Stringer hoping for better weather after last week’s friendly was abandoned in the torrential rain
Rugby Town boss Dave Stringer will be hoping for better luck with his next pre-season friendly this weekend against Brackley, after the last one against Tamworth had to be abandoned ten minutes into the second half.
A torrential storm struck Butlin Road shortly after four o’clock on Saturday, leading to the match referee removing the players from the field for their own safety – initially for a temporary period of ten minutes.
However, with the conditions showing no signs of improvement, the decision was made to call off the game completely – with the Conference North visitors one goal to the good at the time.
The early halt to proceedings meant that Stringer was unable to see potential new signing James Jepson in action, although he did subsequently get a run-out in the practice game on the Butlin Road astroturf against Lutterworth on Tuesday evening.
Jepson featured for Kettering last season, and looked set to switch to Daventry for the new campaign.
However, after playing a couple of pre-season games for Valley’s local rivals, it now appears the defensive midfielder has had a change of heart and is seeking pastures new.
The only goal of Saturday’s ultimately aborted affair had come halfway through the first period, when one of Dale Belford’s unnamed triallists guided the ball into the net from close range after a corner from the left.
Ahead of the goal, stand-in Town keeper Phil Smith – borrowed from the Lambs in the absence of Joe Mellings – had been a busy man, denying his normal team-mates on a number of occasions – including a particularly impressive one-handed save to deny Daniel Sleath. Smith pulled off another excellent stop to a further long range effort from Sleath just after the goal, but Rugby had chances of their own too – with Sam Youngs sending a good shot just wide of the target and Jamie Towers going frustratingly close to an equaliser when he squeezed the ball from a tight angle against the base of the post.
The hosts arguably edged affairs after the restart, and a Seb Lake-Gaskin curling effort was saved well by James Belshaw, before the skies darkened over and the forecasted heavy rain arrived in abundance.
Rugby: Smith, Kelly, Fox, Simpson, Gudger, Youngs, Towers, Blythe, Kolodynski, Lake-Gaskin, Marsden.
Tamworth: Belshaw, Green, Pursehouse, Townsend, Preston, Taylor, Adams, Jackson, Simmonds, Clarke, Sleath.
This Saturday’s visitors Brackley had a decent season in the Conference North last time out, recording a seventh place finish, after having just missed out on promotion to the Conference National in 2012/13 in the play-off final.
Valley played well in a 1-0 friendly win over the Saints a year ago though, with a good strike Greg Kaziboni settling the game.
Kaziboni left Rugby to sign for Brackley shortly after the game, but returned to Butlin Road later in the season to make 20 starts for the club. The winger was reported to have re-joined the Northamptonshire club again in the summer.