RUGBY TOWN: Top of the table again

Rugby's Star Man Sam Belcher
Rugby's Star Man Sam Belcher

Victory over Ashford Town

Evo-Stik League Southern –

Central Division

Rugby Town 4 Ashford Town 0

A Rugby side brimming with confidence stretched their unbeaten run to twelve matches with another comfortable Butlin Road victory on Tuesday evening.

Two goals in each half secured this latest win, and without a number of inspired saves from visiting keeper Paul McCarthy, the margin of success would have been even greater.Valley’s starting line-up showed one change from the previous game seventeen days previously, with Robbie Banks returning in place of the unavailable Fazel Koriya.

There were no signs that the extended lay-off had affected Dave Stringer’s men’s sharpness however, and the hosts were soon ahead when David Kolodynski finished off strike partner’s Seb Lake-Gaskin neat through ball with a perfectly executed lob over the oncoming McCarthy.Ellis Myles then shot wide of the target, and Lake-Gaskin almost released Kolodynski again, before the visitors had their only chance of the first half when Dave Bevan had to be on his guard to push away an Ed Thomas corner – which whipped in at him in the blustery conditions.

McCarthy was out well to block Kolodynski’s effort after Sam Youngs had picked out his run, and the keeper was soon back in action turning Lake-Gaskin’s low effort round the post for a corner.

From the resulting Craig Kelly delivery, Rugby made it two thanks to Alex Gudger’s well-timed header – a third strike in just three games for the central defender.Kolodynski was again denied by the busy Ashford stopper, and Banks had a shot blocked, as Rugby looked to kill the game off ahead of the interval.After the restart, Bevan made a good low save from Jim Mann, and Gudger did well to cut-out Joe Bennett’s dangerous looking cross, although generally it was Valley in the ascendance with their neat passing football.

The save of the game saw McCarthy show great reflexes to parry away a close-range strike from Lake-Gaskin, and then with Lewis McBride through on goal, he was equal to the winger’s low effort.After a melee on the edge of the Ashford penalty box, the visitors were reduced to ten men with the dismissal of Chris Robinson for a second yellow card – with Lake-Gaskin also booked for his involvement in the incident, which held up the game for a number of minutes.

Being a man light signalled an end of the Middlesex side’s resistance, and McCarthy pulled out another top draw save from Kolodynski – with substitute Nic Evangelinos twice seeing his rebound efforts blocked on the line by a defender.On 87 minutes, Evangelinos again was denied a good chance of his first senior goal for the club – this time by McCarthy – but fortunately fellow sub Richard Blythe was on-hand to follow-up and score at the second attempt.

Valley’s fourth came in added-on time after Bairoh Conteh had taken out Sam Belcher in the box, and the midfielder picked himself up to despatch a powerfully struck penalty past McCarthy.

Rugby line-up & ratings: Bevan 6, Myles 7, Kelly 7, Rowley 6, Gudger 7, Youngs 7 (Blythe 6), Banks 7, Belcher 8, Kolodynski 6, Lake-Gaskin 6 (Evangelinos 6), McBride 8. Subs not used: Booth, French, Palmer.

Booked: Lake-Gaskin, Rowley, BelcherGoals: Kolodynski 6, Gudger 36, Blythe 87, Belcher 90+4 (pen)Ashford line-up: McCarthy, Robinson, Duffy, Canderton, Conteh, Weight, Bennett, Mann, Lockhart-Adams, Quiassaca, Thomas. Subs: Palladino, Knock, Bitmead, Mullan, Armstrong.

Attendance: 141

Rugby Star Man: Sam Belcher