Valley spot on for cup double
Birmingham Senior Cup – 1st Round
Rugby Town 2 Redditch United 2 (after extra time)
Rugby won 5-4 on penalties
Town recorded their second cup win of the week, eventually disposing of Southern League Premier Redditch via a penalty shoot-out on Tuesday evening.
It represented Valley’s second successful spot-kick decider of the season and again they held their nerve from twelve yards – with Sam Youngs, Seb Lake-Gaskin, Craig Kelly, Aaron Moses-Garvey and Justin Marsden all giving United keeper Bradley Catlow no chance. Niall Cooper kept out Harvey Headley’s penalty to see his side into the second round of the regional FA competition.
Rugby boss Dave Stringer made four changes from the weekend’s success at Blaby, but it was the visitors that were the quickest out of the blocks when Jamie Molyneux was given too much room –before rolling his effort into the bottom corner on four minutes.
A long period of advantage in terms of possession followed for Valley, without them creating a clear cut chance though.
They finally got back on level terms on the half hour mark when Lewis McBride was fouled in the penalty area by Calum Flanagan, and Moses-Garvey blasted his spot-kick into the roof of the net.
Seven minutes later, Town were ahead thanks to Mason Rowley’s excellent looping header to Andy Spencer’s cross, but they suffered a cruel blow with the last touch of the half when Rowley scored at the other end - clipping Ashley Sammon’s inswinging corner past Cooper.
Redditch started the second period on top again, with Molyneux rattling the woodwork and then being denied by an Alex Gudger saving tackle.
Valley once more improved as the half progressed, and Michael Williams and McBride both went close, before the visitors were reduced to ten men after James Mutton committed two cynical challenges within a few minutes.
Town pressed hard to make their numerical advantage count, but found Catlow in fine form – with the United stopper doing well to keep out successive efforts from Williams and Sam Youngs before the end of normal play.
And so to extra-time, and it was Redditch that probably edged the first period, with Cooper making good saves to Edwin Ahenkorah’s and Headley’s strikes, although at the other end, Moses-Garvey and Youngs did also have a couple of opportunities apiece.
The game understandably slowed down in the second half of extra time, with Town’s best chance seeing substitute Seb Lake-Gaskin blaze one off-target, before Craig Kelly denied Headley in the closing minute to set up that successful penalty decider.
Rugby line-up and ratings: Cooper 7, Bishop 6 (Myles 5), Kelly 6, Rowley 7, Gudger 7, Palmer 6 (Youngs 7), McBride 7, Spencer 6, Moses-Garvey 7, Williams 7 (Lake-Gaskin 6), Marsden 6. Subs not used: Kolodynski, Gnadja
Rugby goals: Moses-Garvey 30 (pen), Rowley 37
Redditch goals: Molyneux 4, Rowley og 45
Rugby Star Man: Lewis McBride