RUGBY TOWN hope to continue their fine form when they host Bugbrooke St. Michaels this weekend after cementing fourth place in the United Counties Premier South table.
Valley edged out neighbours Coventry United with a 1-0 at Butlin Road last weekend as two of the three sides above them in the table dropped points.
Hinckley finally suffered their first UCL defeat of the season at home to Cogenhoe United before Newport Pagnell only managed to draw against Wellingborough in midweek.
However second-place Harborough won twice to increase the gap over Valley to eight points, to further diminish Rugby’s promotion chances.
A 62nd minute own goal by United’s Harry Sawyer was enough to earn Town a second consecutive 1-0 win although the margin of victory would have been greater but for an inspired performance from visiting goalkeeper Reece Francis.
Francis pulled off a string of impressive saves to keep the scores level – the pick of which saw him fingertip Dan Summerfield’s angled volley onto the crossbar.
The decisive goal came after good work by David Kolodynski released Caine Elliott down Rugby’s right, and the midfielder’s dangerous ball across the face of the goal was helped home by Sawyer under pressure from Danico Johnson.
Rugby returned from Northamptonshire with a relatively comfortable 3-1 victory in the reverse fixture against Bugbrooke who have since gone on a seven match unbeaten run which only ended at home to Easington last weekend.
With little more than a week to go to Valley’s crunch fifth round FA Vase tie at North Shields, there is encouraging news for manager Carl Adams with the potential return to action of influential full-back Luke English.
English was last seen in a Town shirt at Lutterworth seven weeks ago when he fractured his foot, but he warmed up with the matchday squad last Saturday and will be hoping to be on the bench for this weekend’s Bugbrooke fixture.
Rugby host Bugbrooke on Saturday, January 5 with kick-off at 3pm at Butlin Road.
Valley has lost yet another one of its valued family with the passing of lifelong fan and volunteer Jim Dand, aged 94.
Jim had followed the club home and away across seven decades, travelling thousands of miles across the country in the process.
Town Director Mike Yeats said: “The last year has seen a number of important and instrumental characters taken from us – including Tony Mann, Ron Sheppard, Rev.Ken Baker and now Jim.
“Jim was Valley through and through, and he was an active fundraiser over the years and we send our thoughts to his family at this sad time.”