By Jamie Arrowsmith 25/04 Updated: 25/04 11:52
RUGBY Town will remain at step four of the non-league football pyramid next season, after their 2-2 draw at Hayes on Saturday meant it was no longer mathematically possible for them to achieve a top five finish in the Southern League Division One Central table and a place in the play-offs.
Fifth placed Beaconsfield’s 4-1 win at Fleet increased the gap between Town and the play-off zone to five points - with just the final round of matches remaining on Saturday, when Valley host basement boys Marlow at Butlin Road.
Even if Rugby had not conceded a late equaliser in Middlesex last Saturday and the three point differential had remained, the chances of them snatching a play-off place from this last game would have been limited due to the much superior goal difference of the other clubs in contention.
Therefore it will now be either Beaconsfield or Northwood to join Slough, Bedworth and Uxbridge in the play-offs to accompany St. Neots in promotion - after the big spending Saints confirmed the title at the weekend with an 8-0 demolition of North Greenford.
Ironically, Valley stuttered to 0-0 draws against both Beaconsfield and Northwood as part of a poor run over the past couple of months, which has seen them record just three wins in ten games - just when a strong finish to the campaign was required.
Saturday’s opponents Marlow have had a woeful season as a whole and prop up the table with 28 points - including just two wins on their travels.
Their form of late has been slightly better though with just one defeat in their last six games - which included a run of three consecutive 0-0 draws.
Town have a 100 per cent record from their three Southern League matches with The Blues to-date, following up on last season’s double success with a 5-3 victory in the reverse fixture in Buckinghamshire in November when Luke Keen (2), Seb Lake-Gaskin and the now departed duo of Harry Harris and Richard Wesley were on target.
Rugby will be without defender Ed Booth as he serves a ban, but Seb Hamilton should be available again having completed his own four-game suspension.
Craig Milligan should also be back in the squad after he missed the Hayes trip, although Ross Miller may be a doubt after he limped off towards the end of Saturday’s draw.
THE club’s annual awards evening will be held in the V.S. Bar on May 11. All are welcome to attend and the event will start at 7.30pm.
FOLOWING on from Sunday’s hastily rearranged Women’s FA Premier League Cup semi-final at Butlin Road between Coventry City Ladies and Leeds United - which the Sky Blues lost 2-0, there are two further opportunities to enjoy Coventry Ladies in action in Rugby over the coming week.
Firstly they host Aston Villa on Sunday (2pm) in the Premier League before the same two sides meet again in the final of the Birmingham County FA Women’s Cup next Thursday (7.30pm).
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