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21st Jun, 2021

Rugby Town off to mixed start

RUGBY Town’s attentions switch to the FA Cup this weekend after they played out a Jekyll and Hyde opening week to their United Counties Premier Division campaign.

Valley started life in their new division with a convincing 4-0 win at Peterborough Northern Star on Saturday but could only follow it up with a below par performance in a 2-0 defeat at Leicester Nirvana on Tuesday night.

A Danico Johnson hat-trick at Peterborough had helped spark much optimism among the Valley faithful but Town were subsequently unable to cope with a pacy Nirvana side and were ultimately made to pay for this.

The early league rankings see Town sitting in eighth place, with just three clubs in Daventry, Cogenhoe and Deeping recording back-to-back victories in their opening two games.

Local rivals Daventry top the table after they followed up on their 3-1 weekend home success over Holbeach with another impressive Communications Park win over Harborough, this time by a 5-2 margin.

Rugby make the short trip to Coventry United in the extra preliminary round of the nation’s favourite football knock-out competition in a repeat of last season’s game at the same stage.

The tie has been rearranged for a Sunday with a 3pm kick-off due to a fixture clash with United’s rugby club landlords, with Town hoping for a re-run of the 2017 match-up.

Rugby progressed into the next round after a David Kolodynski brace gave them a two goal advantage before a late strike by the hosts set up a nervy finish at the Butts Park Arena.

Valley went on to enjoy further success at the ground later in the season when a Josh Ruff penalty settled the Midland League Premier Division fixture, helping to ensure a two-place gap between the two sides come the end of the league campaign.

A number of ex-Rugby players featured for United last season, but their 2018/19 playing squad looks less familiar.

In their opening two games – both 1-0 successes over Shepshed and South Normanton respectively – Coventry’s starting line-up has yet to contain a Valley old-boy, although the popular Kevin Thornton is still at the club and has featured from the bench.

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