New Year, No Change
Thursday, 1st January 2004
Rugby United dealt out another comprehensive defeat to local rivals Bedworth United to record a fourth consecutive victory over the Greenbacks...
Martens Western Division
Dr Martens Western Division
Thursday, 1st January 2004
Attendance | 505
After the disappointment against Solihull Borough, Dobson made two changes to the side, with Jamie Williams replacing Dave Pearson to take a place in midfield alongside Rory Squire and Craig Dutton, while Andy Commander returned from suspension to replace young Cypriot Andreas Kattos.
Rugby started well in front of a season's best crowd of 505 including a commendable following from the visitors, and Robbie Beard threatened early on.
After 5 minutes, Justin Marsden's persistence allowed Jamie Williams a chance, but goalkeeper Gary Hateley made a smart save to his right as the Rugby midfielder tried to slide home.
Valley continued to press, and eventually got the breakthrough, as Beard showed fantastic footwork, pace and strength to weave through two challenges before looping a measured cross to the unmarked Justin Marsden who fired home on the volley at the near post.
However, after this goal, Bedworth began to come into the game and they had Rugby on the backfoot for the remainder of the half. Guy Hadland saw his shot fly over the bar, while Martin Crowley's shot had a similar fate soon afterwards from a Hadland freekick.
After some constant pressure, the Greenbacks got back into the game, when Hadley's expertly-taken freekick gave 19 year old ex-Coventry City youth player Lee Moore the easy task of finishing from six yards.
That wasn't the end of the visitors attacking wave. After Marsden had fired over after a move from the kick-off, Bedworth forced more corners and free-kicks. However, it was a simple long pass from the back that found player-manager Mark Hallam who somehow outpaced the Rugby defence. But the big striker's finish was poor when he was one-on-one with Pearcey who saved at his feet.
It proved to be the only real clear-cut chance that the visitors carved out until the end of the game, but they still had Rugby stuck inside their own half. However, against the run of play, Valley re-took the lead with a stroke of good luck, as Craig Dutton mis-kicked beyond Hateley to take a very fortunate 2-1 win into the break.
This seamed to knock the stuffing out of the visitors in the second half, as Rugby United picked it up a notch to seal the game. Rory Squire's glancing header from Jamie Williams' corner effectively ended the game as Bedworth posed little in the second half.
Frustration crept into the Greenback's game as several sliding challenges were punished with bookings, as they failed to cope with Marsden and Beard.
Valley saw numerous chances flash past the upright, with Marsden being at the centre of most of them. However, it was Beard who once again delighted the fans with a fabulous goal. With Williams and Marsden making free runs towards the goal, Robbie Beard typically ignored the movement before taking the ball from the halfway line before unleashing a 30-yarder which sailed in off the crossbar.
Bedworth's only other chance was from an indirect freekick after Pearcey picked up after a back-pass, but after setting up the chance for about 2 minutes, Hallam struck the ball straight into the first man from 8 yards.
The pick of Valley's shots was Marsden's fierce drive from the edge of the area, which whistled past the angle.
The scoreline was a little harsh on Bedworth as they controlled the midfield in the first half, but in the end it could have been six or seven for Valley.
Rugby United | Pearcey, Moran, Thompson, Hart, Rutherford (Kattos), Commander, Squire, Dutton, Beard (Charley), Marsden, Williams Subs | Thomas (gk), Pearson, Shanahan
Bookings | Commander, Dutton.