Rugby Town FC Show Valliant Effort In Defeat
|Author: Jon Venner||Published: 14th March 2012 12:30|
Rugby Town FC 2 - 4 St.Neots FC
Tuesday 13th March 2012
Four more St Neots' strikes took their total to ninety five in the league so far this season, although had Valley taken their chances - especially in the second quarter of the game, then the final outcome could have been totally different.
The visitors could easily have been two up within the opening three minutes, with Lewis Hillard heading over after just thirty seconds and then Hillard saw his shot well saved by the legs of Dave Bevan.
The next big chance of the game fell to Rugby though, when Tyrone Fagan found space in the box - only to strike his effort at the body of Saints' keeper Michael Duggan.
St Neots took the lead shortly after, when Stefan Moore got in behind the hosts' back-line to calmly finish through Bevan's legs.
Rugby responded well however. Fagan put one into the side netting, Ed Booth headed inches wide and Seb Hamilton also found the outside of the net with his effort after he rounded Duggan at an acute angle.
The deserved equaliser came with a minute of the half remaining when Hamilton rammed the ball home from close range, after Richie Allen's corner had initially been headed towards the goal by Booth.
Saints came at Valley hard after the restart. Dan Jacob struck the crossbar with a viciously swerving effort from twenty yards, and then Bevan pulled out a fine one-handed save from the same player.
The pressure paid off when Ross Miller was adjudged to have fouled Adrian Sear in the box, and Moore stepped up to stroke home a 52nd minute penalty.
It was soon three, with Moore completing a hat-trick with a simple finish after Hillard's powerful shot had banged back off the post, and the game then looked dead and buried for Rugby after 67 minutes when Jacob slid in at the far post to help in Lewis Webb's cross.
However Valley were far from finished, with a high Allen free-kick into the penalty area touched onto the bar, and Fagan volleying over the frame too.
On 71 minutes another Allen lofted set-piece caused more havoc in the St Neots defence, and Hamilton was on hand for another close range finish to reduce the arrears to two goals.
Hamilton and Fagan both had further opportunities, before Richard Blythe somehow managed to drag his effort against the base of the post with the whole goal to aim at.
That miss all but signalled the end of an unlikely Rugby comeback, and the visitors eased out the remainder of the game.
Bevan then made a brilliant one-handed save to deny substitute Ben Mackey in the closing few minutes.
Valley Line-up: Bevan; Moran, Milligan, Miller, Booth; Williams, Leahy, Blythe (Lake-Gaskin), Allen; Hamilton, Fagan. Subs not used: Preston, Wilson, Steane, Palmer. Booked: Fagan.
St Neots Line-up: Duggan, Webb, Steer, Sear, Gent, Stewart, Hillard, Kanudu, Moore, Tolley, Jacob. Subs: Mackey, Greene, Kamara, Henebery, Hope.