Revenge for early season defeat
PICTURES BY MARTIN PULLEY
United Counties League - Premier Division
Rugby Town 3 Oadby Town 0
Valley returned to winning ways last Saturday at Butlin Road when they exacted some revenge over an Oadby side that had won the reverse fixture between the two teams earlier in the season.
Second half strikes from Fazel Koriya, Charlie Evans and Dominic Perkins gave Valley the three points, although it was generally an unconvincing performance from Town overall against a side that played more than an hour of the game without a recognised keeper between their sticks.
There was one change and a positional rejig for Town following the Boxing Day defeat, with academy defender Josh Steele back into the starting eleven.
The Daventry loss three days earlier appeared to be playing on Rugby’s mind early on though, and it was the visitors that looked the more likely to open the scoring.
Sam Hollis fed Tom Mangan in the box after a quick Oadby break, but Mangan’s weak shot did not trouble Matt Hill, with Hill then pulling off an excellent reflex stop to keep out Hollis’s close range poke to Ashley Varnam’s header shortly after.
Oadby then thought they had taken the lead when Mangan finished off a Jack McMillan corner, but the goal was ruled out for offside.
The away side suffered a devastating blow following a further disallowed effort at the opposite end, when their keeper Chay Carter was stretchered off after he appeared to be inadvertently kicked in a goal-line scramble for the ball.
Outfield substitute Simon Barker took over the gloves, but despite the setback it was still Oadby that looked the more threatening outfit.
Mangan got in behind the Town defence only to lift the ball into Hill’s hands, and then Hill was down well to bundle an overhead kick by the same player around the post with his body.
Danico Johnson’s shot on the turn, Lewis Rankin’s free-kick and Koriya’s header all missed the target, as Rugby failed to once test the stand-in keeper ahead of the interval.
There was a slight improvement to Town’s display after the restart though, with Koriya soon nearly playing in Evans.
Baker was then finally called upon, when he kicked clear a low shot by Johnson from the edge of the area, before Johnson combined with Rankin to see the latter square the ball across the goal to allow Koriya to flick home from close range on 56 minutes.
Rankin’s low effort was again dealt with by the boot of Baker as Valley looked to put the game out of the visitors’ reach, although there was a scare at the other end when a mix-up between Hill and Keenah Rosser almost saw Hollis force the ball over the line.
Once Evans had fired in Johnson’s hanging free-kick into six yard box, the result was no longer in doubt, but to their credit Oadby continued to plug away - with James Ireland missing out twice, when first volleying over and then having a header cleared off the line by Town sub Harry Holloway.
Perkins rounded off the scoring in the final minute of normal time when he curled a well-executed free-kick from twenty yards into the top corner.