RUGBY Town came through their opening pair of pre-season fixtures with successive draws after following up on their goalless outing on the Butlin Road astroturf against FC Stratford at the weekend with a 1-1 draw at Midland League Premier side Gresley on Tuesday.
The warm-up games continue to come thick and fast for Valley now, with two further MFL Premier outfits due up on Town’s main pitch over the coming week.
Highgate United are the first to pay a visit this Saturday and then Romulus provide the opposition for Carl Adams’ team on Tuesday – with both friendlies to be staged behind closed doors in line with the current FA/Government Covid guidelines.
Rugby have fielded largely familiar line-ups in their two matches to date, with the 11 players who started the FC Stratford encounter all also part of their squad in their final game of the curtailed 2019/20 campaign at Sleaford back in March.
There was, however, one new face in the team which took to the field for the start of Tuesday’s game, when keeper Sam Lomax was between the sticks.
The 21-year-old was part of the Nuneaton academy operation before being snapped up by Barnsley. The 6ft 9in stopper then moved on to play for the development squad at Aston Villa, before joining Stratford Town for part of last season.
Saturday’s 0-0 draw was played in sweltering conditions, with both sides missing good chances to break the deadlock, whilst it was equally as warm at the Moat Ground on Tuesday when Valley fell behind to a 17th-minute penalty converted by Rovers’ Paul O’Sullivan after ex-Town legend David Kolodynski had been fouled in the box by Liam Francis.
Ryan Seal’s superbly executed chipped volley levelled the score before the interval though and Town arguably went on to have the better of the second period without being able to find a way through again.
The club are still awaiting final confirmation of start dates, fixture schedules and general arrangements for their new UCL Premier campaign, with Saturday, September 5 currently mooted as the potential date for kicking the league season off.
The draws for the early rounds of the main FA competitions are due to be made on Tuesday, with Rugby set to feature in the FA Cup extra preliminary round fixtures on Tuesday, September 1.
The preliminary and first qualifying rounds are pencilled in for the 12th and 22nd of the same month respectively.