MANAGER Carl Adams says Rugby Town’s lofty goal difference could prove crucial come the end of the season.
Valley were 4-3 winners of a dramatic encounter with promotion rivals Deeping Rangers at Butlin Road last weekend, recovering from 3-1 down to go top of the league thanks to a 95th-minute own goal.
It gave Rugby a 13th win of the campaign, pitting them at the summit of the United Counties League Premier Division for the first time this season, albeit having played five games more than nearest rivals Shepshed Dynamo.
Adams believes fortunes are starting to tip in his side’s favour, and said: “Other teams at the top are dropping points, a bit like we did at the start of the season, and of course this has worked in our favour over the last few weeks.
“It may be a cliche, but we’ve just got to take things a game at a time and concentrate on our own performances and results, and continue the outstanding form that we have been in of late.”
The latest win was Rugby’s fifth in succession, a run in which Adams’ men have hit the back of the net 17 times. Understandably, the Valley manager believes the strength in attack can be a deciding factor at the end of the season.
“We’re averaging just short of five goals a game over the past eight fixtures,” Adams said.
“That’s really boosted our goal difference – it could be crucial come the end of the season.”
The early chances in Saturday’s clash were plentiful, with one of the best falling to Cameron Johnson, who fluffed his lines when missing the target after rounding goalkeeper Matt Hill for the visitors.
Deeping took the lead on 12 minutes when Cameron Johnson converted from the spot after Jamal Clarke had brought the striker down in the penalty area.
Valley responded positively and soon levelled when Liam Francis nudged the ball home after Clarke’s header hit the crossbar following a corner.
While the hosts enjoyed the better openings, they were unable to make the most of them and were punished shortly before the interval.
Tom Garrick’s header sailed beyond Hill to give Deeping a foundation to build upon after the break, which they did seven minutes into the second half when Scott Mooney lobbed the ball into the net.
Ryan Seal provided a lifeline three minutes later after he picked out the corner from Dylan Parker’s cut back as the game remained wide open.
It was Parker who provided the equaliser when punishing the visitors for failing to clear a Seal free kick five minutes from time.
And with the game seemingly dwindling out to a draw, a James Hancocks cross caused two inadvertent touches from Rangers’ Lewis Elsom and Luke Hunnings to send the ball into the Deeping net to win the game for Rugby.
Another big test lies in wait on Saturday (3pm), when Valley welcome third-placed Quorn, a side who slipped up in a 2-1 defeat to Boston Town in their last fixture.
A trip to Rothwell Corinthians, who are currently 14th, then awaits Adams and co. on Tuesday night (7.45pm).