Unbeaten leaders Hinckley visit third-placed Rugby Town to start home run

By Jon Venner

Jamal Clarke is mobbed after heading in Rugby Town’s second goal against Coventry Sphinx PICTURE BY MARTIN PULLEY

Rugby Town’s latest victory on New Year’s Bank Holiday at Coventry Sphinx saw them ease up two places in the United Counties Premier South table to third.

Goals from central defenders Loyiso Recci and Jamal Clarke plus yet another one from David Kolodynski saw Valley open up the new calendar with a 3-1 win, whilst three of the four teams who sat above them before the game dropped points elsewhere in the day’s schedule.

Sign up to our daily WarwickshireWorld Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Town now face the tough challenge of the visit to Butlin Road of the division’s leaders Hinckley this Saturday, although the Leicestershire club’s 100% league record did finally come to an end following their 2-2 home draw with another of Rugby’s challengers at the top Coventry United.

That result coupled with Newport Pagnell’s defeat at Cogenhoe allowed Town to successfully execute their double leapfrog manoeuvre.

However second-placed Harborough continued their excellent form this season with a home win over Rothwell to maintain a five-point cushion between them and the head of the chasing pack, with the Bees also having played three less games than Rugby.

Valley had fallen behind against the run of play at Sphinx Drive on Monday afternoon though, when ex-Town academy prospect Callum Stewart beat Ash Bodycote from the penalty spot within ten minutes after James Hancocks had handled in the area.

Both Kolodynski and Adam Shaw had struck the Coventry upright ahead of the opening goal though, and the visitors did not appear too deterred by conceding and deservedly got themselves level before the interval when Recci was also successful from the spot after Danico Johnson had been clipped in the box.

Rugby were again the dominant side after break, and they took the lead when Clarke’s well placed header to Johnson’s cross found the bottom corner on the hour mark.

Kolodynski secured Town’s eighth league victory on the trot with a close range finish on 75 minutes after Shaw had done well out on the right hand side.

Kolodynski’s latest strike made it 21 so far for him this season. The leading scorer is unavailable for this weekend’s game against Hinckley, but Valley’s boss does have a number of other attacking options available to him, with Dylan Parker, Edwin Ahenkorah and Madundo Semahimbo all named on the bench at Coventry.

The Hinckley game marks the first of six Saturday Butlin Road fixtures in the next seven weeks, with the subsequent one of these on January 15 seeing Eastern Counties League outfit Lakenheath visit in the last 32 of the FA Vase.