Four goals in first 25 minutes against Heanor
Midland Football League – Premier Division
Rugby Town 4 Heanor Town 1
Town ended their run of four straight defeats with a comfortable victory at Butlin Road on Tuesday evening.
The game’s five goals all came in an action-packed first half, as Valley stormed to a four goal advantage within the opening 25 minutes before the Derbyshire visitors pulled one back ahead of the interval.
Rugby’s starting line-up showed two changes from the reverse at Highgate ten days previously, with Conor Wright making his first start for the club at right-back and Craig Kelly back in on the opposite flank.
The hosts were ahead after eight minutes when Sam Belcher steered his spot-kick into the left-hand side of the net, after Heanor’s Niall Mather had fouled Ruben Wiggins-Thomas in the box.
Sean Castleton blocked a goal-bound effort by Alex Brown shortly after to preserve Town’s early lead, before David Kolodynski extended the margin when Heanor keeper Jordan Pierrepont could only get a hand to his near post header to Josh Ruff’s in-swinging corner from the left.
Wiggins-Thomas picked out Ruff to enable him to make it three with a low finish on 18 minutes, and these roles were then reversed when the blitz continued with Wiggins-Thomas beating Pierrepont to Ruff’s centre to convert Rugby’s fourth from close range.
However Pierrepont did do well to deny Belcher another as Valley threatened to increase their tally further, although Cooper was also out quickly to keep out Jamie Sleigh’s strike after the substitute had broken through the home defence.
Wiggins-Thomas’s shot to Kolodynski’s lay-back was blocked ahead of Heanor’s consolation goal, which came after Cooper failed to deal with Danny Gordon’s corner - ultimately allowing Sleigh to help home the resulting loose ball.
Town created a number of further decent opportunities for a fifth ahead of the half-time break. The best of these saw Kolodynski delay too long after he had rounded a prostrate Pierrepont, with an earlier Kolodynski shot also blocked by a defender.
Pierrepont then pulled out a top drawer save to tip Ben Ashby’s volley from 20 yards over the bar, shortly before the referee’s whistle brought an end to the goal-fest.
The second half was inevitably a relatively less eventful affair, although there was still plenty of penalty area action with Kolodynski and Belcher both flashing their efforts off-target and Cooper gathering one by Josh Craddock at the second attempt in the opening exchanges of the new period.
Sam Vickers also curled one just the wrong side of the post for Heanor midway through the half with things starting to meander a little, although the home side did end the game strongly with Ruff at the centre of Town’s attacking highlights.
Substitute Isaac Cooper almost finished off his deep cross from the right, with another dangerous Ruff delivery headed away from danger shortly after.
Pierrepont’s fine save to Ruff’s strike after he had played a neat one-two with Kolodynski followed, with Belcher missing out the chance for Valley’s fifth of the evening when he blazed a further penalty high into the stands after Gordon had ended Ruff’s run towards goal illegally.