Derby clash is tough battle

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DAVENTRY Town’s prospects of avoiding relegation from the Southern League this season were improved on Saturday despite succumbing to two late goals in the derby encounter with Rugby Town at Butlin Road.

The Town could, and perhaps should, have shared the spoils in a closely-contested game which saw the home side take all three points after goals from Tyrone Fagan (92 minutes) and substitute Seb Hamilton (added time).

Hamilton’s effort coincided with bottom-of-the-table Marlow scoring a last-gasp equaliser at Fleet on a day when there became an increased likelihood of only three clubs being relegated from the Southern League this season.

As Daventry and Fleet currently boast 27 points compared to 19 for both Marlow and Wimborne Town and only nine for Stourport Swifts the axe could fall elsewhere.

In the short term though the Town need to start winning some of the five home games still to be played in March.

Signs of a late-season revival are lurking just under the surface despite being on the wrong end of a quickfire double by title favourites St.Neots and a 1-1 draw with promotion favourites Slough Town.

The visit to high-flying Rugby did nothing to change this perception.

Daventry had the better of the first-half exchanges inspired by new wing back Greg Kazaboni who has been released recently by Northampton Town.

He set up an early chance for the hard-working Adam Confue whose header flew inches wide.

Tom Berwick went close too against his old club with a wide-angled shot but late in the half penalty claims went unheeded for both handball and a possible foul on Berwick.

Rugby then came out all guns blazing in the second-half. Goalkeeper Joe Mellings brought off a fine reflex save from Richard Blythe who also blazed the ball over the bar as the Town were forced to defend in greater numbers before the breakthrough came in the 82nd minute.

Former Daventry goalkeeper David Bevan punched clear during a visitors’ attack.

Rugby broke quickly from defence to attack leading to Fagan steering home the opening goal from 10 yards range. Hamilton then added a second goal in stoppage time after a mistake by Jason Lee.

Rough justice it may have been but the fact remains that Daventry Town have failed to score in eight of their last 13 matches.

A target man up front to help out Berwick remains the number one priority.