Midweek stalemate for Town - The Rugby Observer
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10th Aug, 2022

Midweek stalemate for Town

FOOTBALL: VALLEY followed up their opening day league victory with a home draw against Long Eaton Town.

Rugby boss Dave Stringer had star forward David Kolodynski to thank as his third strike of the season quickly cancelled out Long Eaton’s opening goal in the 50th minute.

Stringer started with Ben Ashby in midfield instead of Harry Holloway while also giving a debut in goal to new signing Max Smith-Varnam in place of the injured Niall Cooper.

For the third game in a row, Town started an encounter brightly with Kolodynski and skipper James Dance both unable to get the ball under control in decent positions inside the visitors penalty area.

Despite an encouraging start, Long Eaton had the best chances in the opening few minutes as Shaun Rickford rounded the new Valley keeper only to scuff his effort and see it cleared from the line by Brad Harris.

Dance had a shot blocked after Ruben Wiggins-Thomas had set him up and Kolodynski’s initial header was spilled by Jake Want before he then kept out Wiggins-Thomas’s rebound attempt, but generally it was first half lacking goalmouth action from both sides.

The away team started the second period well though as Tom Gamblen tested Smith-Varnam from the edge of the area.

However Gamblen then found the net five minutes after the restart with a low finish to Shaun Rickford’s neat lay-back.

But Eaton’s lead was short-lived when Dance’s ball into the box found Kolodynski – who composed himself well before smashing home.

Wiggins-Thomas almost added another immediately after this, but just failed to help home Ashby’s cross to the far post.

Smith-Varnam kept out a further Gamblen effort from the edge of the box on the hour mark to signal the end of a busy ten minute period of the game.

While the hosts ended the match on the top, they did struggle to convert their pressure into genuine goalscoring opportunities.

Kyle Rowley’s overhead effort was comfortably gathered by Want though, and Ashby also had a shot saved, with both Dance and Wiggins-Thomas putting headers over the bar under pressure from their markers. But generally Valley lacked a cutting edge as the game drew to a close.

Picture: Martin Pulley.

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