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Rugby Town

Rugby Town
Leahy 13'
Fagan 54'
Keen 60'

Rugby Town Leighton Town
Saturday 14 January 2012
Evo-Stik League Southern Division One Central
Venue: Butlin Road, Rugby
Attendance: 210
Valley Star Man: Richie Allen


Rugby Town eased to a three-goal victory against Leighton Town at Butlin Road to maintain their push towards the play-off zone.

By Jon Venner

Photo: Martin Pulley
Luke Luke & Tyrone Fagan celebrate Luke Leahy's 13th-minute opener for Rugby against Leighton

Valley made it back-to-back three nil league successes with this regulation victory.

The 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 three points.

The 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.

Leighton 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 and cleared.

Then 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.

The 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.

The 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.

Robbie Banks and Andy Gundelach both put in wayward efforts for Rugby, as the home side pretty much dictated the remainder of the first half.

Their 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 ball.

Nine 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 net.

Leighton 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.

Despite the three goal deficit, Leighton did rally well in the closing stages of the game in the search of a late consolation.

Substitute 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.

Smith 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.

Valley Line-up: Smith; Moran, Leahy, Preston, Booth, Gourlay; Banks, Gundelach (Williams), Allen; Keen (Hamilton), Fagan (Steane). Subs not used: Austin. Booked: None.

Leighton line-up: Marsh, Maltay, Copson, Cunningham, Deaton, Hill, McBride, Silvestri, Simpson, Hanley, Bewley. Subs: Gallant, May, Harrison, Ambler.

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