Despite their midweek exit from the Nottinghamshire Senior Cup, away to Rainworth Miners Welfare, United Counties Division One high-fliers, Radford, are set for another cup outing when they welcome league leaders Aylestone Park, on Saturday afternoon.
Aylestone, top of Division One, have won nine and drawn one of their opening ten matches (league) whilst Radford have won eight from eight (league), the game, although a lot at stake in the Vase, is also a pre-cursor for their upcoming, league meeting, in early October.
That midweek loss, it was certainly a come-down from the previous Saturday’s 11-0 demolition of St. Andrews in the league, a result which team captain, Conor Moore, said: “has been coming for weeks, and was enjoyable to see.
“With Jevon (Seaton) scoring for fun, it says a lot, even with Jordan (Alls) having missed a few games, it’s been working, even with squad rotation.
“But, with the amount of games we could play (pre-Rainworth there was four cup competitions alongside the league season), then you can easily play fifty-odd games.
“Although we’ve got a number of players, you still can’t get carried away with things and this league, it’s far from being a weak one, and it’s quite tough really.
“Last season for example, we did the double over Hinckley, and narrowly lost to (eventual champions) Kimberley, but that top six, last time around, that was a tough one – definitely a good mixture of sides there.”
This campaign, there’s already been cup action for the Pheasants in the Notts Senior Cup, the FA Vase, and FA Cup, and league Knock-Out Cup, it’s definitely a busy one – cup games played thus far have already five matches to the eight played in the league.
Combined, the Pheasants have lost just twice of their thirteen games played, and we’re only in mid-September.
“Yes, we’ve kind of enjoyed the cup outings this season,” continued Conor.
“But, in the league, we’ve not played any of the top-end sides yet, so, this Vase game, that’ll give us some insight into what they (Aylestone) are like.
“We’re not a quarter of the way through the season yet though, still plenty to play for, but yes, of course we’d love to win the league this time around.
“There’s always been something there though, we’re just stronger now, and honestly, who knows.
“We just have to play our hearts out and put in a hundred percent.”
In the Vase, Radford, in recent years, have reached the second round in 2017, and third round in 2021, but, as sometimes is the case, on-field success comes at a cost.
The former of the Vase runs saw the Pheasants overcome Belper United (1-0), New Mills (4-3), and Harborough Town (3-1) before falling to Shepshead Dynamo (1-3), whilst the latter had them seeing off Clipstone and Ollerton Town on penalties (3-2, and 4-3, respectively), Paget Rangers (4-0), and Bewdley Town (3-1), before dropping, heavily, to Westfields (0-5).
“The club have had some fantastic Vase runs, but that often comes as a distraction from the league,” added Conor.
“This season though, with people saying it’s us or Aylestone, as strong sides, it annoys as there’s other strong sides as well.
“With the league though, we’ve already broke our biggest win record, now looking at maybe our unbeaten record because, as I’ve said, the aim has to be winning the league, the rest are bonuses.
Radford host Aylestone Park in the FA Vase on Saturday 24 September, before returning to league action, on Tuesday 27 September, at home to Harrowby United.
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @RadfordFC64 Radford will be looking to bounce back from midweek defeat today.