RUGBY Town had Edwin Ahenkorah to thank for rescuing a late point at Butlin Road against Pinchbeck United in a 1-1 draw on Saturday.
The result means Valley fall further behind Daventry Town in the UCL Premier Division title race, after the Northamptonshire club beat Desborough Town to go ten points clear at the top.
Ahenkorah’s late intervention will at least have a bearing on the season run-in, despite all three points not being earned, with the draw being enough to stay ahead of third placed Deeping Rangers by a point.
Carl Adam’s side do have some good news though, as the impending demise of Oadby is set to have consequences on the rest of the league.
In the scenario that Oadby are expelled from the division, Rugby would gain a point on the leaders, as Daventry secured a win and a loss against the Leicestershire club, whilst Town won and lost against their opponents.
Adding to the game in hand that Rugby still have on Daventry, and with the two sides meeting at the end of the season, the title race is certainly not over yet by a long stretch.
The draw with Pinchbeck included one change to Rugby’s starting line-up, with Dom Perkins back in central midfield, whilst Dan Summerfield resumed a full-back berth – replacing Josh Steele.
Town opened the game as the more promising side. and threatened through Charlie Evans’ early cross.
From there though, Pinchbeck looked the most likely to score.
Charlie West fired a chance over the bar after a poor clearance by the hosts, whilst Lee Beeson also sent over the bar from a promising position.
United opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time, when Oliver Maltby made a clever run to flick home Beeson’s corner into the net with a header.
Rugby looked for a response after half-time, going close through Evans – who drove a shot over at the far-post from Lewis Rankin’s corner, whilst Ahenkorah diverted an effort wide.
It took 80 minutes for the hosts to register a first shot on target, when Steele arrived from the bench to finally test Richard Lovelace from long range.
Pinchbeck opted to waste time towards the latter stages, a ploy which backfired on them when gifting Rugby a penalty in stoppage-time.
Chris Shipley was adjudged to have pushed Liam Francis in the back, which allowed Ahenkorah to step up and put the ball the opposite side of Lovelace and into the net.
The hosts then searched for a winner, despite equalising five minutes into stoppage-time, but it was Pinchbeck who almost clinched three points.
Jordan Nuttell’s looping header had to be cleared off the line by Rugby’s debutant substitute, George Dawson, which was the final action of the contest.
Rugby manager Adams added Dawson to his side prior to the Pinchbeck draw, and has since added winger Eli Bako – both players who appeared for his former team, Stratford Town.
Bako, who has previously turned out for Ilkeston and Redditch, adds to the growing list of ex-Stratford players, with the total at Butlin Road currently standing at 11.
Town next host seventh-placed Eynesbury Rovers on Saturday (3pm), whilst Daventry host Sleaford Town – who are 14th.
Deeping meanwhile, head to bottom-side Wellingborough Whitworth.
Eynesbury travel to Rugby for the first time in nearly 45 years, having last visited in September 1974 – when Bill Savage and Jeff Dunning goals gave Rugby a 2-0 victory.
The reverse fixture in Cambridgeshire was a single-goal affair, which went the way of Town through Rankin’s strike.
This weekend’s visitors will be high on confidence after thrashing Whitworth 5-0 in their last game, a task made tougher by Valley’s Dom Perkins being out through suspension, after accumulating ten bookings this season.