Boss Belford taking positives from Tividale draw
Rugby Town boss Dale Belford was still able to focus on the positives after seeing his side denied a win against bottom placed Tividale last weekend.
For the third game running Valley finished the game against a team a man light, and they again seem to drift a little once handed this advantage.
In the first of these occasions, Town just managed to grab a leveller against a Newcastle side with a stand-in keeper.
Then two weeks ago they fortunately already had a three-goal advantage against Loughborough ahead of their red card, which saw a loss of momentum, but this time round their lowly opponents responded superbly to a sending-off to equalise a trademark acrobatic David Kolodynski opener.
Belford though was pragmatic about the dropped points: “It was just one of those days, and with just a slice of luck in that last half an hour or so when we had all the play, we could have grabbed a winner.
“Of course the lads were disappointed when they got back to the dressing room after the game, but I told them to remember that back in October when we drew in the cup at Brackley, Tividale won that day in the league to send us bottom and go two points ahead of us too.
“Now just three months or so on, we are 21 points clear of them and we have a totally different perspective on things, so they should be very proud of their achievements.”
Rugby visit Belper this Saturday, starting a run of four away matches in the next five outings for Belford’s side, although the Valley manager has no fears of an extended road trip.
He said: “We have a pretty good away record of late, aside from a defeat at Stafford back in October, and I truly believe that we can give anyone a game - wherever and whoever we play.
“The atmosphere in the dressing room is great at the moment, and rightly so as our performances have been excellent – especially over that crucial Christmas and New Year period.”
Having started the season with five straight losses on the road, Town have gone on to suffer just one reverse in the subsequent six away games – including victories at Carlton, Goole and Daventry.
The home fixture between the two sides in August ended in a 0-0 stalemate, after the Derbyshire club were relegated down into the NPL South Division in the summer.
Belper’s start to the new campaign was generally a disappointing one, although - like Town - they have picked up a little of late and sit one place and one point beneath Rugby, but they did end a three match winning streak last weekend with a 3-2 defeat against Coalville.
Rugby have slipped one place to 13th following a midweek win for Stocksbridge, although the gap between Valley and the play-off zone is still only six points.
Belford has added midfielder Jonathon Thorpe to his squad, with the ex-Cambridge United and Kettering man in the process of making a return to the game after nearly a year out with a knee injury.
Belford commented: “I had Jonathon with me for a while on loan at Tamworth so I know what he is capable of, but he’s not played for a while so we are going to take it nice and steady, and ease him in when he is ready.”
# The club coach to Belper will leave Butlin Road at 11.15am.