First Team vs. Rugby Town (3 : 2)
Evo-Stik League First Division South
Sheffield continued their rich vein of form on Saturday, writes Stuart James, as they extended their unbeaten run to ten with a 3-2 win at resurgent basement side Rugby Town.
In a game that mirrored the reverse fixture in many ways (except the last quarter), Club raced into a two-goal lead with a goal apiece from Alec Denton and Connor Hall, before Valley pulled one back from the spot from Aaron Moses-Garvey minutes from the break.
The script for Rugby’s revenge was continued word-for-word, when David Kolodynski grabbed his now customary goal against Sheffield, however a second Alec Denton goal tore up the manuscript with the winner in the 72nd minute.
Rugby had started this contest on the back of three straight wins, and without conceding a goal, looking a far more dangerous prospect than the table suggested. It was the hosts that made all the early running and when Kolodynski headed Moses-Garvey’s corner inches wide, followed shortly by a Chris Stirling drive that wasn’t too far away, it looked as if manager James Colliver’s pre-match warning would be justified.
Club though put the home side to the sword on 14 minutes, when James Gregory bustled his way through the defence, before tickling a little ball through to HALL who made no mistake on his last appearance with the World’s First.
The lead was doubled on 25 minutes, after some typical harrying midfield play from Pat Lindley won the ball back for the visitors in the middle of the park, setting up DENTON to smash the ball home from the edge of the area.
Rugby were now looking rather shell-shocked, finding a constant barrage from Club very difficult to say the least, and the visitors could find themselves unfortunate not to have extended their lead.
Connor Hall was denied by an excellent fingertip save from Dan Jezeph, whilst Hall and Lindley combined to set up Denton with a great chance moments after, followed by Sam Finlaw teeing up Denton – both efforts ending just wide of the post.
It took a moment of controversy to bring Town back into the game three minutes before the break, as Kolodynski went to ground after falling over the prone Damian Magee in the area, and after a discussion between referee Pratt and his assistant, MOSES-GARVEY slammed home the spot kick.
The hosts came out of the interval with all guns blazing, and within three minutes they were level following Gary Moran’s cross to the back post, where a generous defence allowed KOLODYNSKI to get a head on the ball to steer beyond Chris Butt.
If anything, the equaliser woke Sheffield up and they should have retaken the lead on 70 minutes, when the ball fell kindly to Pat Lindley in a goalmouth mêlée, with the midfielder stretching to hook the ball over the bar – injuring himself in the process.
That lead did come seconds after Lindley’s departure from the field, as Rugby were caught napping as Hall won another midfield header, before setting DENTON on a run which ended with a superb drive from the edge of the box.
Hall had the chance to wrap things up for the visitors, as he found himself bearing down on goal with just Jezeph to beat; having beaten the keeper the ball trickled wide.
The game ended with an all-out bombardment from Rugby, with Kolodynski and Moses-Garvey combining once again, with the number 11 lashing his effort just off target.
There was almost a dramatic equaliser in injury time, with Sheffield easing time out to the finish home substitute Charlie Faulkner released a thunderbolt from just inside the box, beating Butt but rattling the underside crossbar – the ball bouncing down… but safe, and with it the points returned north to S18.
Rugby Town: Jezeph, Moran, Hudson, Halsall ©, Rowley, Punter, Sterling, Hadland, Kolodynski, Campbell, Moses-Garvey. Subs: Palmer, Charles, Faulkner, Holloway, Thomson.
Sheffield FC: Butt, Turner, Rose, Linsley, Cooksey ©, Magee, Roney, Finlaw, Hall, Denton, Gregory. Subs: Johnson, Royles, Goodwin, Hamid, Treasure.