Rugby Town 1 -2 Shaw Lane AFC
Evostik NPL – South Division
FOOTBALL: VALLEY battled hard against the league leaders at Butlin Road last Saturday, but ultimately they lost out once more by a single goal margin, reports Jon Venner.
After a goalless opening period, two second half strikes from the visitors appeared to signal the end of Town’s brave resistance , but David Kolodynski’s successful header then set up a tense finale.
Rugby boss Gary Moran made three changes to his starting line-up following the disappointing defeat at Belper the previous week, with Ryan Quinn and Charlie Faulkner returning to the side and new signing Guy Clark making his debut in the centre of the Town defence.
Whilst Gary Burnett did strike the bar early in the game for Lane and Town keeper Louis Connor was also at full stretch to touch over Alex Byrne’s header, Valley were relatively untroubled by the division’s pacesetters for much of the first half.
For Town, Mason Rowley had headed over Kolodynski’s corner after fifteen minutes, with the hosts’ best chance coming just before the break when Kolodynski’s instinctive lob from distance bounced just wide of the frame.
However two minutes after the restart the visitors went ahead after Ryan Qualter hooked in Ben Algar’s corner, and the lead was soon almost doubled when Gary Burnett struck the bottom of Connor’s post after he got in behind the Rugby defence.
The second did come on 65 minutes though when the unmarked Spencer Harris pounced on Gavin Allott’s flick-on to a long throw to power home, but Town grabbed an unexpected lifeline five minutes later when Trey Brathwaite’s cross to the far post was nodded over the line by Kolodynski despite the best efforts of Qualter to stop it.
Allott was then denied twice in close succession by the hand of Connor and a block on the line by Clark after he broke free through the middle, whilst at the other end Quinn’s on-target shot hit his own player Faulkner after good work from Kolodynski had created the opening.
Another double chance for Allott also ended with Clark the saviour on the goal-line, with the final opportunity of the game falling to Rugby’s new defender when he headed substitute Aiden Print’s cross narrowly wide of the post.