Evo-Stik League Southern – Central Division
Burnham 2 Rugby Town 3
Valley bounced back from the disappointment of their weekend defeat at Fleet to keep their title hopes alive by winning in dramatic fashion at league leaders Burnham on Tuesday evening.
David Kolodynski’s late goal inflicted a first defeat in 19 matches on the home side, and came after Town had thrown away a two goal advantage courtesy of Seb Lake-Gaskin’s first half brace.
Kolodynski’s 87th minute winner sparked jubilant celebrations amongst the players, the management team and the healthy contingent of supporters who had made the trip to Berkshire – whilst also reducing the gap between the two sides back to just three points again.
Lake-Gaskin had given Rugby the lead after just eight minutes when he seized on a mistake in the Burnham defence to side foot the ball into an unguarded net from twenty five yards.
Jamie Dobson had struck the underside of the bar for the hosts ahead of the opener, but generally Town coped well with any attacking threat from Burnham throughout the first half.
Kolodynski attempted lob was easily gathered by Michael Watkins, before Lake-Gaskin grabbed his second of the night skinning Ashley Smith on the left and then cutting in to place the ball through Watkins’ legs for a fine individual goal.
Burnham increased the pressure on Town after the break, although Lake-Gaskin nearly made it three with a similar effort to his second, but this time Watkins saved well at his near post.
The league’s top marksman Ryan Bird reduced the arrears on 76 minutes though, after Ellis Myles had misplaced his header – allowing Bird a free run at goal before firing past Dave Bevan.
Watkins then pulled off a fine save to a Kolodynski strike as Rugby responded well, but it was another individual error that led to the equaliser, when Kolodynski’s ambitious crossfield pass could only find Dobson. His resulting shot from distance was deflected into the net by Leon Archer with just five minutes remaining.
Kolodynski turned from zero to hero though shortly after, when he coolly finished off Lake-Gaskin’s pass, after Sam Youngs had opened up the Burnham back-line on the break.
Valley’s young side then held firm in the closing moments of the game to secure what could prove to be a crucial victory.
Rugby line-up & ratings: Bevan 6, Austin 8, Myles 7, Rowley 8, Gudger 7, Youngs 7, McBride 6, Belcher 6 (Blythe 6), Kolodynski 8, Lake-Gaskin 8 (Palmer), Koriya 7. Subs not used: Maisiri, Williams, Wilson.
Goals: Lake Gaskin 8 & 40, Kolodynski 87
Burnham Goals: Bird 76, Archer 85
Rugby Star Man: Seb Lake-Gaskin