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Rugby Town

Rugby Town
Taylor 14'
Wilson 39'
Francis 55'
Recci 72'

Rugby Town

Eynesbury Rovers
Osubu 21', 45'
Farrell 84'

x - Rugby Town x Desborough - April 2023
Goalscoring defenders Loyiso Recci (left) and Liam Francis celebrate the latter's second half goal

Saturday 15 April 2023

United Counties League Premier Division South
Butlin Road, Rugby
Attendance 233
Valley Star Man

Valley kept up their promotion push with a third win in a row after a goal-fest against Eynesbury Rovers at Butlin Road.

Town were twice pegged back in the first half after front duo Michael Taylor and Jordan Wilson had both scored, but strikes after the interval from Liam Francis and Loyiso Recci gave them a two goal advantage and the hosts held on despite Rovers netting a third late on.

Rugby boss Carl Adams rung the changes ahead of the vital final week of the season - making five changes from the side that had won at Godmanchester, including an appearance between the sticks for Lewis Gwilliams.

Jordan Wilson was back from suspension, and there were also returns to the starting line-up for Barry Fitzharris, Keenah Rosser and Edwin Ahenkorah.

Drew Kear's bobbling effort represented the opening opportunity of the game after just two minutes, but it failed to trouble Eynesbury keeper Mahmood Suleyman, before the game was interrupted by a lengthy delay when referee Peter Brothwell was replaced in the middle following a muscle strain.

The visitors were the next to threaten when Joshua Francis blazed over for them, after Victor Osobu had created problems in the Town box.

However on 14 minutes Rugby broke the deadlock when Taylor shrugged off his marker on the byline before firing home from a tight angle off Suleyman.

The scores were soon level though, when Osubu raced onto a searching pass from Ben Farrell to slot the ball past Gwilliams.

Chances continued to come at both ends, with Taylor's header to a deep Recci cross comfortably gathered by Suleyman and then Tom Rowley flashing a dangerous ball across the face of Rugby's goal.

Wilson's angled shot was blocked and Rowley blazed over, before Town struck again when Wilson converted a Seal cross from the left after his initial corner had found its way back to him.

Eynesbury defender John Sonuga twice threatened with headers and Farrell sent one over the bar, as the away side looked to equalise again, with Rosser then doing well to deny Michael King with a saving tackle.

Osobu nearly took advantage of a ball behind the Town defence but Gwilliams just managed to pluck the ball from him, before King's long ball upfield set Osobu free again and he duly lifted it over the onrushing Valley keeper.

Caine Elliott did curl one wide of the target just before the half-time break, as the hosts looked for an instant response.

Another Elliott effort was deflected wide after the restart, ahead of Rugby's third on 55 minutes which came from Francis's downward header to Seal's corner which Suleyman could only help over his own line.

Once more Eynesbury rallied immediately, and Lawrence Hammond and Rowley both had shots - the latter of which Gwiliams blocked away his legs at the near post.

Josh Thomas, Taylor and Madundo Semahimbo all put in off-targets for Town, before Recci volleyed home to make it 4-2 after Taylor's initial strike had been blocked.

Wilson then curled one wide as Valley looked to put the game beyond the visitors, with Farrell guiding the ball wide from the edge of the area at the other end.

Farrell's aim was true shortly after though when he finished off Rowley's delivery to set up a nervous final few minutes, which saw sub Justin Marsden nearly grab Rugby's fifth when he ran onto Semahimbo's pass to then skip past Suleyman before seeing his shot cleared from the line by a covering Eynesbury defender.

Valley Line-up: Gwilliams; Rosser (Lock), Thomas, Recci; Kear (Semahimbo), Ahenkorah (Francis), Fitzharris, Elliott, Seal (Fry); Wilson (Marsden), Taylor. Subs not used: None. Booked: None.

Eynesbury line-up: Suleyman, Joseph, Bugyei-Kyei, King, Sonuga, George, Rowley, Farrell, Mullins-Hammond, Francis, Osubu. Subs: Duffy, Nickels-Benson, Ugarte-Edwards, Baulk, Dunnett.

Valley Line-up - Rugby Town 4-3 Eynesbury Rovers - April 2023
Photos: Martin Pulley
x - Rugby Town x Eynesbury Rovers - April 2023
Loyiso Recci netted his fifth goal of the season with a crisp volley in the second half

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