FOOTBALL - Rugby Town win dramatic shootout to advance to FA Vase fourth round - The Rugby Observer

FOOTBALL - Rugby Town win dramatic shootout to advance to FA Vase fourth round

ASH Bodycote was the hero as his three shootout saves sent Rugby Town into the fourth round of the FA Vase for the first time in 38 years.


Bodycote denied Drew Canavan, Edilson Antonio and Joe Hanson from the spot to dump Stourport Swifts out of the competition at Walshes Meadow.


Rugby trailed after just two minutes when Canavan scored an early penalty before David Kolodynski brace either side of half-time put Rugby ahead.


Antonio levelled for the home side on 56 minutes which took the game to penalties.


And the shootout provided a dramatic conclusion as Rugby raced into a three-nil lead only for Stourport to miraculously level and take the game to sudden death.


Both teams scored their first sudden death kick before Kolodynski and Antonio had efforts saved.


Rugby’s Barry Fitzharris struck a superb penalty to edge Rugby ahead which allowed Bodycote to be the hero when he kept out Hanson’s effort.


And Valley’s opponents in the fourth round will be Eastern Counties Premier League side Lakenhall with the tie set to be played on Saturday, January 15 at Butlin Road.


However, Town could not have made a worse start in Stourport when 45-year-old veteran Lee Hughes set Antonio through on goal who was adjudged to have been fouled by Bodycote in the box.


Canavan duly converted the resulting spot kick before Rugby hit back through Kolodynski on 16 minutes.


The striker spun neatly before firing home the equaliser after Edwin Ahenkorah’s initial strike had been saved.


The visitors dominated the remainder of the half and spurned a triple chance when Ahenkorah’s effort was blocked before Kolodynski’s acrobatic overhead kick smashed against the bar and Jamal Clarke headed straight at the keeper.


Both Kolodynski and Caine Elliott went close shortly after before Rugby eventually took the lead two minutes after half-time.


Kolodynski doubled his tally for the game with a header from close range after Luke English headed the ball back across the face of goal into the striker’s path.


The home side restored parity when Antonio scored at the far past after he crept in unmarked from Canavan’s floated free-kick.


Kolodynski was denied his hat-trick by a stunning reflex save from Stourport keeper Dom Richards who then palmed away Max Johnson’s free-kick from the edge of the box.


Rugby were indebted to English after he blocked Matt Gardner’s effort on the line before Johnson was sinbinned for dissent on 78 minutes and boss Carl Adams was shown a red card for the same offence.


Despite their disadvantage, it was Rugby who came closest to snatching a late winner when Clarke lifted the ball over the bar from just a few yards out.


That meant the game would go to penalties and Rugby stormed ahead after Loyiso Recci, James Hancocks and Ahenkorah all successfully converted their spot kicks.


For Stourport, Gardner hit the crossbar and Canavan was unable to repeat his success in normal time as Bodycote make a good low stop.


Jack Downing finally hit the target for the hosts which meant Rugby only needed to score one of their final two penalties to secure their place in the next round.


However, English blazed over and new signing Dan Summerfield saw his strike saved by Richards as both Harry Higginson and Ben Tilbury converted for Stourport,


Town’s Max Johnson confidently stroked home the first sudden death penalty with Mason Birch successful for Stourport.


Kolodynski was then denied by Richards only for Bodycote to make another excellent low save to keep out Antonio’s penalty.


And Rugby would go on to claim victory after Fitzharris smashed home before Bodycote made his third save of the shootout from Hanson’s penalty to send Valley into the fourth round of the FA Vase.

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