PICTURES BY MARTIN PULLEY
Rugby Town were knocked off their perch at the top of the UCL Premier South after their 3-1 defeat at Coventry United on Bank Holiday Monday afternoon.
Two days earlier Town had extended their unbeaten start to their 2021/22 league campaign with a 3-2 home victory over Rothwell, but the five-match streak came to an end at the Butts Park Arena and it also saw them slip a couple of places in the early divisional table.
Saturday’s Butlin Road success had been needlessly narrow, as Rugby were guilty of missing a number of gilt-edged opportunities to set-up a nervy closing portion of the match.
The hosts appeared to have made a dream start when they were awarded a penalty in the very first minute for handball, but skipper Loyiso Recci could not replicate his performance from the spot in the previous fixture and saw his strike saved by Corinthians keeper Jude O’Connor.
Valley did take the lead on 17 minutes though, when Justin Marsden registered a rare Town goal by nodding home a James Hancocks’ in-swinging free-kick.
The visitors were soon level, after Callum Traynor managed to score his penalty, but Rugby were back in-front before the interval when David Kolodynski executed a clever low finish off the upright.
Kolodynski was on-target again shortly after the restart with his sixth of the season, but their two-goal cushion was quickly diminished by a Ryan Archer header and a tense finale followed.
Whilst Valley had their chances against a fancied United outfit on Monday, it was overall a fully deserved win for the home side.
Joe Cairns had given Coventry the lead with a deflected volley, before Barry Fitzharris equalised with a rasping low shot from at least 20 yards.
Ex-Town man Charlie Faulkner squeezed a shot into the corner three minutes before the break, but the new period lacked incident and whilst both Marsden and Kolodynski could have snatched a point for Rugby, it was United that confirmed the victory late on when sub Aaron Soleman coolly eased the ball home past Ben Newey.
Town will be looking to return to winning ways when they travel to Wellingborough this Saturday.
Their Northamptonshire opponents have had a mixed start to their season with three wins and three losses from their six league games so far.
Valley boss Carl Adams bolstered his squad with the signing of midfielder Caine Elliott ahead of the Coventry defeat.
Town Academy graduate Elliott left Butlin Road in the summer stepping up two levels to join Stratford Town, but returned to play the opening hour of Monday’s local derby.
Rugby Town are running a supporters coach to Wellingborough on Saturday 4th September departure Rugby school gates 12.30 Butlin Road 12.45. All welcome