Out-of-sorts Valley suffer only second defeat of season
PICTURES BY MARTIN PULLEY
United Counties League - Premier Division
Oadby Town 2 Rugby Town 1
Rugby’s seven game winning run came to a disappointing end at Wigston Road on Tuesday evening.
The Poachers maintained their unbeaten start to the league season against an out-of-sorts Town side thanks to a goal in each half, with Dominic Perkins’ late strike only acting as a consolation against a team that played out the final half an hour a man light.
Lewis Rankin and Lewis Hayden came into Valley’s starting line-up for the match in place of Jamal Adams and the unavailable Charlie Evans, but the visitors never really found their rhythm in a stuttering first period.
Romario Martin put one over the bar and then Rankin missed his shot to a decent cross from Keenah Rosser to the far post within the opening quarter of an hour, but these were rare attacking highlights for Town.
Oadby threatened occasionally on the break, with James Ireland volleying over and Olly Brownhill also twice sending efforts high of the target.
With the half-time whistle fast approaching, Town nearly took the lead though when Justin Marsden helped Rankin’s whipped free-kick onto the woodwork. However there was still enough time for a goal at the other end when Brownhill forced the ball home after Rugby keeper Matt Hill had done well to keep out his initial shot and Sam Hollis had pushed the resulting rebound back towards the danger area.
Loyiso Recci’s volley not long after the restart was always going wide, before Rugby’s hopes were boosted on the hour mark when Hollis was sent-off for a second yellow.
Despite their numerical advantage and increased spells of pressure, Valley failed to really test home keeper Taylor McMillan apart from one low strike by Rankin that he turned around the post for a corner.
A freak goal from Oadby’s Ellis Preston then further knocked the stuffing out of Town, when his high cross from the left hand side drifted over Hill’s head and into the net.
A late flurry from Carl Adams’ men saw Stefan Blake’s flash one across the face of McMillan’s goal after a short Town corner routine and Rankin poke Perkins’ deep cross wide.
The game was into added-time when Perkins followed up on McMillan’s parry to a Rankin free-kick to score, but the hosts played out the remaining few minutes to condemn Valley to a second defeat of the season.