By Jamie Arrowsmith 29/02 Updated: 07/03 12:49
Biggleswade Town 0 Rugby Town 1
Southern League Division One Central
LUKE Keen’s penalty settled a generally dour encounter at the Carlsberg Stadium on Tuesday night to give Rugby a second vital win over a play-off rival in quick succession.
In a game of few chances, Dave Stringer’s side put in a determined and controlled performance to reduce the gap between them and Biggleswade to just a point.
Both teams struggled to get any real control in the opening period, with a particularly greasy playing surface not helping their respective causes.
Keen put in a couple of speculative efforts early on but neither troubled Waders’ keeper Anthony Elder.
For the hosts, Steve Gentle shot wide with arguably the best chance of the half and Craig Rydeheard also had an opportunity to break the deadlock after Luke Leahy’s defensive error - but his touch let him down when through on goal and Dave Bevan was able to gather the ball comfortably.
A Michael Williams run which ended with a 20-yard shot squirting narrowly past the target was the closest the visitors came to scoring before the interval.
The game’s crucial moment came two minutes after the restart when Keen was adjudged to have been pushed in the back after the ball had been floated in towards him in the penalty area and the striker stepped up to send Elder the wrong way from the spot.
From then on in, the home side became increasingly more and more direct in their attempts to get back on level terms.
Valley were rarely troubled defensively though with Ross Miller and Ed Booth forming a steadfast partnership in the centre of defence and Bevan comfortably coping with the many high balls that were slung into the box.
In fact it was Rugby who came closest to striking again with Richie Allen heading at the keeper after he timed his run well to meet Richard Blythe’s pass whilst a couple of Allen corners also created confusion in Biggleswade’s defence.
Hamilton had a great chance to seal the game with five minutes left after Blythe had again created the opportunity, but the substitute was caught in two minds after he rounded Elder and his ultimate effort was cleared by a defender.
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