Rugby Town’s attentions shift to knockout football this weekend, when they travel to UCL Division One Belper United in the First Round Proper of the FA Vase on Sunday afternoon, writes Jon Venner.
Qualifying round victories over Coventry Copsewood and AFC Wulfrunians earnt Valley the tie at the Churchill Meadow ground United share with NPL side Belper Town.
And Carl Adams’s men will be hoping for a better performance and result than in the same stage of the competition last season, when they crashed out against another lower level opponent Dudley Sports.
Town’s Vase clash comes on the back of them extending their winning run to three matches, after they comfortably dispatched Eynesbury Rovers 3-1 at Butlin Road last Saturday.
Rugby controlled a significant majority of the game, with Danico Johnson and Loyiso Recci giving them a quickfire two goal advantage in the run-up to the interval.
Edwin Ahenkorah’s 77th minute penalty pretty much secured Town the points after the visitors had missed from the spot themselves, although Rovers did later grab a late consolation for their efforts through Kelvin Ossei-Addo.
The victory maintained Valley’s place in seventh in the UCL Premier South, and it represented only a second success over a top half team so far this season.
Following on from the Belper game, Rugby then face a run of five successive fixtures against teams from the bottom half of the division (including three of the current bottom five), starting next Saturday with a trip to whipping boys Biggleswade - who have yet to pick up a single point from their thirteen league matches to-date.
Adams will be hoping that keeper Ash Bodycote is fit enough to make the Belper trip, after he was forced to draft in emergency replacement Jake Woodward the evening before the Eynesbury game.
The groin strain sustained by Bodycote at Northampton Chenecks the previous week ruled him out, although defenders Loyiso Recci and Keenah Rosser both shook off their niggles to take to the field.
Town’s injury problems did continue against Rovers though, when Dylan Parker limped off with a knee problem after just 11 minutes.