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Rugby Town

Coventry United
Cairns 14'
Faulkner 42'
Soleman 87'

Rugby Town

Rugby Town
Fitzharris 17'

Josh Thomas - Coventry United 3-1 Rugby Town - August 2021
Josh Thomas started at right wing-back for his first start since the opening day after illness and injury

Monday 30 August 2021

United Counties League Premier Division South
Butts Park Arena, Coventry
Attendance 378
Valley Star Man

Rugby Town suffered their first league defeat of the season at local rivals Coventry United.

Although Valley had chances and could have potentially even stolen a point, ultimately the win was deserved for the hosts at the Butts Park Arena.

Danico Johnson was back in Rugby's starting line-up along with Josh Thomas, with the returning Caine Elliott also in from the off.

The hosts made a decent start, with Joe Cairns, Kyle Carey and ex-Valley man Lewis Hayden all having early chances.

Johnson put a left foot shot wide for Town, after another one-time Butlin Roader Dom Perkins had given the ball away cheaply in a dangerous position.

United struck the first blow though, when Cairns's deflected volley looped into the middle of the goal on fourteen minutes, but Rugby were soon level after Barry Fitzharris put his rasping low shot from twenty yards into the corner of the net.

James Hancocks and Johnson both had further opportunities, as Town looked to use the momentum of the equaliser to good effect, before Ben Newey denied Riley O'Sullivan a certain goal when he kept out the striker's effort from point blank range with an excellent stop with his legs.

Newey did well again to keep out Coventry skipper Aaron Williams's effort, but with half-time approaching a third Town old-boy Charlie Faulkner restored the home side's lead when he angled one off the post and past Newey after a well-worked United move.

There was still time for a close double near-miss for Valley though, when Fitzharris launched a carbon copy low strike from distance which Reece Francis this time managed to parry, and from the resulting loose ball Dylan Parker set-up Johnson for a close range finish, but somehow he could only help it into the side netting.

The second half was a less eventful affair, although Justin Marsden did smash one against the upright and Parker almost took advantage after breaking clear of the Coventry back-line on one occasion.

For the hosts, Carey twice sent efforts high of the bar, before Newey gathered substitute Aram Soleman's strike at the second attempt.

Town's best chance of an equaliser then fell to David Kolodynski, but he could not divert the ball goalwards after fellow sub Max Johnson had swung a free-kick dangerously into the box.

Coventry settled the encounter with three minutes of normal time remaining, when Soleman finished low past Newey from just inside the penalty area.

Valley Line-up: Newey; Loyiso Recci, Francis, Lee Thomas; Josh Thomas (Kolodynski), Hancocks (Mpande), Elliott (Max Johnson), Fitzharris; Danico Johnson, Marsden, Parker. Subs not used: Hayward, Evans. Booked: Danico Johnson.

Coventry line-up: Francis, Smith, Vallance, Williams, Kelly, Perkins, Cairns, Hayden, O'Sullivan, Carey, Faulkner. Subs: Roscoe, Camwell, Knight, Alleyne, Soleman.

Valley Line-up - Coventry United 3-1 Rugby Town - UCL Premier Division South - August 2021
Photos: Martin Pulley
X - Coventry United x Rugby Town - August 2021
Midfielder Barry Fitzharris got Rugby level with a fine low effort from outside the area but it wasn't enough to get any points

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