Referee stops game after series of heated and aggressive exchanges
Rugby Town’s week of cup activity turned out to be an eventful experience, with Saturday’s FA Vase extra-time victory over Harrowby followed by the mid-game abandonment of Tuesday evening’s MFL League Cup tie against Coventry Copsewood.
Referee Darren Laska decided that the local derby could not restart again after a series of heated and aggressive exchanges involving the majority of players from both sides - in addition to a number of others from the Copsewood bench, who rushed across from the touchline to join in the melee.
The unsavoury and chaotic incident occurred after Town’s David Kolodynski and Ben Ashby had both been on the end of particularly heavy challenges within a couple of minutes, with Kolodynski taken straight off to hospital for treatment to a deep gash to his leg. Kolodynski had given Valley the lead after just a minute of play by heading home Chadd Birch’s cross in the shortened encounter, and Birch was then one of at least two players who appeared to receive red cards from Laska for their part in the scuffles, with Coventry full-back George Whitelaw also seemingly dismissed.
Pending the match officials’ reports, both clubs face the possibility of an FA charge for their part in the events leading up to the abandonment – with a decision also to follow from the league as to how the cup fixture should then be settled.
Saturday’s Vase First Round Proper tie also had its fair share of incident, with Rugby unable to finish off the Lincolnshire visitors in normal time – missing a penalty as well as a number of other decent opportunities in the process.
A second Town spot-kick in the 105th minute was successfully converted by Fabian Smith though, before Tevin Shakespeare scored the hosts’ second to earn them a trip to either NCEL Premier Staveley Miners Welfare or West Midlands Regional League Wolverhampton Sporting in the next round of the competition. The two sides were playing last night (Wednesday) to determine the venue for the game on Saturday, November 11.
Rugby return to league action this Saturday with a tough trip to one of the MFL Premier Division’s early frontrunners Bromsgrove Sporting. Sporting are now the premier club in the Worcestershire town followed the dissolution of Bromsgrove Rovers seven years ago and they play at Rovers’ old Victoria Ground, which Town last visited in December 2007 when Billy Jeffrey’s side suffered a heavy 4-0 defeat to Rovers.
Saturday’s hosts currently sit in second position in the table – a point behind leaders Coleshill, although both of the top two were unexpectedly on the end of league defeats last weekend.
Town’s cup commitments saw them slip a place in the rankings to eleventh, and Valley boss Dave Stringer will be keen to ensure that the gap between his side and Bromsgrove – which is currently 13 points – is not extended further.
Kolodynski must be considered a major doubt for the important game following his injury on Tuesday evening, although Stringer had added to his striker options prior to this with the acquisition of ex-Nuneaton man Jack Nardiello.
Rugby face further cup action next Tuesday (31st) with a trip to AFC Wulfrunians in the First Round of the Birmingham Senior Cup, where they will face a side that beat them in the MFL just over two weeks previously.
A Nick Turton double earnt the Wulfs a 2-1 Butlin Road on the day, and the West Wolverhampton club are currently in seventh in Town’s division.
# The coach to Bromsgrove will leave the clubhouse at 12 mid-day on Saturday, with the Tuesday evening one to Wulfrunians set to depart at 5pm. For latest information, contact Tony Mann on 07970 691366.