Ashford and Aylesbury games scheduled
Rugby Town boss Dave Stringer was understandably a happy man after watching his side’s 6-1 thumping of Royston, which saw them return to the top of the Calor League Central Division for the first time since the season’s opening week.
This success against fellow promotion-chasing opposition came just a week after the disappointment of the 1-0 defeat to another team fighting for a place in the play-offs Beaconsfield, and Stringer reflected on the two games.
He said: “It was great to come back after the previous week’s blow and put in such a convincing performance against as good a team as Royston.
“We just didn’t get going in the first half against Beaconsfield, but in the second half we were a different level – but just ran out of time in the end.
“Their late goal just showed how cruel football can be, but we’ve shown our spirit and also how good a team we are against Royston, and it was very enjoyable to watch.
“We looked pretty comfortable even with ten against their eleven, and we’ve so many options offensively that it’s very rare that we don’t score goals.”
Valley leapfrogged Dunstable to reach the table’s summit after the Bedfordshire side suffered a second reverse within a week, losing at home to Egham in the only other game played in the division at the weekend.
Stringer paid tribute to Town groundsman Steve Sharp and his helpers for yet again getting a game on, when much of the non-league schedule was hit by the persistent wet weather sweeping the country.
He explained: “Considering the amount of rain we have had, the pitch was absolutely fantastic. It was heavy, but perfectly playable.
“Getting our games in now could prove to be a real boost as the season concludes, when hopefully we will be fresher and the other top teams are struggling to get theirs played in-time.”
Rugby now have a run of fixtures against struggling sides, with their next three opponents all currently in the bottom five.
First-up this Saturday is a trip to rock-bottom Ashford, who only have six points to their name this season – with their last victory way back in September.
Town are then due to travel to 19th placed Aylesbury FC next Tuesday, before hosting 18th placed Leighton a week Saturday.
The Aylesbury fixture is already a doubt however, with the Moles’s Haywood Way ground one of those particularly suffering from the barrage of rain. The last game played there was back in mid-December and six games have been postponed since, with large parts of the pitch deep under water.
Rugby have already beaten both potential upcoming opponents at Butlin Road this season, with David Kolodynski’s solitary late strike downing Ashford in October, and then a Seb Lake-Gaskin penalty securing a 3-2 success over Aylesbury in December.
Stringer will be without the services of Lewis McBride this weekend due to work commitments, but he was boosted by the appearance of both Jamie Towers and Justin Marsden from the bench last Saturday – with the midfield pair returning from hamstring and shoulder injuries respectively.
However with McBride likely to be missing for the whole of March due to a trip to Australia, Stringer is still looking to add to his squad.
He said: “I would like to add an extra midfielder if possible, but it’s proving very difficult to persuade players to switch clubs at this time of the season.”
With centre-half Nathan Haines facing a three game suspension following his dismissal against Royston, Stringer may also need to bring in a new defender as cover.
Haines’s ban will start next Saturday, and with Mason Rowley now having left the club in search of regular first team football, Stringer’s squad is now short of defensive options.
# David Kolodynski was named BBC Coventry & Warwickshire non-league football player of the month on the radio station’s monthly ‘Climbing The Pyramid’ grass roots show this week.
# The coach to Ashford will leave the clubhouse at 11am, and the Aylesbury at 5pm. Please check availability with Tony Mann on 07970 691366, as places are already limited for Saturday.