Le Masurier seeks a response in a huge clash for Raunds
Kiln Park will play host to the big game of the day in the ChromaSport United Counties League this weekend as the top two in Division One go head-to-head.
Raunds Town suffered a surprise 4-2 defeat at Bugbrooke last Saturday and they were replaced at the summit by Pinchbeck United, who moved a point clear after a 2-1 victory over Burton Park Wanderers.
The Shopmates are now gearing up to take on the leaders this weekend as their season reaches the halfway point.
Raunds boss Jim Le Masurier believes his team are the underdogs and, after that loss last time out, his main aim is to get a good reaction from his players as they bid to maintain their push at the top end of the table.
“It was obviously disappointing result-wise last weekend,” the Shopmates manager said.
“That is the sort of game that we have struggled with in the past and I thought we had got over that because we have been pretty comfortable in them this season.
“It just goes to show how quickly things can change and the only positive was that, aside from Pinchbeck, others at the top also had a bad day.
“We will be the underdogs tomorrow (Saturday). It’s a big game on paper but the fact is, nothing is decided until April.
“There’s no hiding from the fact that Pinchbeck have spent some money, they want to go up and fair play to them for that.
“They put in a lot of effort when it comes to watching teams and they will know exactly how they are going to set up against us.
“They are a very strong side and we will have to be prepared for it.
“The big thing for us is making sure we are strong enough mentally to put last weekend out of our minds and focus on this.”
Rushden & Higham United moved up to fourth as they came from 2-0 down to beat Melton Town 3-2 last weekend and the Lankies face a tough test when they head to Olney Town this weekend.
It’s derby day at Latimer Park as Burton Park Wanderers entertain Irchester United, who enjoyed a fine 4-1 success over Olney last time out, while Thrapston Town have home advantage when they take on Lutterworth Town.
Rock-bottom Stewarts & Lloyds, meanwhile, host Potton United at Occupation Road.
UCL Premier Division side Desborough Town will have home advantage again in the third round of the Buildbase FA Vase on December 2.
Ar Tarn earned their place in the last 64 with an incredible 7-4 victory over Pinxton at the Waterworks Field last weekend as they battled back from 3-1 down and then 4-3 down in the
final minute before seeing off their opponents in extra-time.
Chris Bradshaw’s team will now take on Eastwood Community, who beat Leicester Nirvana 2-0 last Saturday, in the third round.
Ar Tarn were unable to follow that win up with another, however, as they went down 1-0 at home to Kirby Muxloe as they returned to league action on Tuesday night.
Desborough face a big test this weekend as they make the trip to Eynesbury Rovers.
Rothwell Corinthians were also in midweek action as they went down 4-2 to Yaxley at Sergeants Lawn.
That came after Corinthians had enjoyed a 4-1 victory over Sileby Rangers at the weekend.
Next up for Jim Scott and Shaun Sparrow’s side is a derby date at Wellingborough Town tomorrow.
And the Doughboys go into the derby clash on the back of a fine 3-1 success at St Andrews in which Mark Pryor scored twice.
St Andrews, meanwhile, is the destination for Whitworth this weekend as the Flourmen bid to build on the 2-2 draw they claimed at ON Chenecks on Wednesday night.
That stalemate ended a run of three defeats in a row for James Mallows’ team