RUGBY TOWN: FA Trophy time

Andrew Spencer in the FA Cup win over Blaby & Whetstone
Andrew Spencer in the FA Cup win over Blaby & Whetstone
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Hopes high after two great cup wins this week

As always at this time of a season, games continue to come thick and fast for Rugby Town after they recorded back-to-back FA Cup and Birmingham Senior Cup successes.

Their 6-0 cruise at Blaby last weekend secured an away tie against Conference North Worcester City in the Third Qualifying Round of the nation’s favourite knock-out competition a week Saturday (12th).

City – who currently share Kidderminster’s Aggborough Stadium – beat Coventry Sphinx in their tie, representing only their second victory in eleven competitive matches this season.

Despite this poor start, it will still be a tough ask for Dave Stringer’s side to reach the final qualifying round for the first time since 1994 against a team two levels above them in the non-league pyramid.

First Valley must turn their attentions to the FA Trophy this Saturday though, travelling to Chasetown in its Preliminary Round.

It is the first time they have faced the Scholars since 1997, with a solitary Ross Wilson goal seeing Rugby progress in the F.A.Cup back then.

The Staffordshire club play at the same level as Town in the NPL, and include the much-travelled Avun Jephcott amongst their numbers. Jephcott had three separate spells at Butlin Road under three different managers.

They consolidated their mid-table position in the midweek home draw against Sutton Coldfield, at the same time as Valley came out on top after a penalty shoot-out against Redditch in the Birmingham Senior Cup.

Stringer will be hoping his players are refreshed following Tuesday evening’s extended events, and he should welcome back Richard Blythe into Saturday’s squad.

He will continue to be without the injured Sam Belcher and also Louis Harris – whose loan deal from Tamworth stipulates he cannot play in cup competitions. Lewis McBride is another likely to miss out through work commitments, with Stringer hoping to introduce a new face by the weekend.

# Town are due back in league action next Tuesday, with Aylesbury the scheduled Butlin Road visitors.

Rugby have the edge over the Moles with four victories in the six fixtures between the two clubs following the Buckinghamshire side’s promotion from the South Midlands League in 2010.

This included the double last time out, with a 3-0 home success thanks to a David Kolodynski hat-trick.

Kolodynski’s weekend brace at Blaby leaves him only two short of a century of club goals in all competitions, and also just one adrift of Robbie Beard’s Southern League record goal tally.

# Town slipped one place to fourth in the Calor Central Division, following Dunstable’s 3-1 midweek win over Daventry – which also ended the table toppers’ 100% start to the season.

# The coach to Chasetown will leave the clubhouse at 11.45 a.m. If a replay is required, then this will take precedence over the Aylesbury game on Tuesday evening – likewise if Aylesbury draw their Trophy game at VCD Athletic.

# Rugby’s postponed away games at Beaconsfield and Royston have now been rearranged for Monday 28th October and Tuesday 19th November respectively.