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Josh Thornton - Rugby Town 0-0 Coventry Sphinx - September 2017
James Dance clears the ball during the first half at Butlin Road against Coventry United

Saturday 7 October 2017

Midland Football League Premier Division
Butlin Road, Rugby
Attendance 371
Valley Star Man

Valley played out an entertaining and hard-fought for goal-less draw at Butlin Road against local rivals Coventry United.

A point apiece was probably a fair conclusion to this even encounter, although the visitors will probably argue they created the better opportunities overall in this second meeting between the clubs this season.

Niall Cooper returned from injury between the sticks for Town, whilst recent signing Fabian Smith made his new spell debut at full-back and Sam Belcher was in for the suspended Josh Ruff in midfield.

Ruben Wiggins-Thomas headed Lee Miveld’s cross over the bar in the game’s first attacking highlight of note, but United were soon threatening at the other end with Cooper gathering Aaron Opoku’s strike from twenty yards and then Lewis Rankin put one just over the bar from the edge of the box.

The two sides continued to trade chances, with Belcher almost playing in Wiggins-Thomas after good work initially by David Kolodynski, before Dave Moli shot wide of Cooper’s post.

Opoku should have done better with a header to Rankin’s cross at close range, but sent his effort lamely straight at Cooper, whilst Kolodynski scuffed one just wide after Miveld had done well to play him in with an incisive pass.

Another United header – this time by Moli – was directed straight at Cooper, with the busy Rugby keeper then executing a decent tip over to the dangerous Rankin’s well-struck effort from distance.

However it was Valley that really should have gone into the interval in the lead when Miveld somehow scooped the ball over from a great position after United’s Kyle Barnett had headed down Smith’s cross into his path.

The second half continued with a similar pattern, with both sides threatening but unable to provide the required clinical finish.

Moli broke free on the right but his cross was poor and easily dealt with by Cooper, whilst his Coventry counterpart Richard Morris was off his line quickly to deny a Kolodynski surge.

Kolodynski headed over the target and United’s Brad Jones denied Wiggins-Thomas with a well-timed saving tackle as the hosts threatened to take control of the game just after the hour mark.

Coventry responded well though, with substitute Donnell Benjamin lifting over just before visiting manager Terry Anderson was dismissed from the touchline for an altercation with Rugby midfielder Ben Ashby.

There was a cagey and tight end to the match, with both sides keen to avoid a late slip up. Steve Palmer did put one harmlessly wide for Town though, and Jones again did well to beat Wiggins-Thomas to Kolodynski’s dangerous deep cross.

The final chance of the game fell to the away side, when Cooper pulled off a great save to keep out Benjamin’s strike inside the penalty area. .

Valley Line-up: Cooper; Smith, Kelly, Dance, Castleton; Brathwaite, Miveld (Palmer), Belcher (C Birch); Ashby, Wiggins-Thomas, Kolodynski. Subs not used: Holloway, K Rowley, Harris. Booked: Dance, Ashby, Smith, Belcher.

Coventry line-up: Morris, Jones, James, Mussa, Cox, Barnett, Rankin, Glasscoe, Opoku, Moli, Wint Subs: Woodward, Piggon, O’Grady, Reid, Benjamin.

Valley Line-up - Rugby Town 1-0 Coleshill Town - October 2017
Photos: Martin Pulley
David Kolodynski - Rugby Town 0-0 Coventry United - October 2017
Valley's David Kolodynski narrowly misses with a header during the second half

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