One step closer
A SUPERB crowd of 394 turned up in the wind and rain to cheer on their heroes at Newark Flowserve, and it was local hero Danny Meadows who supplied two of the goals as The Highwaymen took a step closer to Wembley.
Greg Smith took his tally to four in three games since his arrival from Grantham as the former winners were dumped out of the FA Vase after a comfortable 3-0 victory for the men in orange.
Visitors Rugby Town are the second successive step five side that Flowserve have eliminated from the national competition, and now all at Lowfields await Monday’s Third Round draw with eager anticipation.
The Highwaymen welcomed back Jack Andrews at left-back as the only change to their midweek line-up, with Jack Beckett in the starting XI after suffering a head injury in the game at Gresley.
The game was as good as won in a two-goal first half, with Greg Smith’s towering header opening the account for the hosts. Right-back James Craig shaped to launch one of his trademark long throws upfield, but instead floated the ball back to skipper Tom Potts who pumped a diagonal cross to the far post where Smith connected powerfully with his head to place the ball back across the keeper into the far corner.
Rugby’s response was immediate, with Justin Marsden striking the foot of the near post after some trickery on the right hand side of the box, and then Jack Beckett forced to clear off his own line after a firm header from Liam Francis following a corner from the right.
But in the 17th minute a winning margin was opened up when Meadows hit the first of his brace with a solid side-foot with his right boot after the ball had been worked across the box from the left.
Joe Searson, the ever-present former Notts County keeper, kept his side in the game with two splendid saves. Firstly he dived sharply to his right to push round a sharp shot from Ryan Seal, and then a replica save parried a well-struck effort from Charlie Evans, and the impressive Potts was on hand to clear his lines.
The first goal in the second period was going to define the remainder of the match. If Rugby had scored first it would have meant a squeaky bum finish, but it was Meadows who got the goal that eased any remaining nerves when he forced home the ball amid a cluster of players following Kyle Dixon’s 68th minute corner from the left.
Searson capped an excellent performance with a great save with his feet from Rugby sub Lewis Padmore in the last minute, but by that time the fat lady had long since cleared her throat.
Newark Flowserve: 1 Joe Searson; 2 James Craig; 3 Jack Andrews; 4 Tom Potts (captain); 5 Mitch Robinson; 6 Jack Beckett; 7 Danny Meadows; 8 Kyle Dixon; 9 Ben Hutchinson; 10 Greg Smith; 11 Jamie Turner.