Rugby Town 0
Stocksbridge Park Steels 1
Evostik NPL – South Division
FOOTBALL: VALLEY’s troubled season continued with another home defeat, with Stocksbridge striker Scott Ruthven’s late winner snatching his side the points, reports Jon Venner.
Town’s performance on the day had deserved at least some return, but Ruthven pounced eight minutes from the completion of normal time in a tight game of few clear cut chances.
Rugby once more kicked off with an unchanged starting line-up, although Mitchell Thomson did return to the bench after missing the two previous matches.
The first half was a disappointing spectacle, with just one shot on-target from either side – a delicate chip from the edge of the box by Steels’ Ashley Burbeary which Louis Connor sprung up well to catch.
The best of the rest saw a Levi Rowley shot blocked, an overhead kick from David Kolodynski bounce just wide and an Aiden Print first-time volley also go the wrong side of the post for Town, whilst for the visitors, Harrison Biggins struck an early free-kick wide and skipper Liam McFayden headed over just before the completion of the opening 45 minutes.
The hosts emerged for the new period in a more determined manner though, and with their best opportunity of the encounter Kolodynski side-footed wide from close range after Chris Sterling had done well to speed past his defender and pick him out with a cross from the left.
Trey Brathwaite’s decent strike from distance was just over the crossbar and Print also lifted one wide as Rugby’s good spell continued, although at the other end Connor was down well to push away Burbeary’s flashed effort across the face of the goalmouth.
Stocksbridge keeper David Reay then gathered a looping shot by Kyle Rowley and brother Mason had one blocked, before the game’s decisive moment came on 82 minutes when Connor again managed to get a hand to a Biggins’ strike from twenty yards, but this time the ball fell kindly for the South Yorkshire side and Ruthven eventually managed to scramble it over the line.