Leaders prove too strong for Town

By Jamie Arrowsmith 14/03 Updated: 19/03 12:55

Buy photos » Gary Moran makes good ground against St. Neots. Picture by Martin Pulley.

Rugby Town 2 St. Neots Town 4

Southern League Division One Central

A VALIANT Rugby performance against the league leaders but clinical finishing turned out to be key in an entertaining encounter on Tuesday night.

Had Valley taken their chances though, especially in the second quarter of the game, then the final outcome could have been totally different.

The visitors could easily have been 2-0 ahead within the opening three minutes as Lewis Hillard headed over after just 30 seconds and then Hillard saw his shot well saved by the legs of Dave Bevan.

The next big chance of the game fell to Rugby when Tyrone Fagan found space in the box but could only strike his effort at the body of Saints’ keeper Michael Duggan.

St. Neots took the lead shortly after when Stefan Moore got in behind the hosts’ defence to calmly finish through Bevan’s legs.

Rugby responded well as Fagan fired into the side netting, Ed Booth headed inches wide and Seb Hamilton also found the outside of the net with his effort after he rounded Duggan at an acute angle.

The deserved equaliser came with a minute of the half remaining when Hamilton rammed the ball home from close range after Richie Allen’s corner had initially been headed towards goal by Booth.

Saints came at Valley hard after the restart. Dan Jacob struck the bar with a viciously swerving effort from 20-yards before Bevan pulled off a fine one-handed save from the same player.

The pressure paid off when Miller was adjudged to have fouled Adrian Sear in the box and Moore stepped up to stroke home a 52nd minute penalty.

It was soon three, with Moore completing a hat-trick with a simple finish after Hillard’s powerful shot had banged back off the post, and the game then looked dead and buried for Rugby after 67 minutes when Jacob slid in at the far post to help in Lewis Webb’s cross.

Valley were far from finished as Allen’s high free kick into the box was touched onto the bar and and Fagan volleyed over the frame too.

Another Allen lofted set-piece caused more havoc in the 71st minute and this time Hamilton was on hand to finish again from close range.

Hamilton and Fagan both had further opportunities before Richard Blythe somehow managed to drag his effort against the base of the post with the whole goal to aim at.

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