FOOTBALL: TOWN suffered their first home league defeat in nearly three months, losing out to a solitary second half Worcester City goal, writes Jon Venner.
Dave Reynolds struck for Worcester on 53 minutes to earn them a deserved victory on the day, with the hosts generally struggling to find the rhythm that they have enjoyed in recent matches.
Rugby boss Dave Stringer made one change from the previous weekend’s win at Long Eaton in recalling Josh Ruff to his starting line-up in place of Sam Lockley.
It was City that started the game the stronger though, and the first real chance of it fell to striker James Baldwin after Reynolds had threaded a ball in behind the Valley defence. However Baldwin steered his shot wide of the advancing Niall Cooper’s post.
Town did then enjoy a productive period of their own, with Stuart Hendrie skipping past keeper Nathan Vaughan before missing the target with his strike from a wide angle. David Kolodynski also put in an off-target attempt, after Sam Belcher had picked him out with his cross,
Worcester were soon grasping the initiative again, and Jeff Woodward did well to cut out a Baldwin cross, with George Forsyth’s long-range effort capably turned round the post by Cooper.
Reynolds should have opened the scoring around the half an hour mark, but he could only blaze over the bar after Cooper had parried Alex Tomkinson’s initial shot.
Ruff did send in a threatening free-kick across the face of the City goal though, whilst at the other end further opportunities for Baldwin and Tomkinson went begging ahead of the interval.
The visitors took the lead eight minutes after the restart, when Reynolds powered home a loose ball just inside the box.
Reynolds and Baldwin had chances to double the advantage, with Cooper and James Dance respectively blocking their efforts, before the quality of the encounter deteriorated with the at-times tedious gamesmanship from the away side disrupting any flow to proceedings.
The introductions of Lockley and Ben Ashby from the Valley bench did provide some fresh impetus, and Ashby shot straight at Vaughan after Ruben Wiggins-Thomas had laid the ball off to him.
Ruff’s strike was blocked by a defender and Hendrie put one over the bar, as Town probed in between the numerous stoppages, with Rugby’s best chance of the game falling late on to Ruff – but he blazed Wiggins-Thomas’s cross over from a good position.