RUGBY TOWN: Back in seventh spot after midweek success

Josh Ruff is tripped for a penalty against Heanor PICTURES BY MARTIN PULLEY
Josh Ruff is tripped for a penalty against Heanor PICTURES BY MARTIN PULLEY

Valley hosting Quorn on Saturday

After last week’s cold snap had accounted for two of their fixtures, Rugby Town made a long overdue return to winning ways with a 4-1 victory over Heanor at Butlin Road on Tuesday evening.

Ben Ashby shoots in Tuesday's 4-1 win

Ben Ashby shoots in Tuesday's 4-1 win

Last Wednesday’s short trip to Coventry United and the weekend’s game at Stourport were both victims of the influx of snow and freezing temperatures around the country, but the subsequent climatic turnaround then gave Valley a midweek opportunity to end their run of four defeats on the bounce.

The win saw them return to seventh place in the MFL Premier Division – leapfrogging back over Tuesday’s losers Heanor, who had performed a similar feat after the last set of fixtures were played out.

Town are at home again this weekend, when Quorn visit in search of a quickfire double over Dave Stringer’s men – after the Leicestershire club came out on top by a 3-2 margin three weeks previously.

A late George Bowerman strike earnt the hosts the three points that day at Sutton Park, after Ruben Wiggins-Thomas had bagged a pair to overturn an earlier goal by Bowerman.

Quorn have had an inconsistent campaign to-date and currently sit in 15th in the table still headed by Bromsgrove – who enjoy a three-point lead over Coleshill, with third place Sporting Khalsa a further four points adrift.

Stringer should have Sam Lockley and Stuart Hendrie back in the fold for Saturday, after Lockley served his one match ban on Tuesday for his red card at Highgate, whilst Hendrie joined midfielder Harry Holloway in the unavailable category.

Mason Rowley was once more an unused substitute for the midweek success, as he continues his rehabilitation from a broken leg back in September.

The popular centre-half will provide much-needed defensive cover for Stringer in the run-in now that Brad Harris has been released from his contract.

The one-time Valley youth player returned to Butlin Road at the start of the season after a nine year absence, however injury, a suspension and the form of another ex-youth team graduate Sean Castleton had restricted Harris to just eight league starts in his second spell at the club.

Recent signing John Mills made his first appearance in a Valley shirt against Heanor, with the 18 year old midfielder joining the action from the bench for the last few minutes. Mills arrived from MFL Division Two Montpelier – having made eleven starts for the club that also supplied Stringer with Hendrie and Conor Wright in December.

After the Quorn home game, Town then face four of the subsequent five on the road – starting with a trip to promotion chasing Coleshill next Saturday (17th). This is followed by the rearranged match at Stourport the following Thursday (22nd), before Valley’s only remaining March home fixture against Westfields two days later. They then end the month with trips to Shawbury and Coventry Sphinx.

The now twice-postponed Coventry United has also been hastily rescheduled, with Wednesday 4th April the new planned date for Rugby’s second visit of the season to the Butts Park Arena.