RUGBY TOWN: Valley beaten 2-0 in league cup after wasted chances
Defeat by Leicester Nirvana at Butlin Road
United Counties League - League Cup 2nd Round
Rugby Town 0 Leicester Nirvana 2
Valley’s interest in the UCL knockout competition was ended at Butlin Road on Tuesday evening, when two quickfire goals saw their Leicester-based opponents progress into the quarter-finals, writes Jon Venner.
Nirvana’s double just past the hour mark had been preceded by the hosts missing a number of gilt-edged opportunities as part of an often frantic encounter.
There was a return to Town colours for midfielder James Hancocks, with Lee Thomas and Fazel Koriya also recalled to the starting line-up.
The first chance of the game fell to the home side when Ryan Seal blazed over from a central position after he had connected with a Koriya cross.
A goalbound strike from Leicester’s Shaquille Master was deflected wide for a corner, with Seal then missing out again when his shot was blocked following a quick Valley break.
Seal turned provider by slipping in Dylan Parker, but Nirvana keeper Michael Antkowiak was quickly off his line to narrow Parker’s angle and the striker put his effort straight at him.
Cain Thomas denied Jordan Nelson at the other end with a well-timed recovery tackle, before Seal fired another one over the bar after Charlie Evans’s initial strike had been blocked.
Hancocks volleyed wide and a dangerous Koriya delivery from wide was just cut out, before Town missed out again just before the break when Liam Francis lifted Seal’s corner over from point blank range.
There was another inexcusable miss not long after the restart, with Koriya the guilty party this time when he sent the ball high into the stands after Evans had done well on the left hand side.
Masters made Rugby pay for their wastefulness when his free-kick from distance somehow deceived Matt Hill, with the home keeper unable to stop the ball hitting the middle of the net.
However Hill could do little to stop Nirvana’s second a couple of minutes later, with Masters drilling a low angled strike past him after a rapid counter attack.
The visitors saw out the remainder of the game with relative ease, although Evans did draw one decent save from Antkowiak, with Leicester sub Ryan Robins twice creating opportunities for a third Leicester goal.
Rugby line-up: Hill, Rosser, L.Thomas, C.Thomas, Francis, Hayden, Seal, Hancocks, Evans, Parker, Koriya. Sub not used: Marsden, Padmore, Elliott
Rugby Star Man: Cain Thomas