RUGBY Town secured a vital 3-0 victory at promotion rivals Deeping Rangers last weekend to keep their UCL Premier Division title hopes alive, ahead of visiting bottom-side Wellingborough Whitworth.
Saturday’s win was the first loss that the Lincolnshire club after an 11-game winning streak, whilst extending their own winning run to five games.
Rugby now go into second, leapfrogging Deeping on goal difference with 66 points on the board apiece, and manager Carl Adams could not hide his delight at his team’s display.
“Whilst the results have been good recently, we accept that the performances haven’t always been where we would want them, but on Saturday both the result and the performance were brilliant.
“I believe that we have a stronger all-round team unit than perhaps we had at the start of the season, when we were more about flair and individual contributions.
“Hopefully we are hitting form at just the right time, although of course we are still outsiders at the moment.”
Valley now sit just eight points behind leaders Daventry Town, still with a game and in hand, and with Daventry clashing with Deeping this weekend, Adams is wary of capitalising on any slip ups.
“A draw there would be ideal for us of course, but all we can do is focus on our games and make sure that we don’t make any silly slip ups.
“It would be easy to view this weekend’s fixture as a gimme when you consider Whitworth’s run of results and position in the table, but it’s important that we turn up and do the job or else last weekend’s efforts will be wasted.”
Their away performance against Deeping was the perfect result in many ways, going on the offensive from the first whistle and showing no fear at the home of one of the promotion favourites.
Lewis Rankin, Simeon Tulloch and Loyiso Recci strikes set Town on the road to all three points, with Rankin having returned to the team after sitting out the midweek win over Rothwell.
He scuffed an early chance wide from Edwin Ahenkorah’s cut back, but snatched the opener shortly after.
Ahenkorah again at the centre, he slipped in Rankin, who played the ball for Keenah Rosser to strike, parried into Rankin’s path to convert.
Rugby continued to dominate and could have had more in the opening twenty minutes, keeper Matt Hill remaining largely unthreatened by the hosts.
Charlie Evans was unlucky not to find the net after a number of efforts, whilst Hill eventually had to pull off a fine diving save to deny a volley from flying past him as the hosts grew into it.
A second on 59 minutes ended the Deeping resurgence, Rankin picked out Ahenkorah – who’s low shot rebounded off the post into Tulloch’s path to sidefoot home.
A flick-on from Evans from a corner left for the simplest of finishes for Recci to kill off the game and seal the points.
Looking ahead to Saturday’s visit to Wellingborough, the hosts sit on just eight points after 28 matches played – winning just twice in that time with a minus goal difference of 103.
Losing their last six out of seven matches by four goals or more – including 6-0, 7-0 and 9-0 scorelines – leaves a huge job on their hands to stop second-placed Rugby from running riot.
A club coach to Wellingborough will leave outside Rugby School at 12 noon on Saturday, and from Butlin Road at 12:15pm.
Fans are advised to contact Tony Mann on 07970 691366 for more information.
The club have also announced that free entry will return when Cogenhoe United visit Butlin Road, on Saturday April 6 – following the success of the initiative against Kirby Muxloe recently.