EASE BACK INTO PLAY-OFF RECKONING
Town eased to a three-goal victory against Leighton
Town at Butlin Road to maintain their push towards
the play-off zone.
Luke & Tyrone Fagan celebrate Luke
Leahy's 13th-minute opener
for Rugby against Leighton
made it back-to-back three nil league successes
with this regulation victory.
visitors came into the game on the back of three
straight league wins of their own, but apart from
providing Rugby with a couple of early scares,
they never looked like extending that run and
Dave Stringer's side comfortably strengthened
their push towards the play-offs with another
departures of Seb Lake-Gaskin and Craig Reid had
forced Stringer into two changes to his starting
line-up with Luke Leahy returning from a rib injury
earlier than had been anticipated and the rejoining
Melvin Gourlay coming straight back into the side.
had two early opportunities to open the scoring
though, with first Charlie Cunningham stabbing
ex-Valley striker Leon Simpson's flick-on header
towards the goal, but fortunately it was blocked
a poor pass-out by Pete Smith saw Jake Bewley
rob Nik Preston on the edge of the area, but again
the resulting Leighton effort was blocked off.
hosts thought they had taken the lead on eleven
minutes when Ed Booth rose highest to head home
Richie Allen's corner, but he was adjudged to
have pushed his marker in the back.
goal was not long in coming though, when two minutes
later Cunningham dithered on a ball near his own
penalty spot - allowing Leahy to dispossess him,
before firing home off the inside of the post.
Banks and Andy Gundelach both put in wayward efforts
for Rugby, as the home side pretty much dictated
the remainder of the first half.
best chance of extending their advantage ahead
of the interval came when Leighton keeper Kevin
Marsh spilled Luke Keen's initial volley, and
Tyrone Fagan very nearly scrambled in the loose
minutes into the second period Valley's second
goal did come though, with the ever-improving
Allen doing well to break up play in the middle
of the park before releasing Fagan with an excellent
through ball. Fagan then provided an equally impressive
finish into the bottom left hand corner of the
had a goal of their own ruled out for offside,
before Keen made the game safe for Rugby on the
hour, when he nipped in ahead of Marsh to strike
home, after Gary Moran's ball into the box had
created confusion in the visitors' defence.
the three goal deficit, Leighton did rally well
in the closing stages of the game in the search
of a late consolation.
Ben Gallant had a good shot blocked by Gourlay,
and Smith was also down well to keep out Ross
Hanley's low shot with a fine one-handed save.
again did well to deny Gallant with his legs,
before Rugby were forced to play out the final
minutes of the game a player short, when Gourlay's
return to club colours was prematurely halted
through injury - after Stringer had made all three
of his available substitutions.
Line-up: Smith; Moran, Leahy, Preston,
Booth, Gourlay; Banks, Gundelach (Williams), Allen;
Keen (Hamilton), Fagan (Steane). Subs
not used: Austin. Booked:
line-up: Marsh, Maltay, Copson, Cunningham,
Deaton, Hill, McBride, Silvestri, Simpson, Hanley,
Bewley. Subs: Gallant, May, Harrison,