RUGBY TOWN conceded late goals in either half to suffer a 2-0 defeat at home to league leaders Harborough Town and are now without a win in three matches in all competitions.
Valley were made to pay for a poor first half showing when Freddie Robinson gave Harborough the lead on 43 minutes before Nat Ansu wrapped up the tie on 87 minutes at Butlin Road.
The result means Rugby remain fourth in the United Counties League Premier Division South table, trailing third place Newport Pagnell Town by two points, although Newport have two games in hand.
Rugby boss Carl Adams handed a debut to new signing Harry Eden on the left side of defence, with Keenah Rosser and Jamal Clarke also returning to bolster the Town back-line.
The visitors demonstrated from the off the form that has seen them drop only eight points all season, with James Ireland poking a decent chance wide in the first minute.
Several half-chances came and went for the away side before Paul Malone volleyed straight at Ash Bodycote with the Town keeper then making a fine double-handed save to keep out Rhys Hoenes’s shot from the edge of the box.
Ben Williams lifted a great chance over the bar at the far post, before Harborough finally took the lead when Robinson flicked home a chipped free-kick by Josh Walsh.
The goal sparked Valley into life and almost drew level straight from the restart when Adam Shaw took advantage of a fumble from Harborough keeper Elliott Taylor only to scuff his effort.
And the hosts returned for the second half with renewed vigour as Caine Elliott fired over from Max Johnson’s pull back before the impressive Elliott almost caught out Taylor with a low cross-shot.
Bodycote denied Daniel Cooper’s stinging shot after the Harborough full-back had broken purposefully from deep, with Williams also having a free-kick deflected wide for a corner after Clarke had illegally halted another quick foray.
Valley then had their best spell of the match, with debutant Eden having a strike from distance deflected wide whilst the home side threatened from a series of corners in quick succession.
Those set-pieces saw Clarke nod over from close range before the final delivery from Johnson cannoned directly onto the back post and was scrambled away to safety by a Harborough defender.
The pressure continued when Elliott tested Taylor with a decent strike following a run down the left-hand channel, before Ansu struck the fatal blow when he latched on to a long clearance and rounded a hesitant Bodycote to roll the ball into an empty net.
Rugby are next in action away at Eynesbury Rovers on Saturday, March 12 with kick-off at 3pm at the Alfred Hall Memorial Ground.