Rugby Town 1 Coleshill Town 0
Midland Football League Premier Division
THERE was late drama at Butlin Road on Saturday when Valley midfielder Josh Ruff struck a winner in the third minute of added time, writes Jon Venner.
Ruff’s last gasp free kick inflicted a first league defeat of the season on the North Warwickshire leaders and meant Rugby’s accomplished performance on the day earned its due reward.
The hosts named an unchanged starting line-up from the comfortable win at Rocester four days previously and they took the early initiative as Ruff’s free kick smashed back off the woodwork early on.
Tevin Shakespeare volleyed over and David Kolodynski also headed one off target as the one-way traffic continued, with Ruben Wiggins-Thomas then seeing his header cleared to safety by Anton Astley.
Kolodynski was denied by a decent stop from Paul Hathaway after he fired one in from a tight angle, whilst Wiggins-Thomas’ rising effort flew just over as Valley dominated the opening 20 minutes of the game in particular.
Both Trey Brathwaite and Ruff put their chances wide of the frame, with Coleshill’s only brief moment of threat in the first half coming late on when Reece Leek almost got in behind Town’s back line.
The match followed pretty much the same pattern after the restart, although Joe Halsall’s on-target header did provide some action for Rugby keeper Lewis Gwilliams in the new period’s opening minutes.
However, the opportunities continued to come the home team’s way as the half progressed and Shakespeare blazed wildly over from a good position, whilst Ruff shot wide after some nice skill on the wing from Wiggins-Thomas.
Sean Castleton headed over before Wiggins-Thomas missed a gilt-edged chance when he also missed the target after he had been put through by an incisive pass from Jamie Hall.
Substitute Sam Belcher was another to fail to take advantage of a good opportunity to break the deadlock when he headed over from ten yards but, with 90 minutes already on the clock, the game’s decisive moment came after Wiggins-Thomas was pulled back by Jesse Race as he was about to run through on goal again.
Race was shown the red card for the illegal challenge and fellow defender Robert Evans followed him down the tunnel after receiving his second yellow of the match for complaining about the decision.
The resulting free kick from just outside the penalty area gave Ruff the chance to display his set-piece prowess once more and he duly stepped up and powered a low strike past the wall and Hathaway into the bottom corner of the net to the joy of his team-mates.