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2018/19 SEASON - MATCH REPORT - UCL PREMIER DIVISION - 15 DECEMBER 2018
Rugby Town

Newport Pagnell Town
Winters 42'
Osborn sent off 48'
Winters sent off 85'

1
Rugby Town

Rugby Town
Rankin 71', 82'

2
Harry Holloway - Newport Pagnell Town 1-2 Rugby Town - December 2018
Second half substitute Harry Holloway made a positive impact after coming off the bench as Rugby overturned the first half deficit to win a crucial three points
 

Saturday 15 December 2018

United Counties League Premier Division
Willen Road, Newport Pagnell
Attendance 106
Valley Star Man
MATT HILL
by JON VENNER

Valley dug deep to overcome a home side that finished with just nine men in a game that was played in horrendous weather conditions at the Buckinghamshire Willen Road ground.

Valley dug deep to overcome a home side that finished with just nine men in a game that was played in horrendous weather conditions at the Buckinghamshire Willen Road ground.

Town's Lewis Rankin struck twice within eleven second half minutes to overturn the hosts' lead at the interval, making it nine league wins out of an unbeaten eleven match run for Carl Adams's men over the past three months.

The Rugby boss again tweaked his starting line-up for the fixture, with Charlie Evans and Rankin in for Dom Perkins and Stefan Blake, but Town were up against the wind in the first half - and consequently the Swans created the best of its openings.

Pagnell's Yaw Ofosu headed over early on, before Town keeper Matt Hill pulled off one of a string of decent stops by keeping out Adam Moussi's shot from six yards after Scott Mulkern's cross had picked him out.

Josh Winters then set up Harry Stratton as the hosts continued to dominate proceedings, but Stratton pulled his effort just wide of the frame.

Another wind assisted attack saw Dom Lawless clean through on Valley's goal, but the striker could only scuff the ball off-target. Lawless's next attempt on goal was much-improved though, when he followed up on his own initially blocked strike to draw a superb save from Hill down to the keeper's left.

Rugby had offered little at the opposite end to this point, with half-chances for Danico Johnson and Charlie Evans failing to trouble Mark Osbourne, but then the home keeper did have to hurry to punch clear a Liam Francis header to a Rankin corner.

However the seemingly inevitable opener did come with three minutes of the opening period remaining, when Winters headed home a free-kick floated deep into Town's box, with the hosts nearly doubling their advantage before the break when Lawless just failed to get on the end of a flashed delivery across the goalmouth.

With the icy wind and driving rain intensifying, the first chance of the second half also fell to the Swans - but again woeful finishing from Lawless saw the ball fly way over.

The dynamics of the game changed from the ensuing restart, with Hill's wind powered goal-kick forcing Osbourne to gather and then slide out of his area still holding the ball - prompting the referee to show the keeper a red card.

Outfield player Liam Smyth took over the gloves and Rankin put the resulting free-kick into the Pagnell wall.

Town's first decent opportunity of the match duly followed, with Fazel Koriya heading Simeon Tulloch's centre wide.

The introduction of Harry Holloway once more acted as a catalyst for an improvement to the visitors' performance, and the equaliser came on 71 minutes when Rankin followed up on his own shot to turn the ball in from a tight angle.

Koriya fired over as Valley pushed for a second, with Richard Blythe then curling one which Smythe tipped away for a corner.

Koriya and Blythe were both unable to force the ball home from a goalmouth scramble, whilst the busy Smyth did well to spot a deflection on Rankin's effort and ultimately gather it.

Rankin had more joy with eight minutes remaining though, when he pounced on Johnson's blocked strike to rifle what turned out to be the winner.

Winters was soon joining Osbourne for an early bath when he launched himself into a desperately late tackle, but despite their two man numerical disadvantage it was the hosts that went closest in the time remaining - with Stratton firing one wide and sub Jake Stronge having a decent claim for a penalty turned down.

Valley Line-up: Hill; Rosser, Recci, Francis; Tulloch (Holloway), Evans, Blythe, Hayden, Rankin; Koriya, Johnson. Subs not used: Blake, Perkins, Marsden, Kavanagh. Booked: Recci.

Newport Pagnell line-up: Osborne, Wilkinson, Mulkern, Smyth, Ofosu, Baker, Winters, Lyon, Lawless, Stratton, Moussi. Subs: Tamakloe, Watkinson, Stronge

 
Valley Lineup - Newport Pagnell Town 1-2 Rugby Town - December 2018
Photos: Martin Pulley
Lewis Rankin - Newport Pagnell Town 1-2 Rugby Town - December 2018
Two goal Lewis Rankin celebrates in the driving rain at Willen Road after netting the winner late on

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