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City of Liverpool fell to a narrow defeat at home to NPL West division high-fliers Warrington Rylands.

Michael Ellison’s ranks were boosted by a triple signing on the eve of the fixture, with Abdul Djalo, Ryan Corrigan and Adam Boydell joining from Macclesfield, Southport and AFC Liverpool respectively.

Djalo and Corrigan were both thrust into the starting line up, plugging gaps filled by injury to Max Allen and a one match ban for left back Zac Aley.

It was a real game of two halves at the VanEupen Arena, and a poor start from the Purps gifted Rylands a two goal lead early on.

Firstly, centre back Rick Smith opened the scoring after 18 minutes as he powered home a header at the back post after an excellent deep corner delivery from Dean Furman.

Moments earlier, Smith almost turned provider as another towering header across goal was prevented from assisting a tap in by excellent covering defending from Josh Quarless.

From the resultant corner Smith made the Purps pay with a carbon copy leap at the back post, which flew beyond the dive of Ollie Martin.

The visitors were awarded a penalty two minutes later when Abdul Djalo felled Johnny Hunt in the box.

Striker David Webb stepped up confidently to send Martin the wrong way from the spot, making it 0-2 and leaving the hosts with a mountain to climb.

The Purps had a couple of half chances from corners through Louis Isherwood and Scott Lycett respectively, but both were difficult opportunities which the Purps defenders headed over.

Despite the deficit the Purps looked dangerous when attacking the Rylands backline, particularly through mercurial top scorer Jack Hazlehurst who was a constant thorn in the side of the league leaders.

The visitors had a golden opportunity to put the result beyond doubt when the lively Kane Drummond raced clear from the halfway line after a mistake from Djalo, only to fire wide.

Rylands could have been reduced to ten men on the stroke of half time after a dreadful challenge from Johnny Hunt left Steele lucky to escape serious injury.

The left back cut through the Purps forward after being robbed of possession twice in quick succession, leaving Steele writhing on the deck with a shin injury and needing treatment from physio Georgia Dutton.

Somehow the referee and linesman missed the challenge completely despite being well positioned, much to the frustration of the home bench.

HALF TIME: City of Liverpool 0-2 Warrington Rylands

Ello asked for a reaction from his players after a poor first-half showing, and the gaffer got exactly that as his side came out after the interval.

There was also a change in shape from the manager, as Jack Hinnigan replaced Abdul Djalo, with the Purps going to a back three which afforded Jack Walls and Ryan Corrigan space to exploit in forward areas.

City of Liverpool’s fans behind the goal were asking for a penalty on a couple of occasions early in the second period, with a corner appearing to be cleared by a hand following a goalmouth scramble.

There were also shouts after centre-back Scotty Lycett was manhandled to the floor following another set piece and then appeared to be kicked on the deck by Declan Walker.

Despite the improvements from the Purps, the high-flying visitors were dangerous on the counter-attack with Andy Scarisbrick bringing the best out of Ollie Martin

The Purps were much the better side and reduced the arrears from the spot after Rylands keeper McCall felled James Steele.

Top scorer Jack Hazlehurst made no mistake making it 2-1.


There were other strong penalty claims late on when a Rylands defender appeared to clip Steele in an identical incident to the one which saw Rylands correctly awarded a spot-kick in the first half.

Despite a spirited second half showing from the hosts, Rylands managed the game well late on and took a vital 3 points to boost their title charge approaching the business end of the season.

FULL TIME: City of Liverpool 1-2 Warrington Rylands

MAN OF THE MATCH – Ryan Corrigan. The new signing put in an excellent display at left back, offering an assured presence defensively whilst looking dangerous going forward and from set pieces.

City of Liverpool: Ollie Martin, Ryan Corrigan, Jack Walls, Scott Lycett, Louis Isherwood, Glenn Rule (c), Jay Edgar, Abdul Djalo (Jack Hinnigan 46’), Josh Quarless, Jack Hazlehurst (James Murphy 89), James Steele.

Subs not used: Xenon Bahula, Tinashe Chakwana, MJ Monaghan.


Ello was disappointed by his side affording Rylands a two goal head start but praised the reaction from his lads after half time. The manager was also left frustrated by another comically poor refereeing performance which left both sides questioning an array of bizarre decisions.



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City of Liverpool produced another committed and resilient performance to deservedly claim all three points against