RUGBY TOWN: Record breakers face new leaders

Fazel Koriya
Fazel Koriya

It surely cannot get any tougher for Rugby Town this weekend if they want to further stretch their longest ever run of victories in 30 Southern League seasons, when they travel to current Central Division league leaders Godalming.

Valley’s 2-0 New Year’s Day win over Daventry saw the current squad surpass the exploits of the 1984 and 1987 teams, which also gave Dave Stringer’s side a great start to 2013 – after a frustrating run of three postponements.

Having missed out on the first chance to break the record at home to Ashford before Christmas, the trips to both Aylesbury on Boxing Day and then Biggleswade last Saturday also fall foul of the wet weather.

The latter game’s postponement was particularly galling, coming after a late downpour meant that the club’s players and supporters had already made the 60-mile journey to Bedfordshire.

Town’s relative inactivity over the holiday period saw them slip a couple of places in the table down to third, with Saturday’s opponents Godalming now a point ahead of them.

Second place Royston also have the edge over Valley albeit on goal difference only, although Rugby do have two games in-hand over them. There is a further five point gap between Town and Burnham in fourth.

Stringer will be looking for his side to improve upon their performance against the Surrey club earlier in the season at Butlin Road, where - in the first ever meeting between the two sides - a strong-looking Godalming ran out comfortable 3-0 winners.

That blank return represents Rugby’s only goal-less league game of the season so far in 21 attempts, although the line-up Stringer is likely to field at Wey Court should be a much different one to that early September fixture – both in terms of personnel and also in terms of form and confidence levels.

Only six of the starters from the Daventry game played in the Godalming one, and Stringer continues to refresh his squad with new signings after the arrival at the club of Lewis McBride from Leighton.

21-year-old McBride impressed against Rugby earlier in the season, and Stringer moved fast to secure the midfielder’s signature when he knew he was available.

He said: “Lewis has been wanted by numerous clubs and I’ve been trailing him for a season and a half. He’s a versatile midfielder and fits the bill for us perfectly.

“I’ve had to keep the cards close to my chest as four or five clubs from around where he lives have been interested.

“The lad’s young, talented and can play in all the positions in midfield plus a few others. When we played Leighton earlier in the season he was outstanding.”

McBride was on the scoresheet in his debut as a late substitute against Daventry, and will provide further competition in an ever-strengthening squad.

n The club coach to Godalming will leave Butlin Road at 10.30am. For latest information, contact Tony Mann on 07970 691366.

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