Evo-Stik Southern League – Central Division, Rugby Town 2 St Ives Town 2
It was another frustrating afternoon at Butlin Road for Valley’s supporters, as the hosts twice threw away the lead to end up with only a point against the Saints, writes Jon Venner.
Goals in each half by Rugby’s strike pairing of David Kolodynski and Seb Lake-Gaskin were soon chalked off by the Cambridgeshire outfit, as Dave Stringer’s side put in another below par performance as a whole.
Stringer made one change from the midweek defeat at Barton, recalling Alex Austin at right-back in place of Ben George.
Valley started brightly enough though, with Lewis McBride quickly into the game with a dangerous cross/shot from the right, and Lake-Gaskin just denied by the speed off-the-line of visiting keeper Tim Trebes.
Another great McBride run and shot from near the by-line ultimately helped set-up Town’s opener on twelve minutes, with the follow-up play seeing Sam Youngs’ curl one against the post – before Kolodynski reacting the quickest to finish into an empty net.
The visitors responded well, with Craig Kelly doing well to block a Ben Seymour-Shove strike, and Nick Bennion saving Daniel Lawlor’s subsequent low effort.
However, Bennion was soon to gift his old club an equaliser when he somehow spilled an innocuous looping ball into the box – allowing Seymour-Shove to squeeze it home from a tight angle, despite the efforts of Mason Rowley to save his keeper’s blushes.
Kolodynski’s long range chipped effort was Rugby’s only further chance of the half, with Bennion redeeming himself slightly when he was out quickly to beat Salim Relizani to a through pass.
Saints had the first opportunity of the new period, when Relizani’s near post header to a Jonathon Stead corner drifted off-target, before the introduction of Jamie Towers gave Rugby a fresh impetus down the right-hand side.
A wide Towers’ header to Kelly’s deep free-kick preceded Valley’s second – which came after neat interchange play between McBride and Lake-Gaskin, with the latter firing a swerving strike home from twenty five yards.
Once more the visitors were straight back at Rugby though, when Relizani put one into the side netting.
Their second leveller of the game came after Rowley had been harshly punished for a foul out wide, with St.Ives skipper Jordan Lambert rising the highest to head home Stead’s resulting free-kick.
Jack Higgs then helped one past Bennion’s post, with Kolodynski nearly salvaging a win at the death - but his first time stabbed effort fell kindly into Trebes’s arms.
Rugby line-up & ratings: Bennion 5, Austin 6, Kelly 7, Rowley 6, Gudger 6, Youngs 7, McBride 7, Blythe 6 (Towers 7), Kolodynski 6, Lake-Gaskin 5, Grocott 5. Sub not used: George, Bishop, Marsden, Banks.
Rugby goals: Kolodynski 12, Lake-Gaskin 70
St Ives goals: Seymour-Shove 22, Lambert 77
Rugby Star Man: Craig Kelly