RUGBY Town’s lead at the top of the table was cut to two points after Valley suffered a damaging 1-0 home defeat against Newport Pagnell Town on Non-League Day.
Albie Hall’s second-half penalty settled a close game against Newport at Butlin Road with Valley winless in their last three league matches.
Rugby led the table by 16 points at the start of February and have been at the United Counties League Premier Division South summit since October.
However, Valley would drop to second should Coventry Sphinx win their game in hand against Cogenhoe United on Tuesday night (March 28).
The home side came within inches of taking the lead in the first half when Jordan Wilson glanced a header against the inside of the post.
And Newport scored the game’s only goal on 56 minutes when Hall converted from the penalty spot after Keenah Rosser fouled Jake Watkinson in the area after he was dispossessed close to his own box.
Valley struggled to create a clear-cut chance in response as Newport held on to secure a crucial win and blow the title race wide open.
Rugby are next in action away at Milton Keynes Irish on Saturday, April 1 with kick-off at 3pm at Manor Fields.