VALLEY extended their stay in the nation’s favourite sporting knock-out competition with a well-fought 3-2 for victory over Lincoln United in a five goal encounter last Saturday, reports Jon Venner.
With the club’s new management team of Dale Belford and Steve Farmer overseeing their first game at Butlin Road, Town were good value for the win, although two late strikes by the visitors did keep the home supporters’ nerves jangling a little right up until the final whistle.
Belford made two changes from the previous game, with recent signing Sam Woods preferred to Spencer Smith at full-back and David Kolodynski returning to the side at the expense of Rob Parker.
United had the best of the opening opportunities though, with Valley keeper Niall Cooper spreading himself well to keep out a Jack McGovern effort. However it was the hosts that broke the deadlock on eighteen minutes when Callum Powell sped onto Jake Healy’s lofted pass, before looping the ball over the head of the onrushing Sam Vince in the Lincoln goal.
The visitors looked for a quick response, and Mason Rowley put in an excellent body block to Matthew Cotton’s powerful shot, although Rugby continued to look threatening on the break with the dangerous Powell continuing his good form of late.
Sam Warburton put one just wide of the post after Powell and Healy had combined to play him through, as the first period drew to a close.
The second half started scrappily, with again United having the best chance of its early exchanges when Cooper palmed away Sean Wright’s header at the back post. Once more though, Town were the ones to find the net when Danny Clifton calmly rolled home a Kolodynski low cross – after Powell had air-kicked his attempted contact to it.
Having looked down and out after the second goal, Lincoln then gave themselves a lifeline with a quarter of an hour remaining when McGovern angled the ball over Cooper – with the same player then testing Cooper from distance, but the home keeper pushed this one away for a corner.
However Valley’s two goal advantage was restored again when Kolodynski got the slightest of touches to a powerful goalbound header by Rowley to Clifton’s corner.
McGovern continued to threaten at the other end, forcing another reflex save from Cooper to his close range poked effort, before he grabbed his second with virtually the final kick of the tie – guiding the ball home on the goal-line with his chest.