RUGBY TOWN gear up for their third successive fixture at Butlin Road this weekend when they welcome Harborough, following on from last weekend’s thrashing of Wellingborough Town.
A 7-1 victory over ten-man Wellingborough included a hat-trick for Charlie Evans – his second of the season, adding to Liam Francis, Lewis Rankin, Harry Holloway and Simeon Tulloch strikes.
It followed from the 4-1 success over Kirby Muxloe in the first fixture of the successive home ties, and will be hopeful of making it a third win in a row at Butlin Road considering their 4-1 away win over Saturday’s opponents in September.
The 7-1 victory witnessed last weekend was their biggest since September 2013, when Dave Stringer’s Rugby team dismantled Chertsey 8-1.
It was also a landmark moment for Rankin – who overtook the departed Danico Johnson as the club’s top league scorer this season with 15 goals, but still requires another five to level Johnson’s outlay in all competitions this term.
Remarkably though, five goals of their seven scored against 13th placed Wellingborough Town came in the final eight minutes of play.
Francis and Rankin netted first-half strikes to make it a comfortable outlook at the break, before Carlos Lewis netted from a corner shortly after the restart to make proceedings more interesting.
Ultimately, the visitors chances of a comeback were gone when Troy Johnston saw red for a studs-up challenge on Edwin Ahenkorah, but they would keep the scores at 2-1 until the final ten minutes.
When a third arrived in the 82nd minute from Evans, with his first of the game, it was clear that Rugby would secure the points – but no one could have foreseen the subsequent goal blitz that ensued.
Holloway made it four two minutes after when placing a shot into the corner from the edge of the penalty area, assisted by Ahenkorah, who then teed up Evans for his second goal.
Evans then secured a six-minute hat-trick with a header from close-range for Town’s sixth, before Tulloch burst through on goal from a deep position to slip the ball past the keeper.
Rugby’s next opponents Harborough are currently on a two-game winning streak, beating Leicester Nirvana in a dramatic 5-4 game after a single-goal victory against Sleaford last weekend.
A Danico Johnson hat-trick was added to by Romario Martin in Valley’s previous win against them in a Preliminary Round tie of the League Cup.
Town’s promotion rivals Daventry and Deeping picked up wins at the weekend to ensure the situation remains the same for the top three.
Table toppers Daventry beat Cogenhoe United 4-2 away; while second-placed Deeping beat Oadby Town away 2-0 before a 2-1 home victory against Desborough Town on Tuesday night.
Valley remain ten points behind Daventry, and are six points behind Deeping, but have a game in hand, as the promotion race begins to head for the final straight with 13 games left to play.
Next Tuesday’s fixture at Rothwell Corinthians (19th February) will even up the number of games played between the three, and help make the promotion picture a lot more clearer.
A club coach to Rothwell will leave Butlin Road at 5.30 p.m, fans are urged to contact Tony Mann on 07970 691366 for informaton regarding travelling.