On Saturday, after winning three league games on the bounce, Rushden progressed to the regional final of the Setanta Shield, after putting four past a struggling Northwich side.
There were cup upsets aplenty yesterday, as both Manchester United and Chelsea were knocked out of the FA Cup. However, the trend did not continue in the Shield, as four first-half goals were enough to ease Rushden into the next round. Jon Challinor and Marcus Kelly both grabbed scored twice, all four coming in the space of fifteen minutes. Rushden, it seems, have more than made up for their embarrassing defeat at the same ground earlier in the season.
“No cup is meaningless!” claimed a fan on our forum soon after the game. Previously, fans of the club had deemed the competition a mickey mouse cup. With the FA Trophy our main aim just a few weeks ago, the SS was somewhat put to the side. However, with it now our last chance of real silverware, and a guarenteed regional final to play in (against the winner of the Halifax/Burton Albion tie; another game against Halifax?!) our views on the cup have somewhat turned.
After coming under some criticism this term, Marcus Kelly played out a stormer yesterday, putting two efforts past our ex-keeper Tynan. He was voted as the Official Site’s MOTM, and this was echoed by many of the travelling fans. “Back to near his best!” said one fan. His two goals (a run into the box after receiving the ball from Burgess, and a freekick) were scored in the space of five minutes.
Jon Challinor also had a good game, continuing his recent run of form by scoring his 5th goal in 4 games.