Evo-Stik League Southern
Rugby Town 2
Daventry Town 0
Rugby established a new club record for consecutive Southern League victories with a New Year’s Day local derby success at Butlin Road.
On an afternoon where the sad loss of ex-manager Jimmy Knox was marked – both before and during the game, it was ironic that Valley’s ninth straight win broke the previous record held by two teams from the Knox era.
Undoubtedly though, Jimmy would have been proud of the hosts’ display against Daventry, with Dave Stringer’s men looking a determined proposition from the off.
They never looked likely to be beaten and plugged away patiently – with two second-half goals from substitutes Sam Youngs and Lewis McBride finally giving them their deserved reward in front of a delighted bumper crowd.
Stringer made two changes to the starting line-up from the previous game at Hayes some 17 days previously, with Richard Blythe and Seb Lake-Gaskin coming into the side.
Daventry actually had the first chance of the game, with ex-Valley and Bedworth man Ashley Robinson lifting one over from close range early on.
Rugby were soon into their stride though, and a Alex Gudger free-kick went straight at Richard Morris, with Robbie Banks also dragging a shot just wide of the target.
The closest the home team came to opening the scoring in the first half came when David Kolodynski cut in from the left and fired an effort which Lake-Gaskin helped onto the post with the slightest of touches.
Valley continued to look the sharper and more creative outfit in the run-up to the interval, although they were unable to turn this superiority into any further clear chances.
The second half continued in pretty much the same manner, with Kolodynski having an early strike over the bar - after he done well to create himself space in a crowded box.
The breakthrough came just before the hour mark, when Lake-Gaskin threaded through a great pass for Youngs – who applied an exquisite chipped finish over the oncoming Morris.
Kolodynski could have made it 2-0 shortly after, when he ran through onto a long upfield punt – before opting to shoot early, only to see his effort clip the outside of the upright.
Youngs then almost bundled in Lake-Gaskin’s cross, as the hosts looked to make the game safe.
There were, of course, inevitably a couple of nervy moments at the other end. Jamie Gould shot wide of Dave Bevan’s goal and Robinson flicked a header up onto the crossbar in a goalmouth scramble.
Youngs and Kolodynski both had further opportunities though, before a minute into added-on time new boy McBride was on-hand with a cool finish to Fazel Koriya’s pull-back for Rugby’s second of this history-making afternoon.
Teams & ratings
Rugby line-up & ratings: Bevan 7, Myles 8, Kelly 7, Rowley 7, Gudger 7, Blythe 6 (Youngs 8), Banks 7, Belcher 7, Kolodynski 7, Lake-Gaskin 6 (McBride 6), Koriya 7. Subs not used: Booth, Palmer, Evangelinos.
Booked: Belcher, Gudger
Goals: Youngs 59, McBride 90+1
Daventry line-up: Morris, Burgess, Gould, Cartwright, Dolman, Oulton, Confue, King, Robinson, Thompson-Brown, Bryan. Subs: Cross, Liburd, Blake, Sanders, Holford.
Rugby Star Man
n REUNION: On Thursday, January 10 there will be a get-together of footballers who played in the Valley Sports teams with Paul Shepherd in the late 1950s and 1960s.
Paul has arranged for several former players to meet at the William Webb Ellis pub in Warwick Street Rugby from 7pm and he would like to meet any others that can make it.
Paul lives in Germany and gets back to Rugby at least once a year.
Those attending to date include: Allan Webb, Ted Holland, Billy Gunn, Jeff Waugh, Charlie Gare, John Snell, Keith Coughlan and provisionally Ray Morgan.