Rugby Town 1-2 Spalding United
Evostik NPL – South Division
Match report by Jon Venner
FOOTBALL: RUGBY Town’s problems at the bottom of the table continue after they succumbed to a turnaround performance by high flying Spalding at Butlin Road last Saturday.
All was looking rosy for Valley after David Kolodynski had given them a 52nd minute lead shortly after the visitors had been reduced to ten men, but then two subsequent goals in six minutes from United won them the points.
Rugby boss Gary Moran made two changes to the personnel defeated at Rushden four days earlier with Scott Hadland and Aiden Print back into the starting line-up in place of Leigh Phillips and the suspended Callum Burgess, with a further shuffle of the pack meaning an unfamiliar role for Trey Brathwaite at full-back.
The home side more than held their own in a relatively uneventful first half though, with Hadland and Kyle Rowley sending early efforts wide of the target, and Spalding only threatening spasmodically on the counter.
Brathwaite clipped the top of the crossbar with a free-kick from the edge of the box, whilst United’s only shot of the opening period saw Adam Jackson wildly lash one against the stanchion from an angled position.
Mitchell Thomson scuffed a shot to Chris Sterling’s lay-off just ahead of the interval, but the game appeared to literally swing in Town’s favour shortly after the two teams returned when Neal Spafford received a red card for striking out at Kolodynski near the touchline.
Town were soon taking advantage of their numerical superiority when Kolodynski latched onto a poor defensive header from Jackson to lift the ball over the oncoming keeper Richard Walton.
However the double blow appeared to galvanise the visitors, and their skipper Nathan Stainfield headed one straight at Dan Jezeph from a decent position, before Bradley Wells made no such mistake with his head to Lee Beeson’s delicately flighted corner on 59 minutes.
Another Beeson set-piece – somewhat harshly awarded against Mason Rowley – picked out Barraclough for what proved to be the game’s winner, with the Spalding sub heading past Jezeph for his first goal for the Lincolnshire club.
Rugby tried their best to salvage something from the match in its closing portion, with Phillips having a rising strike tipped over for a corner by Walton and the same player again out of luck with a further side-footed effort.
As the game drew to a close, Valley’s final chance came when a whipped-in Kolodynski free-kick was almost flicked into his own goal by Terry Fleming.