from an excellent Ryan Schofield challenge, to fire a long-range equaliser past Theo Roberts.
Against the run of play was a huge understatement, but parity was restored nonetheless.
Things went from bad to worse three minutes later as Louis Corrigan brought down Callum Dolan in the channel and, already on a booking, the Rylands players surrounded the referee asking for a red card.
The man in black, after a brief hesitation, duly obliged and the Purps would have to play the remaining 60+ minutes with ten men.
Rylands looked to immediately make the man advantage count as the Purps dug deep and looked to reset.
The hosts should have taken the lead as a great corner from the left was whipped in by Adam Buxton but headed wide by Molyneux at the front post with the goal well and truly at his mercy.
Moments later, the Purps called on Theo Roberts to make a superb stop as Luke Wall burst clean through on goal.
The City of Liverpool custodian stood big to save with his body and gather the loose ball, a missed opportunity the hosts would come to rue.
Just before the interval the pendulum swung again, as the talismanic Potter robbed Rylands defender Rick Smith of the ball in his own box.
The centreback brought Potter to ground and the referee had no choice but to point to the penalty spot.
Plenty of questions were asked about why no card was wielded given the referee’s previous enforcement of Corrigan’s offences, but nevertheless the ever-reliable Nathan Burke stepped up to send McCall the wrong way from the spot, and the Purps would have the lead at the break.
HALF TIME: RYLANDS 1-2 CITY OF LIVERPOOL
The Purps started the second period relentlessly, and good have extended their lead within moments of the restart.
Gibson raced clear down the right for the umpteenth time and played a sumptuous ball in for Potter, but the bounce of the ball narrowly evaded the Purps forward with Rylands struggling to get back.
The Purps should have had a second penalty of the match as a corner was half cleared to Hazlehurst who carried the ball into the box before being cleaned out as he attempted to shoot.
It was a stonewaller of the most obvious kind, leaving everyone in the ground to wonder how it hadn’t been given.
It didn’t matter however, because the Purps would eventually get the third goal that their performance merited.
Freddie Potter outmuscled a Rylands defender just in his own half, turned and released an inviting ball into the right-hand channel for Gibson to chase.
Gibbo raced clear and had a sight of goal but squared the ball for Hazlehurst to tap in at the far post the to the elation of the travelling support.
Michael Ellison then introduced Xenon Bahula for Freddie Potter who was suffering with cramp after another typically all-action performance.
Rylands had a huge chance to reduce the deficit after a deep corner from the left somehow found its way through to the back post, but Dolan and Milne got in each other’s way when either could have scored, and both missed the ball entirely.
The Purps looked dangerous on the counter-attack still particularly with the speedy figures of Bahula and Gibson significantly quicker than Rylands defenders who were marking man-for-man as they attempted to chase the game.
It was an unlikely figure who almost got through on goal late on though.
Substitute Louis Isherwood ran at the home backline from distance, beating a couple of challenges, before skipping past the last defender who scythed him down just outside the area.
Again, no cards were wielded by the referee, who dumbfounded players and spectators alike with the inconsistency of his implementation of the rules.
In the final minute of normal time Rylands set up a tense finish as Lewis Earl headed home a corner from close range.
It was the Purps however who controlled play deep into injury time and arguably could have extended their lead further.
First, the fledgling Bahula surged clear from the halfway line and attempted to skip past McCall, but the keeper capped his own performance with another excellent stop low down.
As the clock was ticking down Bahula again skipped clear before being cleaned out by Warren Gerrard who simply could not match him for pace. The referee finally went to his pocked, to award the Rylands defender a red card.
The final whistle was blown, and a pulsating match ended with Michael Ellison’s side securing a magnificent three points which was punctuated by an outstanding performance from each of his players.
The togetherness shown by all, and unwavering support from the vocal away following saw the Purps home and the elation of the full-time whistle saw defender Ryan Schofield jump into the crowd to embrace the supporters.
FULL TIME: RYLANDS 2-3 CITY OF LIVERPOOL
MAN OF THE MATCH: Ryan Gibson capped an outstanding display with two assists and was a constant attacking threat throughout. The winger also impressed with his diligent defensive support and was brilliant cover for Rydel and Isherwood respectively all game.
CITY OF LIVERPOOL: Theo Roberts, Louis Corrigan, Ben Rydel, Ryan Schofield, Jack Hinnigan, Ethan Devine (Louis Isherwood 62’), Nathan Burke, Jay Edgar, Freddie Potter (Xenon Bahula 76’), jack Hazlehurst (Zac Aley 81’) Ryan Gibson.
Subs not used: Stephen Rigby, Elliot Johnston.
We caught up with a delighted Michael Ellison at full time, who was full of praise for his side’s performance to take the three points against adversity.
FULL MATCHDAY PHOTO GALLERY: