At the match: Rugby Town v Basford United

A player kicks a ball in front of some other players and a sign – (C) Jon Smalldon 2015, All rights reserved

They’ve taken down the cage through which the players used to enter the field to the strains of “Simply the best” but some things at the former VS Rugby, now Rugby Town, remain constant.  The team play still in Sky Blue, the fans still do a nice line in moaning, the half time Bovril can still have added pepper … and the home team will still do their best to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

We were meant to be at Southam but that game fell victim to the sodden ground. Rugby must have better drainage but the going was still soft.  Their visitors in yellow and black sit higher in the table – in another change from earlier times Rugby Town now play in the Northern Premier League South Division rather than a Southern League Central Division – and, to use the venacular of the times, must have fancied their chances.  It ended 1-0 to Rugby.  That it could and should have been more was reflected by the volley of expletive-laden invective that the away bench loudly launched forth midway through the second half.  They weren’t impressed.

The goal came a few minutes before half time via the penalty spot.  It was a weak call.  A tumble rather than a foul but still hard to not give once the official has seen it.  Kevin Thornton struck it well.  Before and after the goal Rugby had an embarrassment of chances.  Sometimes they fluffed their lines themselves, other times they were repelled by the young-looking Basford ‘keeper Jake Wood.  At all times there was the sense that the visitors, hanging in rather than pushing often themselves, would find a way.  And they did come close, especially towards the end.  But this was one constant that didn’t apply today: Rugby held on and got the points.

313 made their way to Butlin Road today.  A high crowd for Valley and the majority seemed to be entertained.  We made our way back home listening to Five Live as Alan Green informed us that outside Old Trafford one could buy Manchester United scarves with Jose Mourinho’s face printed on – which is the sort of ridiculous idea that makes you appreciate an afternoon like this at Rugby Town all the more.

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