THIS is a night 1874 Northwich will want to forget in a hurry.

These two sides looked set to play in the Northern Premier League this season until the cruel twist of Covid-19 brought last season to a premature end, leaving them stranded as the North West Counties League Premier Division's top two.

However, there was a clear gulf in class on this occasion as Warrington Rylands 1906 sent them crashing out of the FA Cup.

"The best side won on the night. We’ve no complaints with that," a magnanimous 1874 co-manager Wayne Goodison said post-match.

"They were well-organised and clearly came with a very good plan. They were much more aggressive in all areas of the game than we were.

"These things happen – on another night, we could have started really well and we could have done the same to them.

"We’re disappointed, we’ve got absolutely no complaints whatsoever."

1874 had no answer to their visitors' counter-attacking prowess and clinical finishing in what was - territorially at least - a pretty even game.

That is hard to fathom looking at the scoreline, but it is even more difficult to remember Tony Agayhere in the 1874 goal making a notable save.

An exception to that was saving Ste Milne's first-half penalty, and even that ended up in his goal as Andy Scarisbrick buried the rebound.

In the end, a well-worked Taylor Kennerley goal in the second half proved a mere consolation.

However, could an early decision have changed the game in 1874's favour?

Inside the opening 10 minutes, Rylands full-back Michael Simpson launched into a heavy tackle 1874's Sam Hare, sparking fury among the home players.

Much to the chagrin of most of the Townfield crowd, Simpson was shown just a yellow card.

"I think it’s a poor challenge," Goodison said.

"He’s off the ground, but I don’t think our reaction helped the referee.

"We all went running in and I think he’s looking at some of the stuff that went on afterwards.

"I’ve seen red cards to that, but I’m not surprised it wasn’t. The referee’s seen it how he saw it and we’ve got no complaints about it."

1874 dominated their division last year with their build-from-the-back passing style.

On this occasion, they were never allowed to get it going as the visitors harassed them constantly.

Milne's quickfire double stunned them and after Scarisbrick had undone Agayhere's good work in denying the Rylands frontman a hat-trick from the spot, they found themselves 3-0 down.

They had come back from that position before but once Kane Drummond, whose pace caused 74 no end of problems throughout, crashed in a fourth after the break, it nipped any notion of a Lazarus act in the bud.

Kennerley at least ensured the home fans had a little something to celebrate - his finish was a tidy one after a quick free kick had released Scott McGowan to cross from the right.

Unnerved, however, Rylands found time to plunder two further goals - Scarisbrick's second and after Agayhere had brought down Drummond, Milne's hat-trick from the penalty spot.

"You don’t see things like this coming," Goodison reflected.

"You just turn up having prepared as best you can – which we have – but they were just better than us today.

"We had two games against them last season – one that was fairly even, we were better in the league game and they were better tonight.

"It’s the first game of what could be a 50-odd game season, so there’s plenty of time to respond.

"The good thing is we’ve sat in the changing room and the players understand the errors we’ve all made tonight, myself included.

"You can’t ask for any more than that. We know what we need to look at to stop it from happening again."