RUGBY Town dropped more points in a stalemate away to Sleaford Town at the weekend, extending their winless run to three matches.
The result effectively ends their chances of the title, with a 13-point deficit between Valley and Daventry Town – who have played a game more.
Both of Rugby’s rivals earned wins at the weekend, meaning the battle to finish second is the more realistic aim for the rest of the season, with Deeping Rangers four points ahead of Carl Adams side.
A first-half strike by Simeon Tulloch put Rugby ahead in Sleaford, but the hosts clambered an equaliser through Ryan Oliver in the final 20 minutes.
Louis Connor replaced Matt Hill in goal, whilst Daniel Kavanagh appeared for his sixth league start at left-back.
Edwin Ahenkorah combined well to set up Charlie Evans for an early chance, which failed to trouble keeper Regan Start from 25-yards out.
The hosts threatened with a couple of chances of their own, before Tulloch opened the scoring after capitalising on some slack defending, placing the ball into the top-corner of the net.
Eli Bako, Liam Francis and and then Justin Marsden both squandered chances to extend the lead before the break, which would come back to haunt them despite opening the second-half in bright fashion.
Evans clattered the bar on the turn, whilst Bako was denied by Start.
Later, Dan Summerfield rising strike flew over the bar, moments prior to Tom Siddon flicking onto the onrushing Oliver to level for Sleaford.
It was a hammer blow, and despite the efforts of Valley to get the go-ahead goal for a second time, Loyiso Recci, Lewis Rankin, Summerfield and Evans were all denied chances to snatch a winner.
Rugby have to dust themselves down prior to visiting 15th-placed Boston Town, who were thrashed 5-2 in the reverse fixture back in August.
Adams will be boosted by the returning Dom Perkins, after his suspension was completed against Sleaford.
A club coach to Boston leaves outside Rugby School at 10:45am, and from Butlin Road at 11am – fans are advised to contact Tony Mann on 07970 691366 for more information.