Basford edged out at Rugby
By Neil McGowan
A highly contentious penalty saw Basford United slip to a 1-0 defeat at Rugby Town.
Rob Darkin was harshly adjudged to have fouled Kevin Thornton as the players tussled in the 37th minute. Thornton then beat Jake Wood from the spot.
It was hard on the young Basford keeper who kept his side in the game with a string of fine saves as the home side surged foward with the strong wind at their backs.
There was just one change from the side that lost to Carlton on Saturday, Rhys Myers coming in for the injured Dion Meikle. Jheryl Pickbourne was on the bench with Saul Deeney and Eugen Bopp still unavailable.
In a frantic opening both sides had chances. Blair Anderson shot over from a well worked opening on the left, and the strength of the wind was shown by home keeper Sam Andrew, who held Billy Bennett's corner then sent his wind assisted kick the full length of the pitch to Jake Wood.
Rugby dominated, coming forward with power and pace. Jake Wood saved from a jinking run by Kurtis Revan and followed up with top drawer saves from David Kolodynski and Revan again. When his kick out was blocked by Thornton, Wood recovered to pull off a fine save at Thornton's feet as he prepared to fire into goal.
As the half hour approached, the pace slackened and Basford came more into the game. Ash Grayson sent a shot across goal with no one able to apply the finishing touch. Kyle Dixon and captain Ruben Wiggins-Thomas were linking well together and they combined for Wiggins-Thomas to shoot over.
Two minutes from half time Wiggins-Thomas was just unable to get on the end of a ball from Rob Darkin and then then Grayson met Billy Bennett's free kick with a firm header that was well held by Andrew. On the stroke of half time Wood pulled off yet another save, this time from Kolodynski who looked odds on to score.
The free kick was Bennett's last contribution as he sufferrred a recurrence of an injury and was replaced by Courey Granthem at half time, with Fabian Smith dropping to full back and Grantham out on the left.
With Dixon prompting and Grantham lively on the left, the Basford side took the game to Rugby in the second half. Anderson shot wide and Grantham and Dixon had efforts blocked. Wiggins-Thomas was stopped by several marginal offside decisions and the vocal home crowd grew increasingly anxious.
However for all the pressure Andrew was never really teated, the closest being a couple of teasing Anderson corners that beat everyone before just passing the wrong side of the post.
A series of corners came to nothing, with Jake Wood even going up with the forwards in a last gast attempt at a leveller.
Assistant mansger Mark Clarke commented:
"We worked very hard today but just did not get the rub of the green. We could have easily gained a point or maybe more but things did not fall kindly for us. Rugby also worked very hard and made things difficult for us."