THEY may have extended their unbeaten run to a league record of nine games, but Rugby Town perhaps should have taken more than a point away from Kidsgrove who spent most of the match down to ten men, reports Jon Venner.
An unchanged Town once more struggled against ten man opposition and were made to settle for a point following Saturday’s 1-1 draw in the Evostik NPL – South Division
The visitors had been given the lead by Kevin Thornton from the spot in the 20th minute, an act which had been immediately preceded by the dismissal of Kidsgrove keeper Ben Chapman.
However the game’s second penalty with just ten minutes of normal time remaining saw matters level again, with the hosts appearing to cope better with the ever deteriorating second half conditions.
Rugby had had the better of the opening exchanges and Chapman did well to turn Thornton’s close range effort over the bar, although the home side were soon going close themselves when Sam Andrew saved a powerful strike from twenty yards by Chris Boast.
Thornton’s defence splitting pass then released David Kolodynski, whose run into the box was illegally halted by Chapman – resulting in the keeper’s red card and the award of a penalty.
Thornton stepped up to stroke home low into the corner past Chapman’s replacement to register his seventh successful spot-kick out of seven this season.
Andrew kept out another Boast effort, before Valley twice nearly added to their advantage ahead of the interval with Kurtis Revan being denied at close quarters and then a Kolodynski shot was also cleared off the goal-line by Joe Woolley.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, Athletic started the new period in confident manner and striker Woolley pounced on some Town defensive hesitancy before hitting the crossbar from distance.
Rob Parker did put one the wrong side of the post, and Revan should really have done better with his header from a great position after Parker’s pinpoint cross had picked him out.
However with the surface increasingly resembling a mudbath rather than a football pitch, the hosts claimed their deserved equaliser after Tom Ryan was penalised for handling substitute Nick Wellecomme’s strike in the penalty area – giving Kidsgrove hotshot Ant Malbon the opportunity the record his fifth goal in the last three matches.
Late chances for Rugby’s Andre Johnson and Callum Powell went begging, with the latter doing well to skip past a series of Kidsgrove defenders before shooting at the keeper.