Youngster Ashley Bodycote saves the day for Rugby Town - The Rugby Observer

Youngster Ashley Bodycote saves the day for Rugby Town

Rugby Editorial 4th Sep, 2015 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016   0

ONE OF the stories of this year’s FA Cup took place at Butlin Road on Saturday when teenager Ashley Bodycote etched himself a place in Rugby Town’s history books with a hugely successful debut in a 1-0 victory over Coventry Sphinx.

The 16-year-old was a surprise late inclusion in Saturday’s starting line-up following a frantic 24 hours or so for Valley boss Gary Mills which saw him left without a senior goalkeeper for the preliminary round tie.

With previous first choice keeper Scott Dutton unwilling to play and the club’s only other registered senior number one Neil Collett also declaring himself unavailable, Mills had to turn to the youth team squad for emergency cover.

But Bodycote produced an excellent display in-between the sticks and picked up a clean sheet as Valley progressed to earn a First Qualifying Round tie at Ilkeston.

“I am delighted for Ashley,” said Mills. “The other lads protected him wherever they could and kept the ball away from him as much as possible.

“But he made one top class save midway through the second half which really boosted his confidence and he ended up keeping a clean sheet – which is a great achievement for one so young.”

Unlike in the league where players can be signed on the morning of matches, FA Cup competition rules state that players must be registered with a club by mid-day on the Friday before the round of ties to be eligible, but Dutton’s notification came after this deadline leaving Mills with a late dilemma to solve.

Coventry-based Dutton had featured for Sphinx in a pre-season friendly in July before signing for Town (via Kettering) and is thought to have strong connections within the club.

“We’ve conceded ten goals in two away league games, so we decided it might be wise to take Scott out of the firing line for a bit, so we were looking to bring another keeper in as competition for him.

“Basically Scott refused to play, so perhaps he thought we didn’t have anyone else, but fortunately you are allowed to play anyone signed for the club as a whole.

Bodycote, who only turned 16 in April, is also a successful member of the Rugby Youth Badminton Squad and he subsequently featured for Town in Bank Holiday Monday’s game at Basford.


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