RUGBY TOWN: Small mountain to climb for Valley in second half of season

Dominic Perkins, who was later red carded in the Boxing Day derby with Daventry
Dominic Perkins, who was later red carded in the Boxing Day derby with Daventry

Trip to Cogenhoe this weekend

Rugby Town start the second half of their UCL Premier Division campaign at Cogenhoe this Saturday with the disappointment of a crucial Boxing Day defeat against Daventry still fresh in their minds.

Danico Johnson in Rugby Town's 3-0 win over Oadby

Danico Johnson in Rugby Town's 3-0 win over Oadby

To their credit, Valley bounced back with a 3-0 win at home to Oadby on Saturday, but the 2-0 Butlin Road reverse against their local rivals means it is going to be a challenging four months for Town with only one promotion place up for grabs come the end of April.

Daventry’s festive success had extended their lead over Carl Adams’s men to 12 points courtesy of goals from Adam Creaney and Luke Emery, although this was cut back again to nine following Town’s ultimately comfortable victory over Oadby - with Town still having played one match less than the league leaders.

Pinchbeck and Deeping are the two nearest challengers below Rugby, with Town holding a four and five point advantage respectively over them.

In addition to the lost Boxing Day points, the encounter also intensified Valley’s recent disciplinary problems - with utility player Dominic Perkins becoming the fifth Town player to be sent off this season.

Perkins’s dismissal came after the game erupted following a late tackle by Rugby’s leading scorer Danico Johnson which resulted in a mass melee of players by the touchline.

Johnson - who is now without a goal in four games - was himself lucky to escape a red card for the challenge, although the booking he did receive meant he reached the five yellow card threshold - earning him a one match ban.

Therefore Johnson and Perkins - who also gets a one game suspension - join defender Liam Francis in being unavailable for this Saturday’s trip to Northamptonshire, with Francis two games into a three match punishment for his sending off at Wellingborough before Christmas.

Boss Adams was also sent to the stands towards the end of the Daventry defeat, and has subsequently been issued a dissent charge which could lead to a touchline ban for him too in the near future.

Saturday’s hosts Cogenhoe are currently in the sixth place in the table, and go into the game unbeaten in eight league outings - including a comprehensive 6-1 victory at Northampton ON Chenecks on Boxing Day last time out.

With Daventry sitting out the weekend fixtures, a win for Rugby on Saturday would further cut the gap at the top to six points, although the pacesetters do return to action next Tuesday (8th January) when they host Wellingborough Town at Communications Park.

Following on from the Cogenhoe game, Valley are back on the road the following weekend too with a trip to Northampton ON Chenecks - before a run of three home matches against Leicester Nirvana, Peterborough Northern Star and Kirby Muxloe.

# Saturday’s club coach to Cogenhoe will leave from outside Rugby School at 12 mid-day and from Butlin Road at 12.30pm. For latest information contact Tony Mann on 07970 691366.