Trip to Rothwell on Saturday
Rugby Town travel to Rothwell Corinthians this weekend having cut the gap between them and UCL Premier leaders Daventry back to ten points following their 4-1 home victory over Kirby Muxloe last Saturday.
While Valley were ultimately easing to their tenth home league success of the campaign in front of a bumper Butlin Road crowd, Daventry could only draw against Rugby’s hosts this weekend in a surprise result at Communications Park.
Rothwell have struggled all season and currently sit one place ahead of the relegation zone in 18th - with just two UCL wins to their name so far.
Their point at Daventry did at least further prove that they have become more obdurate in recent weeks though, as it was a fifth draw in their last nine outings - but their last maximum return came against fellow strugglers Kirby at the beginning of December.
A week before that Kirby victory, the Corinthians were at Butlin Road for the reverse fixture between this Saturday’s foes. The Northamptonshire side showed their stubbornness there too though, holding what was an in-form Valley team at that point to a 2-1 victory.
Goals from Richard Blythe and Charlie Evans did the trick for Town that day, but Rugby’s form since then has been more patchy - allowing their local rivals to establish what may prove to be an unbridgeable gap at the top of the division.
The club confirmed that midfielder Blythe moved on last week though - ending a second spell at the Valley, but his place was filled at the weekend by the return to action of the experienced Richard Bunting after an absence of 14 games due to a number of injury niggles.
There was also a debut against Kirby for boss Carl Adams’s latest recruit Dan Summerfield. Summerfield joins the ever-growing list of ex-Stratford men in Adams’s line-up, having played under the manager for two years at Knights Lane.
The 24 year old left Stratford for a spell at Redditch at the start of this season, before returning there ahead of his move to Butlin Road, and he can play in a variety of defensive and midfield roles.
Last weekend’s home gate of 450 was undoubtedly bolstered by the club’s decision to offer free admission for all for the game.
Club Director Neil Melvin hailed the initiative a success. He said: “It was a great turn out from the supporters, especially considering the weather on the day was atrocious and we were up against such lowly opposition.
“We would like to thank everybody for coming and hope they can make it back again a few times before the end of the season. We know it’s going to be a difficult ask for us to catch up at the top, but some of the results over the past few weeks have shown that anything is possible in this league.”
Leaders Daventry host 8th placed Oadby this weekend, whilst third placed Deeping - who are level on points with Valley - take a break from UCL action for the long trip to Devon to face Willand Rovers in the last sixteen of the FA Vase.