HANDY ANDY COMPOUNDS VALLEY MISERY
Breward makes a challenge with Eastwood's
Anthony Howell during the second half
suffered their first defeat of the warm-up campaign
last Saturday, putting in an ineffectual display
at newly-promoted Unibond Premier side Eastwood
in the process.
disappointment of the performance was further
compounded by the loss of defender Andy Commander
through injury after just 20 minutes of the game
and then an aborted return to action of last season's
top scorer Jason Taylor, who limped off just five
minutes into his second half appearance as a substitute
with a recurrence of a knee injury.
withdrawal with a suspected broken hand came after
the home side had already taken the lead through
Craig Swinscoe, after the midfielder had seized
upon a poor clearance from Tom Breward to curl
the ball home from 25 yards out.
Commander's physical presence at the heart of
the defence, Rugby struggled to deal with the
direct style of the opposition. In particular
Badgers' front pairing of Lindon Meikle and Anthony
Howells were a constant threat - especially late
on in the game when further precautionary withdrawals
of Delroy Gordon and Stefan Morley left Town with
a decidedly inexperienced and unfamiliar back-line.
best chances came in a two minute spell midway
through the first period. Fabien Smith's clever
chipped through ball found David Stone, who laid
it off to David Kolodynski to release a low driven
shot which was well saved by Eastwood keeper Ian
Deakin. Smith's corner then found the head of
Breward, but his looping header was just off-target.
Meikle and Howells squandered first half opportunities
to double their side's lead, with Meikle screwing
his shot well wide and Howells putting his into
the side netting.
the stroke of half-time, Akin Aladetoun battered
his way through the Badgers' defence, before cutting
the ball back to Stone. Unfortunately his strike
partner's shot lacked power and was easily gathered
hesitant defending on 52 minutes led to Eastwood's
second, with Howells applying a simple side-footed
finish to Meikle's cross, and then two minutes
later the home side sealed the game for certain
when Ricky Hanson followed-up on Meikle's shot,
which triallist goalkeeper Alex Bacherini had
spilled at the full-back's feet.
posed little threat in a disappointing second
half performance, and were far too often of gifting
their Northern League opponents with possession.
Lineup: Faz Afandiyev (Alex Bacherini),
Brad Harris, Stefan Morley (Joel Young), Andy
Commander (Michael Skubala), Delroy Gordon, David
Kolodynski (Stefan McGrath), Willis Francis, Tom
Breward, Akin Aladetoun, David Stone (Tristan
Kabongo), Fabien Smith. Bookings: None. Sent Off:
by Jon Venner.