The fate of Rugby Town’s season may well be determined in the coming week, with the main focus being on next Tuesday’s trip to fellow high fliers Burnham, writes Jon Venner
The Burnham match-up forms the tasty filling of a sandwich of three games in just five days for Valley, with an away game at Fleet to navigated first this weekend and then the visit of Slough to Butlin Road next Thursday rounding off the treble.
Town continued their recent invincible form with a 5-0 success against Leighton last Saturday – a result which lifted them to the top of the table above their Berkshire rivals on goal difference.
However with Burnham also due to visit Fleet tonight and then face whipping-boys Woodford on Saturday, it is likely that roles will be reversed again when the two sides kick-off at the Gore.
Third-placed Godalming are still in contention after a narrow victory at Thatcham on Monday, and assuming they triumphed again on Wednesday against Leighton, they would be just two points behind Rugby – with Biggleswade, Beaconsfield, Royston and possibly Slough left to fight out the two remaining play-off places.
Valley’s clean sheet at the weekend made it eight in a row for keeper Dave Bevan – beating the previous club best set by Mick Martin in 1990, and Bevan and his defence will need to be on their best form to snuff out the threat of a Burnham side who have lost only four league games all season.
Spearheaded by the prolific Ryan Bird, Burnham are on a 17-match unbeaten run and they will be looking to complete the double over Town – after Dave Stringer’s side put in a rare unconvincing home performance in a 3-2 defeat at the beginning of November. Bird is currently four ahead of Rugby’s own ace marksman David Kolodynski in the Southern League scoring charts, with 37 in total – including ten from the penalty spot.
Saturday’s opponents Fleet have gone seven games without a win, as part of a struggling campaign which sees them in 17th position in the table.
l Saturday’s coach to Fleet will leave the clubhouse at 11am and Tuesday evening’s at 4.30pm. There is limited availability on both, and anyone interested in securing a place must first speak to Tony Mann on 07970 691366.
The coach to Chalfont for the final game of the season is now full. If there is sufficient demand, a second coach will be arranged. Please also contact Tony Mann to register interest in this.