By Ryan Batty:
This weekend, the Dabbers return to action as they host Rushall Olympic in Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division action. Dave Cooke’s men arrive on Saturday on the back of a scoreless draw with Warrington Town in midweek, as well as defeating the Yellows from a losing position last weekend. In this week’s opposition report, take a look at what to expect from this weekend’s opponents.
Rushall Olympic have had quite a solid campaign, but that has come mostly after the sacking of Wayne Thomas, who was removed from his managerial role in October, and the appointment of Liam McDonald has seen the Pics climb from relegation strugglers, to mid-table settlers.
McDonald, once the manager of Hednesford Town, may have been aided by the lack of a cup competition to stray them away from league focus. Rushall were eliminated from the FA Cup at the Second Qualifying Round stage with a replay defeat to AFC Mansfield, and their FA Trophy campaign saw them exit at the Second Qualifying Round stage to Stalybridge Celtic after eliminating the Dabbers in the First Qualifying Round.
However, the win against Nantwich in the FA Trophy may have kickstarted their season, as since then, their consistency has improved, and since the victory, they have never gone more than three games without a win.
In addition to a better league run, they have also made it to the final of the Walsall Senior Cup, having knocked out the likes of Sutton Coldfield and Stafford Rangers to make it to the final.
Rushall are currently on a blazing run of form that has seen them lose just one of their last six league games. The Pics were unbeaten for all of March, with home wins against Matlock Town, and promotion-chasing Ashton and Altrincham.
They dropped points at the start of the month against Shaw Lane in a 3-1 defeat, but they got back on track in the week as they picked up a 2-0 win at home to Buxton as Sam Whittall and Lewis Archer scored to ensure Rushall walked away with all three points.
Danger Man – Richard Brodie (Forward)
Brodie arrived at Dales Lane shortly after Liam McDonald, coming from Solihull Moors. The striker scored his first goal for the club in their FA Trophy First Qualifying Round clash with the Dabbers. His storied career has seen him be a prolific goalscorer at the Non-League level, having scored sixty-nine goals in his time with York City.
He has also spent time with Crawley Town, as he won the Conference title with the Red Devils in 2010-11, scoring thirteen goals in his lone season. His many seasons in the higher levels of Non-League football will give the Dabbers’ defence a headache to deal with on Saturday.
In the History Books
We’ve met with Rushall twice this season, once in league action and again in FA Trophy competition. The latter saw us lose 2-0 to the Pics, while our league encounter saw us come out on top, with goals from Joel Stair, Sean Cooke, Kaiman Anderson and Steve Jones.
Also, last season, we picked up a 3-1 victory at Dales Lane, thanks to a Sean Cooke brace, as well as a single from Matt Bell, as well as a 1-0 win at the Weaver Stadium, where a second-half strike from Ryan Brooke secured all three points for the Dabbers.
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