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Blythe 52'

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Evesham United

Richard Blythe - Rugby Town 1-0 Evesham United - August 2018 - FA Cup Preliminary Round
Midfielder Richard Blythe fired in the spectacular winner early in the second half, his first for Valley since February 2015

Saturday 25 August 2018

FA Cup Preliminary Round
Butlin Road, Rugby
Attendance 225
Valley Star Man

Richard Blythe's superb second half strike at Butlin Road against Evesham United ensured Rugby Town secured a deserved place in the next round of the Emirates FA Cup.

Southern League Evesham can have no complaints about their exit, after Rugby midfielder Blythe scored the only goal of the tie to achieve a deserved victory.

Blythe's impressive finish into the top corner came on 52 minutes for a Valley side which showed two changes from the previous game, with Justin Marsden and Lewis Rankin both restored from the off.

The hosts made an encouraging start, with Loyiso Recci heading Marsden's corner just wide of the target and Blythe having a shot blocked by Will Tunnicliff in the opening exchanges.

A speculative effort by Marsden deflected over for a corner and Luke Edwards' goalbound header appeared to be blocked by one of his own team-mates, as Town continued to probe for a deadlock breaker.

The Robins' first real foray on Matt Hill's goal saw their skipper Archie Haskayne drag one wide on 25 minutes, but generally Rugby's rejigged defensive formation was coping well with any threat from the visitors.

A Blythe surge into the penalty area was halted by a good saving tackle from Tunnicliff, before Evesham put in their best spell of the first period with Marley Thomas testing Hill for the first time in the game and Sean Brain heading Haskayne's cross too high.

Rugby ended the half with a great opportunity to take the lead though, with United keeper Harvey Rivers pulling off a fine double save to deny both Marsden's initial strike and Danico Johnson's follow-up effort.

Shortly after the restart, Rivers was back in the action again parrying away a Johnson shot on the turn, although United then nearly capitalised on a long goal-kick from Rivers but the bounce of the ball was not kind to Brain in Town's box.

Blythe's powerful winner came after Rugby had stolen possession in the middle of the park, with Johnson, Marsden and Rankin all involved before the goalscorer skipped into the penalty area to fire past Rivers.

Evesham initially responded well, and Tyrone Tucker-Dixon had a shot blocked before the ball was ultimately looped back towards the unmarked Nathan Summers - but the defender snatched at his header and could only send it straight at Hill.

Having weathered the visitors' retaliatory endeavours, Valley settled into their game again and arguably looked the most likely to team score from there on in.

Academy prospect Jamal Adams was looking a handful on the right hand side following his introduction from the bench, and after he broke quickly, his centre to Johnson nearly led to a chance for fellow sub Sam Lockley - but Johnson's attempted back-heel flick just failed to come off.

Lockley dragged one wide and Town's third replacement Daniel Kavanagh shot straight at Rivers, whilst United's only strike at goal came when keeper Rivers launched an on-target free-kick from just inside the Rugby half - which Hill was forced to tip over the bar.

Blythe nearly grabbed his second deep into added-on time after Johnson had set him up, but this time Rivers was equal to his well-struck effort, with the last shot of the game seeing Evesham's Joseph Tumelty pull the ball harmlessly wide.

Valley Line-up: Hill; Rosser, Perkins, Recci, Edwards; Blythe, Bunting (Adams), Marsden (Lockley); Rankin (Kavanagh), Evans, Johnson. Subs not used: Holloway. Booked: Perkins.

Evesham line-up: Rivers, Hancock, Tunnicliff, Turley, Summers, Wellon, Tucker-Dixon, Williams, Brain, Haskayne, Thomas. Subs: Humphreys, Dovey, Brown, Tumelty, Davies, Taylor.

Valley Line-up - Rugby Town 1-0 Evesham United - August 2018 - FA Cup Preliminary Round
Photos: Martin Pulley
Stefan Blake - Coventry United 1-2 Rugby Town - August 2018 - FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round
Manager Carl Adams celebrates with his player-assistant Justin Marsden at the full time whistle

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