Rugby Town 1-2 Romulus
Evostik NPL – South Division
Match report by Jon Venner
FOOTBALL: RUGBY Town once more ended up on the wrong side of a one goal margin league defeat in an eventful encounter at Butlin Road last Saturday.
The hosts can count themselves unlucky not to have earnt some reward for their endeavours though, having played more than seventy minutes of the game a man light following the early dismissal of Kyle Rowley.
Rowley’s red card was sandwiched between his brother Mason’s first goal of his new spell at Rugby and the visitors’ 33rd minute winner scored by their namesake Levi.
Gary Moran made two changes from the encouraging display at home to Rushden four days earlier, recalling the available again duo Aaron Stringfellow and Aaron Moses-Garvey to the starting line-up.
Town made a confident start to the game, and went ahead after just five minutes when Mason Rowley headed home Adrian Boitos’ well-flighted corner to the near post.
However the Roms responded strongly to this early setback, and Chad Degville-Cross tested Louis Connor with a rising strike from a tight angle pretty much from the restart.
The scores were soon level though, when Levi Rowley’s excellent searching centre was met by the head of Liam Hailey, with Connor only able to get a hand to the ball before it hit the back of the net.
Hailey then looked set to put his side ahead when he reacted quicker to a long punt in behind the Rugby defence, but having rounded Connor he was pushed off balance just inside the box by Kyle Rowley – who duly departed the proceedings.
From the resulting penalty kick by Romulus skipper Mark Branch, Connor was down well to his left to deny the visitors again.
Mason Rowley had a further chance with a header to a deeper corner this time by Boitos, ahead of what proved to be the game’s decisive moment when Levi Rowley speared one past Connor from an angled position.
Before the half-time break, Rowley had another headed attempt at the other end, whilst Boitos also looped a further set-piece delivery onto the top of the bar.
The first opportunity of the new period fell to the Roms, when Hailey powered his shot against Connor’s body, but from then on it was the home side that seized the initiative, with the introduction of Aiden Print from the bench appearing to give them added momentum and purpose.
Town skipper Joe Halsall almost capitalised on Boitos’ clever through ball, and Chris Sterling had two efforts blocked out at close quarters.
Valley continued to probe for an equaliser, and it nearly came in the closing minutes when Halsall saw his shot from fifteen yards kept out by a good save from Rhys Bills after Blaize Punter had played him in.
Romulus sub Dexter Walters could then have compounded Rugby’s misery in stoppage time, but he blazed over from a dangerous position.