FOOTBALL: DAVE Stringer’s new-look Rugby Town got their first run-out under their belts against Atherstone Town at the weekend.
The customary pre-season opener on the 3G astroturf at Butlin Road was keenly contested with Valley eventually coming out on top with a 3-2 win over the Midland Football League Division One side.
Valley’s line-up included seven of the eight summer contract signings with Trey Brathwaite missing due to an ankle injury.
Otherwise there was a first glimpse for Valley fans of the likes of Josh Ruff, James Dance and Ruben Wiggins-Thomas.
Also featuring from the start for Rugby were new signing Liam Holt and the returning Niall Cooper, Craig Kelly and Harry Holloway, who impressed in midfield.
Former Basford United and Belper Town player Josh Thornton also featured for Rugby from the start while Aiden Print and Tevin Shakespeare were among the used substitutes who included a number of trialists.
Wiggins-Thomas gave Rugby a half time lead with a composed left-foot finish in the box after good work by strike partner David Kolodynski.
Atherstone, whose line-up included ex-Rugby players Sam Belcher, Mitchell Thomson and Nathan Haines in their line-up, missed an opportunity to equalise when Cooper saved Belcher’s first-half penalty after Thomson was fouled in the box by Holt.
The Adders then scored two in quick succession in the second half with Luke Shorthouse converting a cross from the right with a neat header before a Rugby trialist made a grave error giving away possession on the edge of his own area allowing Alex Naughton the easiest of finishes.
Valley levelled when Print’s low cross was poorly dealt with and Shakespeare reacted quickly to prod home from close range before Holt completed the scoring with a rasping long-range low drive.