THERE will be no let-up for Dave Stringer’s Rugby Town side over the coming week as they enter the run-in of their inaugural season in the Midland League Premier Division.
Last night’s (Wednesday) 1-0 defeat at Shawbury United represented their third within a week and the Easter weekend sees them make the short trip to Coventry Sphinx on Saturday before hosting Loughborough University on Bank Holiday Monday.
Town are then sent to Coventry once more next Wednesday for a second game of the campaign at the Butts Park Arena against Coventry United.
Valley suffered the tenth single-goal defeat of their season at Butlin Road on Saturday as they lost 2-1 to Westfields on the back of a 1-1 draw at Stourport Swifts two days previously.
In both encounters David Kolodynski had given Rugby the lead but five points were ultimately sacrificed after the two sets of opposition found a way back into the games.
Town had managed to hold on to seventh place after the weekend loss but Tuesday evening’s fixtures saw them slip to ninth after wins for Long Eaton United and Heanor Town.
Unless there is a turnaround in fortunes in their remaining eight games, Valley could easily end their first season at this level in the bottom half of the table – with the three clubs immediately below having a number of games in hand over them.
First up is a third game of the season against Sphinx, with Rugby holding the upper hand from the previous two at Butlin Road after a 0-0 league draw and a 2-1 cup success within a September fortnight.
The league encounter was marred by the broken leg suffered by Town defender Mason Rowley, although the 25-year-old recently returned to the squad and made his first start since the injury in the Stourport draw.
A Tevin Shakespeare double then secured Rugby a place in the next round of the League Cup, so the currently sixth-placed hosts will be out for revenge at Sphinx Drive this weekend.
Coventry’s squad includes two of Valley’s roster from last season in Charlie Faulkner and Chris Sterling, with other Town old-boys Jamie Towers and Aaron Stringfellow also regulars in their line-up.
Easter Monday’s home game against the University side gives Stringer the opportunity to complete a rare double this season after Rugby’s comfortable 3-1 victory against the students at the start of 2018.
Second-half goals from Ruben Wiggins-Thomas, Kolodynski and Sam Belcher kicked off what turned out to be a perfect month for Town, before the four successive defeats in February ruled out any hopes of a late promotion bid.
Loughborough currently sit 18th – five points and two places above the division’s relegation zone.
Wednesday’s game at United also represents a third meeting for the two clubs this season.
Town opened their 2017/18 affairs with a victory in Coventry in the extra preliminary round of the FA Cup thanks to a Kolodynski double.
The two sides then played a tight 0-0 draw at Butlin Road in the league in October.