Kidsgrove away and Carlton at home
Rugby Town will have two chances to register their first league victory of the season over the Bank Holiday weekend, as they return to NPL action following their FA Cup success last Saturday.
Valley edged past Midland Football League opponents Bromsgrove Sporting in the Preliminary Round at Butlin Road thanks to a late David Kolodynski goal, to set up another home tie in the next stage of the competition, when NPL Premier Division Corby will be the visitors.
Having seen his side drop points to added-time goals in their opening two league games against Gresley and Stamford, new Town boss James Jepson was understandably happy to see the situation reversed last weekend.
He said: “We’ve had people say we didn’t play well against Bromsgrove, but you have to remember that we were up against a side that have in the most part been together for three or four seasons and done well in that time, whilst this was only our third competitive game as a unit.
“I accept it was a disappointing performance though, but the important thing is that we took our chance when it came along, and got the victory to make it into the next round.”
Reflecting back on the start of the league campaign which saw Town end up with just a single point after leading in both fixtures, Jepson continued: “We could easily be sitting here with six points, so in that respect I am disappointed, but I have also taken a number of positives from the performances and hopefully we can learn from the experience.”
Next-up for Jepson’s side is a trip to Kidsgrove this Saturday, where Valley will face another side without a league win to-date after back-to-back defeats against Belper and Witton in their opening two games.
This Saturday’s hosts were also back to winning ways last weekend in the FA Cup though, securing their First Qualifying Round berth after a 2-0 home success over Lye Town.
The Staffordshire club finished in 15th place in 2015/16, with both games between the two sides ending all-square – after Town followed up on a 3-3 draw with a 1-1 result at the Novus Stadium in February.
Bank Holiday Monday (29th) afternoon sees the visit to Butlin Road of Carlton – another side yet to taste NPL victory, following a 3-3 home draw to Loughborough and a 2-0 defeat at Spalding. There was no joy for the Nottingham-based club in the FA Cup either, after a 2-1 defeat at fellow NPL South Division side Lincoln United.
Jepson’s squad was bolstered by the arrival of striker Darryl Thomas from Loughborough over the last week, with the much-travelled 30 year old – who also lists Ilkeston, Belper and Matlock amongst his former clubs - making his Rugby debut as a second half substitute against Bromsgrove.
# The coach to Kidsgrove will leave Butlin Road at 11.15 am on Saturday. For latest information contact Tony Mann on 07970 691366, whilst Monday’s home game against Carlton will kick-off at 3.00 pm as usual.