By Jamie Arrowsmith 31/07 Updated: 01/08 12:12
RUGBY Town produced an encouraging performance to defeat higher level opponents Banbury United 4-1 in a pre-season friendly at Butlin Road on Saturday.
Valley boss Dave Stringer gave starts to two triallists, central defender Jordan Fincher and midfielder Charlie Connor, before taking a first look at two further players in the shape of full back Alex Gudger and centre half Mark Morris in the second half. There were also appearances from the bench for Josh Ruff and Nic Evangelinos - both of whom had previously impressed in the midweek victory at Heather St Johns.
The hosts took a while to get going with as Banbury dominated the early exchanges and United striker Ricky Johnson had already struck the bar before Martin Hutchcox curled his free kick past Dave Bevan on eight minutes to open the scoring.
Rugby’s response was rapid though when just two minutes later Michael Williams broke down the right before slipping the ball inside to Seb Lake-Gaskin and his low finish gave him his fourth goal of the warm-up campaign.
Town went ahead a further two minutes on following a fluid passage of play which culminated with Seb Hamilton picking out Williams with a great first time cross, and the winger applying another clinical low strike.
The visitors responded well, and Bevan pulled off a good reaction save, after Ade Talabi had got in behind the Valley defence. Johnson also volleyed wide as Banbury looked for an equaliser.
Four minutes ahead of the interval, Town extended their lead when after another neat interchange between Lake-Gaskin and Hamilton saw the latter crisply shoot home from the edge of the box.
The second period was far less eventful, although Rugby again looked the superior outfit - with both sides making a number of changes to their personnel throughout the half.
Lake-Gaskin's cross flashed across the face of the goalmouth and Evangelinos showed a nice touch before putting another ball into the box which narrowly missed the target. At the other end, Leam Howards went close with a volley.
Valley rounded off the scoring with five minutes left when Ruff released Alex Austin and he crossed for Evangelinos to score a first senior goal for the club.
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