A LATE STRIKE from Justin Marsden helped Rugby Town grind out a 3-2 win away at Marlow to cement themselves in the top four of the Evo-Stik Southern League – Central Division
Valley were twice pegged back by the home side on Saturday to claim their fourth consecutive away win and keep their play-offs hopes firmly alive.
Manager Dave Stringer made three changes to his starting line-up, with Craig Kelly returning from injury at left-back, and Lewis Rankin and Seb Lake-Gaskin preferred to Lewis McBride and Marsden.
The visitors created the better of the openings and they came close early on when Richard Gregory forced Bennion into a fingertip save to his volley.
Gregory did manage to break the deadlock on 31 minutes though when he curled home a free-kick after he himself had been fouled just outside the box.
The advantage however was short-lived with Romone Rose soon volleying home after Nathan Ashton had done well down the hosts’ right hand side in looping a cross over to him.
However Town still went into the interval ahead, after Bennion had again used his fingertips to keep out Youngs’ speculative long range shot over the bar. But from the resulting corner Lake-Gaskin stabbed in from close range.
The home side put in their best spell of the game after the restart, and Lee Barney almost grabbed an early equaliser when he was put clean through by Rose, but Rugby keeper Richard Morris spread himself well to make a decent save.
Burns sent a first time strike wide of the target, before another good chance for Marlow saw a great recovering tackle by Gudger on substitute Jamal Branker.
The home side were back on level terms on 76 minutes though, when left-back Chris Ovenden cut inside to swerve the ball into the top corner past Morris with his weaker foot.
The introduction of Marsden and in particular Fazel Koriya lifted Rugby’s spirits, with the latter striking the crossbar with his twenty yard shot.
And the winner came seven minutes from the end of normal time after a great lofted through ball by Youngs picked out the well-timed run of Marsden from the right, and he made no mistake with a composed finish past Bennion.
Saturday’s win saw Rugby pull level with third place Aylesbury FC, with both sides having the exact same record in terms of points, goal difference and goals scored, although the Buckinghamshire club have played one game less than Town.
Valley are back in action when they host Chalfont St.Peter at Butlin Road this Saturday.
Chalfont occupy a mid-table position in the Central Division, and following a 3-0 defeat at home to Hanwell at the weekend, the Buckinghamshire club have now failed to win in their last eight league matches.
Elsewhere, Mitchell Piggon has signed for Midland Football League One side Southam United and he made his debut for them during the 2-1 victory against Heather St.John’s.
The popular Piggon had re-joined Valley in November after also having had a spell at the club last season. But the striker pulled a hamstring in his first Town appearance and since his return from injury he has fallen down the pecking order with the signings of Lewis Rankin and Richard Gregory.
Scorer Seb Lake-Gaskin in action against Marlow. (s) Photo by Martin Pulley