RUGBY TOWN: Five-game unbeaten run ends on Boxing Day
Pictures from Valley's 3-1 defeat at Shepshed
PICTURES BY MARTIN PULLEY
Midland Football League – Premier Division
Shepshed Dynamo 3 Rugby Town 1
Town’s five-match unbeaten league run came to an end at the Dovecote Stadium on Boxing Day, after they gave themselves a mountain to climb with a poor first half performance.
Dynamo blitzed the visitors with two goals within the first seven minutes, and another followed before half an hour had been completed against a Rugby side which failed to reproduce the form it had shown three days earlier at Wulfrunians.
Town boss Dave Stringer was forced to make two changes from that previous game, with Josh Ruff and Harry Holloway in for Ruben Wiggins-Thomas and Stuart Hendrie.
It was a calamitous start for Valley though, when a miscommunication between keeper Niall Cooper and skipper James Dance on two minutes gifted Liam Read a free run on goal and he made no mistake in slotting home.
Jeff Woodward did then test Shepshed keeper Denham Hinds with a powerful low shot though, but shortly after the hosts doubled their advantage when Shay Brennan converted Liam Hurst’s delivery.
The chances continued to flow for the rampant home side, with Read nearly converting another Hurst cross and then Josh Barr-Rostron, Jake Betts and Hurst himself all off-target with their strikes.
Woodward did have a further chance for Town which he sent wide ahead of the home side’s third – which came when Brennan finished off Celson Patrocinio’s surging run and cross.
Valley did rally a little in the lead-up to half-time, with Sam Belcher putting in two shots and a Woodward header to Craig Kelly’s cross saved by Hinds.
Shepshed were back on their game after the restart though, and Cooper was soon keeping the score down with saves from Read and Joe Pheasant.
Further chances went begging for Read and Adam Hohn, before Town ended the game with their best spell of it.
Sean Castleton had a header saved, Belcher fired over from 20 yards and Ruff flashed the ball just the wrong side of the post.
Ruff’s well-struck free-kick on 80 minutes was on-target however and beat the helpless Hinds, but despite late chances for Belcher, Ruff and Sam Lockley, Rugby were unable to add to this consolation goal.