THE SKY Blues continued their preparations for the 2016/17 season with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Rugby Town in what was the first fixture between the two local sides in over a decade.
Over 600 people watched the action on a sweltering evening at Butlin Road and although it was a Sky Blues team mainly made up of Under-21 players, the club’s new Senior Professional Development coach Nicky Eaden gave several first team players a runout.
Goalkeeper Reice Charles-Cook and striker Marcus Tudgay all started, while George Thomas, Kyle Spence, Cian Harris and Dion Kelly-Evans were also in the starting line-up.
Rugby looked up for the fight in the opening stages and they took an early lead when striker David Kolodynski, Rugby’s all-time leading goalscorer, robbed the ball off Harris inside the box and beat Charles-Cook with a low finish.
Thomas and Tudgay linked up well during the opening the opening period and the two combined on 17 minutes to set up Thomas but the young Wales striker saw his effort on goal superbly saved by Louis Connor in the Valley goal.
Three minutes later however the visitors were level thanks to the lively Kyle Spence who played a clever one-two with Jordan Shipley before firing low past Connor.
On 26 minutes Tudgay set up Thomas again but his well struck volley whistled just past the post before Charles-Cook was called into action to keep out Kolodynski’s header with the young City goalkeeper producing an excellent full stretch save.
Five minutes before the break Thomas bagged his brace after being slotted through on goal again and he beat the Connor again with a neat finish to put the Sky Blues 2-1 in front at the break.
In the second half chances were very few and far between, but the travelling City fans did get to see Vladimir Gadzhev, Ryan Haynes, Ruben Lameiras and Bilal Sayoud in action.
On 52 minutes Tudgay tested the impressive Connor from long range and Haynes made an impact down the left, but no other City player could get a touch to his dangerous cross in the 70th minute.
Rugby’s best chance of the half fell to Aron Wint but his shot is comfortably saved by young goalkeeper Corey Addai, who was introduced at the break.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF MARTIN PULLEY