RUGBY TOWN: Knocked off top spot with five games to go

Rugby Town have five games to play (picture by Martin Pulley)
Rugby Town have five games to play (picture by Martin Pulley)

At home to Chalfont St Peter on Saturday

Rugby Town host Chalfont St.Peter at Butlin Road this Saturday, on the back of what was a disappointing week all round for them.

Valley’s 2-1 reverse at Northwood last weekend was accompanied by victories elsewhere for the rest of the top five Dunstable, Daventry, Slough and Barton, writes Jon Venner.

Daventry and Barton then won again on Tuesday evening – as did 6th and 7th placed Kettering and Royston, meaning not only have Town been overtaken at the top by Dunstable, but the teams below them are now within touching distance ahead of the campaign run-in.

Tonight’s (Thursday) match-up between Slough and Barton will see one (or both) teams close-in further ahead of the weekend, with Daventry also in action at Egham.

The Northwood defeat completed a poor March for Dave Stringer’s side – especially on the road, where they could only muster a single victory from five away fixtures.

With only five games now remaining, Stringer will be hoping that their last month’s return of just nine points from the twenty-one on offer has not derailed their title hopes totally of course.

Saturday’s fixture is being kindly sponsored by the Rugby Town Junior Football Club, with a special admission deal on offer for its 500+ players, managers and coaches.

The opponents Chalfont are currently 14th in the Calor Central Division, with their weekend victory against bottom Ashford ending a run of six league games without a win.

Rugby have a perfect return against the Buckinghamshire side – with five victories out of five in the head-to-head record, including a 2-0 success in the reverse fixture at Mill Meadow - thanks to goals from Richard Blythe and David Kolodynski.

Valley will be without Greg Kaziboni on Saturday, with the winger starting his three-match ban for his recent sending off against Egham. Lewis McBride is also still unavailable, but Jamie Towers should be back in the squad after he missed the trip to Northwood.

Despite their recent inconsistency away from Butlin Road, Town’s home form has generally been good, with only one defeat (a last gasp one against Beaconsfield) in their last fifteen league outings there, and only two all season in the league.

Club Director Mike Yeats is hoping the presence of the junior club’s personnel provides an extra boost on Saturday.

He said: “We thank them for their contribution and also welcome their support, and look forward to continuing to develop close links between us.

“We already have one player in David Kolodynski, who has progressed through the junior ranks and been such a success at a high level in recent years, and hopefully he can act as an inspiration to the youngsters there on Saturday.”

Rugby Town JFC Chairman Liam Coulter was also looking forward to the game.

He explained: “This is a great opportunity for the junior club to lend a hand to the first team’s promotion push, and we are delighted they have opened up this avenue for all our boys and girls to enjoy the football and hopefully be part of a win.”

Saturday’s sponsored match ball will be presented to the referee by the junior club’s disabled footballer’s coach Guy Watt.

Liam continued: “Guy was involved in a horrific traffic accident that nearly killed him, but he’s now on the road to recovery and as a Coventry City fan, he will of course be hoping for a double Sky Blue victory this weekend!”

# Saturday’s game kicks-off at 3.00 p.m. as normal, with entry for junior club players at just £1 with an official registration card, and also half-price admission of £4 for managers/coaches.