IT WAS a rollercoaster week for Rugby Town as they kicked-off their first ever campaign within the NPL structure following their transfer over from the Southern League in the summer.
After the hopes and expectations of players, officials and supporters alike were blown away by a heavy 6-1 defeat at Loughborough at the weekend, new boss Gary Mills’ squad dug deep to turn things around with a 2-1 success at home to Gresley on Tuesday evening.
Sam Warburton’s 38th minute spectacular strike ultimately settled proceedings, but Gary Mills’ side showed some real character after Gresley’s Jordan Bell had halved Town’s two goal lead midway through the second half.
Valley face two further league fixtures over the coming week, with Belper the visitors to Butlin Road this Saturday, before a trip to the Black Country next Tuesday when they will face Tividale.
Mills will be hoping his side can continue to match the performance and work-rate levels they showed in the mid-week victory against a Gresley outfit who arguably were a far superior proposition than the Dynamo one they crumbled too easily against in their opening match.
David Kolodynski did at least manage to grab the club’s first ever NPL goal in the crushing Leicestershire reverse, with his strike partner Tom Liversedge and Sam Warburton then on-target in Valley’s second outing.
Warburton and fellow Northampton Town prospect Danny Clifton confirmed an initial one-month loan spell at Butlin Road ahead of the start of the season, and the pair combined well for what proved to be Rugby’s winner on Tuesday, with Warburton registering an early contender for Town’s goal of the season with a stunning volley from the angle.
Saturday’s visitors Belper were relegated from the NPL Premier Division last season, after finishing bottom of the table, and the Derbyshire club opened up on Saturday with a 3-3 home draw against Newcastle Town.
The unusually-nicknamed Nailers were due to travel to Carlton on Wednesday evening, ahead of a first ever competitive match-up between them and Valley.
Tuesday evening’s opponents Tividale have lost both of their opening league fixtures, meaning they are one of four clubs currently with a zero return in the league’s South Division. Near neighbours Daventry are another to have suffered back-to-back reverses and as a result they prop up the table.
At the top, only Coalville and Stocksbridge Park have recorded perfect starts to the season, with Rugby occupying 14th spot.
Town’s major injury doubt for the weekend is Ryan Walker, after the defender was forced to leave the field shortly after Liversedge’s 18th minute opener on Tuesday. Keenah Rosser replaced him at right-back, and is the likely deputy for him again if Walker fails to recover in time for the Belper game.
Elsehwere, Rugby will face Coventry Sphinx in the Preliminary Round of the FA Cup on August 29 after the Midland Football League side saw off Lye on Monday night.
Ex-Valley man Richard Blythe scored Sphinx’s first in the 2-1 victory, with another familiar face to Town fans, Mitchell Piggon, on-target in the original tie.