Valley beat Witton Albion in seven-goal thriller to improve survival chances - The Rugby Observer
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17th Aug, 2022

Valley beat Witton Albion in seven-goal thriller to improve survival chances

Rugby Editorial 20th Mar, 2017 Updated: 22nd Mar, 2017

Witton Albion 3-4 Rugby Town

Evostik NPL – South Division

FOOTBALL: A CHRIS Sterling strike nine minutes into added-on time sealed a remarkable victory for Valley in a seven goal thriller at Wincham Park.

Sterling’s late winner was the conclusion to a true end-to-end affair in which Town had twice previously taken the lead and also represented the high flying hosts first home defeat of the league campaign.

The fit again Kyle Rowley replaced Anthony Charles in the heart of the Rugby defence in the only change from the previous weekend’s victory at Romulus, and the visitors shocked Albion with the opening goal on four minutes when Ryan Quinn curled one into the top corner after Robbie Parsons had set him up.

The hosts responded well to this unexpected early setback though, and Steven Tames dragged a shot wide on the turn, whilst Louis Connor also produced a fine save to deny a Will Jones header to Prince Haywood’s cross.

Sterling’s speculative volley which ballooned way off-target was Valley’s best chance of the remainder of the opening period, before Witton levelled things up just before the interval, when Tames broke clear onto Jones’ through ball to slot one past Connor.

When Jones stabbed in Tom Owens’ cross from close range to give Albion the lead on 54 minutes, many expected the floodgates to open, but the hosts were stunned again as Sterling soon equalised with a looping header to Parsons’ cross from the right.

The rest of the game was a gripping spectacle, with Quinn lifting an effort from the edge of the box just over and Sterling denied by a goalmouth block by Anthony Gardner after sub Tevin Shakespeare’s first time ball across the face of the goal had created a good opportunity.

Scott Lycett’s strike almost restored Albion’s lead but it fell agonisingly wide, before Aaron Moses-Garvey did so at the other end when he stole possession near the halfway line to purposefully drive forward with the ball and then ultimately sent his ricochet shot past keeper Calvin Hare.

David Kolodynski then had a great chance to extend Town’s advantage, but he could only head Mitchell Thomson’s cross wide.

With a large chunk of added-on time to be played, it was always bound to be a nervy end to the game, and when three minutes into it Connor failed to deal effectively with a Paul Williams’ free-kick to provide Tol Omotola with the opportunity to slide the ball over the line, it seemed that Rugby would have to settle for a point.

However the visitors’ undoubted spirit and bravery was rewarded by Sterling’s late late show as he took full advantage of Kolodynski’s flick-on to fire home from inside the area – sparkling jubilant scenes from the Valley contingents both on and off the pitch.

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