Tom McGowan and Jordan Orosz were missing through illness and a leg injury respectively. Ross Harris and Dean Lukeman returned to the starting line up.
Also missing from the touchline was manager Arron Parkinson, with the FA charges relating to the Grantham Town FA Cup match. which were finally imposed at the start of last week. Parkinson was given a 2 match stadium ban starting with the home match v Kirby Muxloe last Saturday. Despite the club’s best efforts to have this sanction put aside pending a possible appeal, the ban stood and Matt Finlay took charge of the team for both matches. Parkinson was also fined £150 and the club itself £250.
It was a large crowd of over 600 that attended what was described as the Step 5 Non-League Fixture of the Day by a ground-hopper.
With Rugby Town sitting 9 points behind Town but with 2 games in hand, a home win would close the gap to a theoretical 3 points. Something would have to give with the hosts unbeaten at home all season and Town unbeaten away and on the back of 7 successive away wins.
Town settled the better and had the first effort on goal with Taylor Orosz receiving the ball on left side of the box, cutting inside and the pacy striker curling a shot just wide of the far post.
The save of the match came in the 12th minute when a Kieran Fitzgerald shot took a final touch from Luke Emery but Matthew Hill made a superb stop low down to his right to claw the ball back from behind him.
Several free kicks in a good area gave Town an opportunity to test the keeper further however an Adam Confue header was the closest that Town came.
Rico Alexander had a good chance from an Adam Creaney corner but his effort went just wide.
Rugby Town started to impose themselves on the match after half an hour and Town fans had their hearts in the mouths as a ball broke kindly for a Rugby striker. Cerga was quick off his line to narrow the angle and the shot flashed across the front of the goal.
Cerga made a routine save from Rankin in the 38th minute as the hosts started to look the more likely team to break the deadlock.
Back came Town with a Taylor Orosz fierce effort deflected over the bar by the shoulder of a defender.
From the corner, captain Ross Harris headed home but the referee had already blown for a foul on the home keeper.
Town would be pleased with their efforts in the first half, with the bulk of the possession and on top for a large majority of the half.
HT: Rugby Town 0 Daventry Town 0
Dean Lukeman and Luke Emery combined well down the left flank before Emery’s shot curled away from the goal to safety.
Town were getting men in the box and a Taylor Orosz shot from the edge of the box was well held by Hill as 3 Town players were ready for a tap in if the ball was spilt.
Dean Lukeman was getting forward on the left wing more and more and his cross flashed straight across the front of the goal with no one able to get a final touch.
Town took the lead when joint top scorer Luke Emery got in front of his man and with his heels clipped as he closed down on goal, he went to ground. The referee took a moment to consider his decision before pointing to the spot. ADAM CREANEY converted his 12th penalty of the season to give Town the lead in the 67th minute.
Rugby Town were up against it moments later but their top scorer Danico Johnson lunged in on Taylor Orosz from behind. With the player clearly in a lot of pain all outfield players came together in front of the home dugout. After consulting with his assistants, the referee gave a second yellow to Dominic Perkins and a yellow to Adam Confue. Johnson was the luckiest as he received a yellow for the challenge that sparked it all.
Carl Adams was dismissed from the bench for something said to the officials as Rugby completely lost their discipline.
Greg Anayiotos came on for Kieran Fitzgerald and the young striker’s fresh legs immediately caused problems for the hosts.
With time now added on for the fracas and treatment for Taylor Orosz, Greg Anayiotos won the ball back as Rugby tried to clear their lines. He fed LUKE EMERY and the soon to be top scorer drew the keeper before rounding him and smashing the ball home to the delight of the visiting fans.
FT: Rugby Town 0 Daventry Town 2
Town now hold a 12-point lead at the top of the UCL Premier Division.
With Arron Parkinson’s stadium ban now complete, Town now travel to Kirby Muxloe for their final league fixture of 2018 on Saturday knowing that any slip ups will undo all the hard work put in today.
The club would again like to appeal for anyone who would to come forward and get involved in the club in any capacity. No offer of genuine help for the good of the club will be turned away.
|Rugby Town FC||Loss|
|December 26, 2018||3:00 pm||United Counties League||2019||90'|