RUGBY TOWN: Chertsey visitors on Saturday

Alex Gudger in the Guildford game
Alex Gudger in the Guildford game

Rugby Town lost their place at the top of the Southern League Central Division after recording a brace of defeats over the past week.

Town slipped to fourth after their twelve game unbeaten run ended with 2-1 and 1-0 defeats at Guildford and Biggleswade respectively.

They will count themselves unlucky to have returned from their travels with nothing to show for a couple of spirited, capable displays – despite being reduced to ten men on both occasions.Keeper Dave Bevan saw red at Guildford at the weekend and midfielder Sam Belcher suffered the same fate three days on against the Waders, and now Valley boss Dave Stringer must lift his side ahead this Saturday’s home fixture with struggling Chertsey.

It is still tight at the top however, with just a single point separating new leaders Biggleswade from fifth placed Royston, although Rugby have played more games than all three teams currently ahead of them.Tuesday evening was the first game in 22 that Town had failed to hit the target, and only their second blank return of the league campaign to-date.

Rugby’s 58 league goals is still an impressive overall return at this stage, especially considering the club has only surpassed this total nine times in a whole season in its previous 29 Southern League years.

Saturday’s visitors Chertsey have had a disappointing league campaign to-date – languishing in 20th with just one win from their eleven games on the road.The two sides drew the reverse fixture 1-1 earlier in the season, with David Kolodynski on target for Valley at Alwyns Lane.

# Two Town games recently postponed due to the weather have been re-arranged. Rugby will travel to Woodford on March 12th and they will host Beaconsfield on March 26th.

# Bevan and Belcher became the fourth and fifth players to be sent off in Town colours this season, following Ross Miller, Michael Williams and Steve Palmer’s dismissals in its first half. Bevan will consequently lose his ever-present record when Rugby travel to Royston on February 16th.

# Richard Blythe’s missed penalty which denied his side a late equaliser at Guildford was Rugby’s third miss from the spot this season. David Kolodynski and Sam Belcher have also both failed from twelve yards, although Belcher has twice been successful – as has Fazel Koriya once.

# Town’s defeat at Guildford last Saturday brought an end to an unbeaten run that had stretched back nearly three months to the away victory at Slough. It fell four games short of the club’s previous Southern League best of sixteen matches, which they have achieved twice in 1988/89 and 1993/94.