Football
Town move into play-off places

By Jamie Arrowsmith Wednesday 21 November 2012 Updated: 26/11 12:54

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Buy photos » Sam Youngs in action on Saturday. Picture by Martin Pulley.

RUGBY Town lifted themselves into the Southern League Division One Central play-off places for the first time since the opening weekend of the season on Tuesday night with a comfortable 4-2 victory over Thatcham Town.

The victory ended a run of poor results at Butlin Road for Dave Stringer’s side, which had been potentially spared another home defeat at the weekend when floodlight failure caused the abandonment of their game against Royston - in which the visitors were leading at the time.

Valley now sit fifth and they assume the role of hosts again this weekend, with 17th placed Fleet the visitors.

Town will be aiming for a fourth consecutive league victory and also looking to break a sequence of draws between the two sides - which has seen all four Southern League fixtures between them end all-square.

The first two of those came back in the 1999-00 season, whilst last time out the points were again split in both games - including a 3-3 draw at Butlin Road in March, where Rugby ended the game with just nine men.

Stringer will have Steve Palmer back in the squad, after the midfielder sat out the Thatcham victory through suspension. Full-back Alex Austin was also rested from the game due to an ankle injury and he will be receiving treatment this week in the hope that he is also available for selection on Saturday.

On a positive note, Michael Williams made his return in a Valley shirt as a second half substitute on Tuesday after more than two months out of action.

THE abandoned Royston home game has been rearranged for Tuesday, December 11. The admission policy for this fixture will be announced shortly.

TOWN LOOK TO ESCAPE THE VALLEY OF DARKNESS

TOWN officials will be hoping that this week’s meeting with their electricity supplier sheds some more light on the power problems they have suffered recently, after the Butlin Road floodlights failed again at the weekend causing the abandonment of a game there for the second time in little more than a month.

Western Power Distribution have already acknowledged that last Saturday’s outage against Royston occurred at sub-station level due to a problem with an overhead line. Town previously had to abort their League Cup tie with Leamington on October 16 due to a fuse malfunction in their own electrical plant room.

Valley Operations Manager Neil Melvin confirmed that the Southern League were aware of the situation and that all measures possible were being taken to ensure there was no repeat.

He explained: “We are due to meet representatives of Western Power at the ground on Wednesday to discuss the situation and allow them to carry out further investigation on-site, but they have confirmed that the latest incident occurred at the sub-station.

“We reported the problem immediately, and their engineer fixed it around 5.50pm.

“This was totally different to the Leamington game when one their fuses blew within the ground. At the time, Western Power reported that this was due to natural degradation of components.

“Each time it has been a different phase that has gone down, and hopefully it is just an unfortunate, coincidental set of circumstances.

“We haven’t added any significant demands to the electrical set-up at the ground for at least five years now, so it is baffling that we should get this run of problems now.”

Melvin thanked all supporters for their on-going patience: “I know it’s frustrating for everybody and we apologise for that.

“Arguably we could have carried on and finished the game last Saturday, and certainly both sets of players were keen to do so. However, the referee is in a difficult position, and he felt that it would have been unsafe to continue.

“We made it through Tuesday evening’s game fine, and hopefully the meeting with Western Power will identify if any supply continuity issues exist and allow them to carry out any necessary work.”

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