Evo-Stik Southern League – Central Division
Rugby Town 1 Aylesbury FC 3
Valley’s run of three straight league victories came to an end at Butlin Road last Saturday against a hard-working Aylesbury side.
Town had arguably started the game on top, until Brian Haule notched for the third placed Moles against the run of play on 33 minutes.
Haule’s second five minutes later extended Aylesbury’s advantage, and despite Justin Marsden almost immediately pulling one back for the hosts, Rugby failed to recapture the form of previous games – with Aston Goss ultimately sealing their fate just past the hour mark.
Town’s starting line-up showed two enforced changes from the impressive midweek win against Godalming, with Alex Austin and Kyle Bishop in for the suspended Ben George and Sam Youngs.
Lewis McBride and David Kolodynski had early chances for Valley, whilst at the other end Mason Rowley did well to block Goss’s powerful effort - which hit him full in face.
Marsden skied one over the bar, before David Kolodynski sped clear down the right hand channel to square the ball across the face of the goal – but just agonisingly beyond strike partner Marsden’s reach.
It was Aylesbury that broke the deadlock not long after this near miss however, when Haule beat keeper Richard Morris to Goss’s flighted delivery to flick his header backwards into the now-unguarded net.
On 38 minutes it was two-nil, with Haule’s outstretched boot clipping a long range effort from Goss past the wrong-footed Morris.
Valley’s response was swift though, when Marsden showed good pace and skill to skip past a couple of Aylesbury defenders before firing home.
Buoyed by their late first half strike, Town emerged for the new period with renewed vigour and Richard Blythe’s long run ended with a shot that just bobbled wide of the target.
Rugby had a good shout for a penalty turned away when Bishop appeared to be taken down in the box, before - once more against the flow of the game - the Moles struck what proved to be killer blow when Goss ran onto Daniel Murphy’s pass to beat Morris low down.
Aylesbury’s Jeanmal Prosper then flashed in a dangerous cross, as the visitors looked to extend their advantage further.
For the remainder of the match, whilst Town enjoyed the bulk of the possession, they rarely worried a well-organised opposing outfit.
Craig Kelly and substitute Robbie Banks did both send shots from distance past the post, before Valley’s best opportunity came when both Kolodynski and Marsden broke free onto a long ball over the top – with Kolodynski taking responsibility with a rising strike that was tipped over the bar by Aylesbury keeper James Weatherill.
Rugby line-up & ratings: Morris 5, Austin 5, Kelly 7, Rowley 6, Gudger 6, Grocott 6, McBride 6, Blythe 6 (Rankin 6), Kolodynski 6, Marsden 7, Bishop 5 (Banks 6). Sub not used: Lake-Gaskin, Smith, Summers.
Goal: Marsden 39
Aylesbury goals: B. Haule 33 & 38, A. Goss 63
Rugby Star Man: Justin Marsden