Open encounter ends all square as Valley claim a point at home to Basford United - The Rugby Observer
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Open encounter ends all square as Valley claim a point at home to Basford United

Correspondent 14th Feb, 2017

Rugby Town 1 Basford United 1

Evostik NPL – South Division

Match report by Jon Venner

FOOTBALL: RUGBY Town emerged with a point from an open encounter against play-off chasing opposition at a bitterly cold Butlin Road last Saturday.

Mason Rowley had given the hosts a 20th minute lead against his old club, but United were soon level and with Louis Connor once more in inspired form between the sticks, a spirited Rugby went on to battle hard for the draw.

Rugby were unchanged from the previous week’s victory at Market Drayton, but it was the visitors that started the game the brighter, with Tyrell Shannon-Lewis getting in behind the Town defence only to be taken down out wide by the onrushing Connor – who received a yellow card for his illegal challenge.

On nine minutes Scott Hadland’s tackle through Ben Hutchinson saw Basford awarded a penalty, but Connor was down well to his left to keep out Hutchinson’s subsequent spot-kick.

Connor then denied a further low strike from Hutchinson as United continued to underline their promotion credentials, before Rugby took the lead against the run of play when Rowley rose the highest to head home Trey Brathwaite’s pinpoint corner.

Basford responded well though, and Kyle Rowley was soon clearing a Kieran Wells’ goalbound header off the line, but it was only a temporary respite for Valley when Shannon-Lewis followed up on Connor’s parry to Hutchinson’s initial curling effort to score.

It was now Town’s turn to show their reactive determination – putting in their best spell of the match in the run-up to the half-time whistle.

Chris Sterling saw back-to-back efforts blocked out after a deep cross from Gary Moran, and David Kolodynski also put one into the side netting.

Sandwiched between these two plays, Shannon-Lewis had lifted one on to the top of the Rugby bar though, with Kyle Rowley again the one to deal effectively with the loose ball in the goal face.

Another well-delivered Brathwaite corner saw Mason Rowley almost double his tally with his head, but this time United keeper Jake Wood was able to save one-handed, with Sterling having a further chance ahead of the interval when his shot from just inside the box was deflected up and over.

Basford started the new period strongly again, with Connor showing great reflexes to keep out three separate close range efforts by Wells in its opening fifteen minutes.

Valley started to find their second half feet too though, with Wood out well to smother at Levi Rowley’s feet and Sterling steering one wide after good build-up play between Kolodynski and Levi Rowley.

Connor was finally beaten by an exquisite curler by Hutchinson from an improbable angle, but the woodwork came to the rescue to ensure the state of parity was maintained.

Despite some probing in the closing ten minutes or so, both sides seemed happy to settle for a point for their respective challenges at either end of the table, and apart from an off-target Wells header to Courey Grantham’s cross, there was limited goalmouth action to note.

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