A BATTLING performance saw Rugby Town come from behind to beat Carlton Town 2-1 to move four points away from the Evostik NPL – South Division play-off positions, writes Jon Venner.
It was an unconvincing victory for the hosts though after David Kolodynski had quickly levelled things up following the visitors’ first half opener before Steve Towers secured the points with a scrambled winner in the 73rd minute
Town made one enforced change to their starting line-up, with new signing Tom James given a debut at left-back following the departure of Sam Warburton to Nuneaton, and Valley started brightly enough with Carlton keeper Jack Steggles turning Kevin Thornton’s free-kick around the post and Callum Powell’s bright run into the box ending with a shot over the bar.
At the other end, Carlton ominously threatened when Anthony Dwyer saw his effort from the angle come back off the legs of Sam Andrew, and they then took the lead after 19 minutes.
Andrew could only parry Daniel Gordon’s free-kick – giving Romaine Gordon the chance to help the ball over the line from a couple of yards out.
Rugby’s response was swift however and it was all square again within five minutes, after Kurtis Revan had done well to get to the right hand byline, before pulling the ball across the face of the goal and with Steggles unable to keep hold of it, Kolodynski was on hand to apply another close range finish.
Steggles did gather a low twenty yarder from Powell shortly after though, whilst Andrew kept out Gordon’s header – with the main incident of the remainder of the first half seeing Kolodynski lucky to stay on the pitch after he tugged back a defender minutes after he had been booked for sliding in on Steggles as he chased down a loose ball.
The second period lacked significant goalmouth action, as Rugby struggled to break down their opponents – whilst rarely being troubled themselves.
The best of the chances saw Chris Tullin head straight at Steggles and a decent strike by Powell blocked in the crowded box.
There was a scare for Rugby when Niall Davie nearly capitalised on a loose header back to goal from James, but Andrew was out quick to gather.
However it was the debuting James that went on to set up the winner by creating confusion in the penalty area with a nicely flighted free-kick, which ultimately saw Towers force the ball over the line.
Andre Johnson had a late chance for a Valley third after neat work out wide by Powell, but the substitute took too long to set himself for the shot and his subsequent effort was blocked.