Chasetown 1-0 Rugby Town
NPL – South Division
Match report by Jon Venner
FOOTBALL: RUGBY Town returned empty handed from the Scholars Ground last Saturday, after the only goal of the game by James Dance two minutes into the second half settled a tight affair.
Having edged the first half, Valley will once more feel aggrieved not to have earnt something for their efforts from a fixture marred by a serious injury to the home side’s Josh Craddock – which saw the midfielder stretchered off with a broken leg.
Rugby lined-up with five changes from the Birmingham Senior Cup victory four days previously, with Louis Connor, Craig Kelly, Anthony Charles, Aaron Moses-Garvey and David Kolodynksi all back on duty, and Moses-Garvey was soon in the action crossing from the right for Joe Halsall, whose first time effort was just kept out by a stretching Curtis Pond.
Keeper Pond did well again when tipping over Moses-Garvey’s long range strike, after Lewis Rankin’s free-kick had cannoned back off the wall, before the lengthy stoppage followed to allow Craddock to receive treatment after his collision with Town’s Kyle Rowley.
Once play had restarted, Nathan Rooney flashed one at Connor for the hosts, whilst at the other end Chris Sterling’s shot in the penalty area was blocked.
Three-time Butlin Roader Mitch Piggon then headed fellow ex-Valley man Matt Curley’s cross into Connor’s arms, before the visitors ended the half strongly with two potential opportunities for Halsall, with the midfielder just failing to get a telling contact on either of Moses-Garvey’s or Rankin’s deliveries into the box.
The Scholars were in front after 47 minutes though, when substitute Blaize Punter gave away a needless free-kick for a foul on Piggon, and from the resulting ball in from Rooney, skipper Dance headed easily home.
Dance could easily have added a second, but his goalbound effort was cleared away from the line by Charles, and Piggon also headed just over at the near post, as Rugby’s attacking contributions slowly fizzled away.
Chasetown substitute Pierce Kiembi also went close with a decent strike from twenty yards, before the referee signalled a third straight win for ex-Town boss David Stringer over his previous club.