By 5pm on Saturday (September 26), our allegiance once again had shifted. Our Quest team Lincoln United were beaten by divisional rivals Rugby Town in a humdinger of a game at Rugby’s plush little Butlin Road ground.
It means that we jump over to Rugby Town, and follow them to Northamptonshire side Brackley Town in the Third Qualifying Round, after the draw was made at Wembley on Monday, September 28.
In glorious autumn sunshine, Rugby took the lead on 18 minutes when Callum Powell latched onto a neat flick and dinked the ball over the onrushing Lincoln keeper, Sam Vince.
It looked all over midway through the second half when Rugby doubled their lead. Some patient play around the United box resulted in Danny Clifton sweeping the ball home for number two. But 12 minutes later United were given a lifeline when a floated ball by Jack McGovern eluded everyone including Niall Cooper between the sticks and nestled in the far corner. 2-1 now, and Lincoln we’re going for it.
But any hopes of a Lincoln revival – and any hopes of us carrying United through to the next round – were distinguished five minutes from time when Rugby netted a third from a corner. The ball was whipped in and met by Mason Rowley, whose powerful header was flicked in by David Kolodynski.
United did bundle home a controversial consolation (I think the claim was that McGovern used his hand to jab the ball home) but it was literally the last kick (hand) of the game.
Rugby now travel to Brackley, their old foes from the Southern League. It’ll be Valley’s 4th tie in the Emirates FA Cup this season, having already beaten Coventry Sphinx, Ilkeston and now Lincoln United.
In contrast, due to their higher standing in the non-league pyramid (Vanarama National League North), Brackley’s first tie in the competition was a 3-1 win over Tooting & Mitcham.
So we say goodbye to Lincoln United, whom we’ve followed since their victory over South Normanton Athletic in the Preliminary Round, and then onto the First Qualifying Round at Clipstone. Although the South Normanton game needed a reply in Lincoln, sadly we never got to visit their ground due to other commitments. But we leave them to carry on their season and wish them all the best.
For the record, I won the First Goal Scorer raffle (Callum Powell’s 18th-minute goal gifting me a cool £20) and the burgers are the best we’ve sampled so far. So thanks Rugby, and we’ll see you in Brackley.
More on that tie nearer the date.
A warm welcome to Butlin Road
Our view in the first half
The shadowy main stand
Behind the goal…
…and the other end
Victory is Rugby’s