Not too much damage from last gasp defeat at Shaw Lane
Rugby Town kept hold of their eighth place in the Evostik NPL South Division table despite their last gasp defeat at title chasing Shaw Lane at the weekend.
The 3-2 reverse was only Valley’s second in fifteen league outings, but with 6th and 7th placed Chasetown and Leek playing out a draw, the damage to their outside chance of a play-off spot was only minor – with Lincoln (in 5th) also losing at Market Drayton.
Town are now three points adrift of the two teams immediately above them – with Leek also returning empty-handed from an away game at Shaw Lane on Tuesday evening, whilst the win for Market Drayton saw them pull level with Rugby on 51 points.
A further point back are Romulus in 10th, and Valley visit the West Midlands club on Good Friday (7.45 p.m. kick-off) in the first of their two Easter fixtures.
The Roms play their home games on Sutton Coldfield’s Coles Lane artificial pitch, and the only previous meeting between the two sides at the ground saw a Warwick Alexander penalty settle a Birmingham Senior Cup tie in favour of a Martin Sockett-managed Rugby in 2010.
Romulus will be looking to complete the double over Town though, after they brushed them aside 2-0 at Butlin Road near the start of September in what turned out to be Gary Mills’ last game in the hot seat.
One-time Rugby player Luke Keen was on-target for the visitors that evening, and the striker – who has had two spells at the club – is currently in second place in the division’s scoring chart with 21 league goals to-date.
Keen is two ahead of David Kolodynski, who has slipped back to 5th in the rankings, although the Valley man was back on-target in the weekend defeat in Yorkshire with an well-taken header.
Rugby complete their Easter schedule with a home game against local rivals Daventry on Easter Monday (3 p.m. kick-off), with the Northamptonshire club now fully embroiled in a battle for survival after last Saturday’s home defeat to another relegation-threatened team Goole meant it was now thirteen straight defeats for the Purple Army.
That woeful run was kicked-off by the Boxing Day defeat at the hands of Town, when doubles from Tom Ryan and Kolodynski finally ended Rugby’s dismal record at Communications Park.
Following their weekend loss, Daventry are now just one point clear of Goole and two ahead of Loughborough – who currently occupy the final spot in the relegation zone, and their manager Darren Foster must see out their remaining seven games with a playing squad depleted by budget cutbacks.
They have conceded 43 goals in that extended 13 match blank return, and three of Foster’s current line-up – Melanius Malarkey, Sam Woods and Jetmir Esso – have all featured in a Rugby shirt at some point this season.
Dale Belford should have a fully fit and available squad to select from for the two games over the Easter weekend, and he may be tempted to restore Jonathon Thorpe to his opening line-up, after the ex-Cambridge United man started the last two games on the bench, as he eases his way back to full match fitness after a long spell out with a cruciate ligament injury.
# The club coach today (Friday) will leave Butlin Road at 5.15pm. For latest information on this contact Tony Mann on 07970 691366.