Sleaford Town deny UCL title chasers Rugby with battling draw

Ryan Oliver grabbed his sixth Town goal in nine appearances this season EMN-190325-134823002
Ryan Oliver grabbed his sixth Town goal in nine appearances this season EMN-190325-134823002

Sleaford Town maintained their impressive end-of-season form as they took another point from a United Counties League title challenger on Saturday.

A week on from their 2-2 draw at Premier Division leaders Daventry, Town earned a one-all draw at home to third-placed Rugby Town last weekend.

The point was also notable for many keen-eyed Town fans as it took Sleaford to the same tally garnered for the whole of last season, with six matches still to play.

Rugby went into the break with a slender 1-0 lead after Simeon Tulloch pounced on an error to fire the visitors into a 32nd-minute lead.

“The first half barely contained a meaningful chance until a moment of indecision in our area caused us to fall behind,” said boss Jamie Shaw.

“While we hadn’t created anything too clear cut, we had looked threatening from set-pieces and Tom Siddons looked like he had the beating of the centre-halves in the air.

“Early in the second half we made the switch and put Ryan Oliver on to give us another attacking threat with a physical option.”

The move would prove an inspired one, but not before Town keeper Regan Start kept the hosts in the hunt as Rugby began to create more openings.

The resolve in defence would prove important when Siddons won another flick-on and Oliver raced clear to rifle home a great left-footed finish.

While Rugby carried the greater threat, Town still had opportunities to pinch the win as they earned their 36th point of an encouraging campaign.

While Oliver was named man-of-the-match, Shaw reserved some special praise for 17-year-old prospect Ewan Armstrong.

“Ewan has started the last three matches in the engine room and has looked to the manor born,” he said.

“There is no doubt he’s going to be a top player.”

Town remain safely in 14th and can test themselves once more on Saturday when Newport Pagnell head to Eslaforde Park for a 3pm kick-off.