Valley salvage a point against Egham
Calor League – Central Division
Egham Town 1 Rugby Town 1
A late own goal rescued a point for injury-ravaged Rugby from their first ever visit to the Runnymeade Stadium on Tuesday evening.
The scrambled equaliser came in stoppage-time of a generally poor quality game in which Valley struggled to find their rhythm.
Much of the visitors’ problem in this regard can be accounted for by the lack of availability of many key players, with the weekend injury to Sam Belcher and the absence of Richard Blythe and Seb Lake-Gaskin further increasing boss Dave Stringer’s selection woes.
As a result, Stringer was forced to employ a makeshift midfield four, as well as giving debuts to two hastily drafted-in new recruits Nathan Haines and Aaron Donaldson – the latter from the bench.
Rugby’s best football came in a scrappy opening period, with Aaron Moses-Garvey flashing his effort across the face of the goal after Haines had picked him out with a good ball, and Mitchell Piggon missing a great opportunity after the lively David Kolodynski’s challenge on Gary Ross had seen the Egham keeper drop the ball.
A further half chance for Piggon went begging, with Josh O’Grady then blazing over from close range after another strong run from Kolodynski.
It was however the home side that went into the break with the advantage, when Alex Gudger tripped Ryan O’Toole in the penalty area and for the second time in two games, Niall Cooper was beaten from the spot – with O’Toole converting, despite Cooper correctly guessing the kick direction.
Egham should have increased their lead after the interval, but Reis Stanislaus failed to get a decent connection onto Marcus Moody’s dangerous cross from the left.
Several Rugby goal attempts were then blocked out after Kolodynski had lifted the ball into the Egham box, and Ross also did well to save a Kolodynski low shot – after Piggon had played in his strike partner.
The goalscorer O’Toole was at the centre of most of the hosts’ dangerous moves, and he fully tested Cooper with a blasted effort, which the Valley stopper tipped onto the bar – whilst also going close with a thirty yard lob.
Mason Rowley headed wide, before Rugby’s late salvation came courtesy of an Egham defender – after Ellis Myles had bundled Kolodynski’s cut back towards goal.
Rugby line-up & ratings: Cooper 7, Myles 6, Haines 6, Rowley 6, Gudger 5, O’Grady 5, Kaziboni 5 (Donaldson 6), Moses-Garvey 5, Kolodynski 7, Piggon 5, Marsden 5 (Palmer 6). Subs not used: Bishop
Goal: Own-goal 90+2
Egham Goal: O’Toole 45+1
Rugby Star Man: David Kolodynski