VALLEY boss Dale Belford was left angered and frustrated after his side’s bizarre late postponement at home to Daventry on Easter Monday.
After Valley’s 5-1 thrashing of Romulus on Good Friday, Belford’s side were likely to have been in buoyant mood going into the fixture against their local rivals only for the game to be called off on Sunday evening due to the Northamptonshire club’s apparent inability to raise a team.
Daventry’s season has been in steady decline over recent months and their 5-0 loss at home to Kidsgrove on Saturday marked a 13th straight defeat for them in the league, prompting manager Darran Foster and his assistant Neil Champelovier to quit.
Despite the postponement, Valley still managed to edge up a further place in the Evostik NPL South Division table to seventh over the holiday period.
But Town boss Belford admits he was left fuming by the late call-off. He said: “I’m disappointed to say the least.
“It’s an embarrassment all-round and a ridiculous situation at this level of football. I can’t quite understand how you can have a squad of 14 players for a game on a Saturday and then are not able to get seven for one two days later – it’s park pitch type stuff.
“I appreciate that there have been difficulties at Daventry for quite a while and ultimately we will just get on with things and try our best to turn it into a positive, but I’m sure that things could have been handled much better by all parties concerned.
“When I was manager at Atherstone, we literally had no money to work with, but we always got a team together whatever the situation was in the build-up to the game.”
The fixture has been rearranged for next Tuesday with Daventry also due to host Stocksbridge this Saturday, while also trying to recruit a new manager and Belford has some doubts whether these fixtures will be fulfilled.
“I can’t see how they are going to get a team together now, unless the league or the FA change or bend the rules – as the deadline has now passed for signing on new players.
“To be honest, I feel sorry for the likes of Goole and Loughborough who are down near the bottom fighting for survival alongside Daventry, and for us it increases the strain on the small playing squad even further by adding another game onto April’s schedule, but I’m sure that this group of players that we have will respond well to the challenge.”
Town now face seven games within 21 days as they seek to complete what would be a remarkable turnaround from their struggles near the foot of the table earlier in the campaign.
Ahead of next Tuesday’s rearranged visit of Daventry, the first of Town’s seven match run-in sees them travel to Leek for what is now a fifth away game in a row.
Belford reviewed the previous four trips which generated two wins at Gresley and Romulus, a draw at Spalding and a last gasp to defeat to title challengers Shaw Lane.
“It’s been a very tough run of fixtures, but once more we showed that we are more than a match for anyone in this league,” Belford added.
“There has a definite and conscious shift in our approach recently, as we know that draws at this stage just won’t be enough, and as a result the games have generally been more open.
“This doesn’t always pay off as we saw at Shaw Lane, but we know that to get into that last play-off spot that we have to be brave, positive and go for victories. It puts a bit more pressure on the keeper and back four for sure, but we’re ‘fastening our seat belts’ and seeing how high we can climb!”