Rugby Town round off home games with visit of struggling Chenecks

Rugby Town have their final home outing of the season on Saturday, when relegation-threatened Northampton Chenecks visit Butlin Road, writes Jon Venner.

James Hancocks scoring Rugby's penalty against Wellingborough Picture by Martin Pulley

Town then play their penultimate fixture of the campaign when they travel to Easington Sports on Easter Monday afternoon.

Valley's run of four straight victories ended at the weekend, when they drew 2-2 at home to Wellingborough.

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Town had twice come from behind to exit at the interval on level terms, with a Jack O'Connor own goal cancelling out the visitors' fifth minute opener thanks to Tom Iaciofano's header and then a James Hancocks' penalty equalising again after Matt Long had scored an excellent, instinctive effort from distance.

Jamal Clarke was an attacking threat from corners

The second half was much less eventful affair though - aside from the dismissal of Rugby full-back Harry Eden just past the hour mark, leaving Town boss Carl Adams to reflect: "Without the sending off, I was confident that we would have gone on to win the game.

"After the red card, it became more a matter of making sure we didn't lose, although I thought even with ten men we were the better side."

Town's best chance of snatching a winner came when the lively Adam Shaw and Madundo Semahimbo were both denied by Wellingborough blocks in quick succession, but the draw did maintain Rugby's four point cushion over Coventry Sphinx after the local rivals only managed a draw themselves at Eynesbury.

Newport Pagnell's midweek defeat at Oadby further boosted Valley's chances of another third place finish - having finished there in their 2018/19 UCL debut season and again in the curtailed Covid 2019/20 campaign.

Adam Shaw provided some pace upfront against Wellingborough PICTURES BY MARTIN PULLEY

Saturday's visitors Chenecks currently occupy the drop zone three points behind their other rivals for relegation Biggleswade - who Rugby comfortably saw off by a 5-0 margin at the end of March.

Eden will not feature again for Town as a result of his three match ban for the Wellingborough dismissal, with Adams likely to either shift Hancocks back into a defensive role to cover for his absence or reintroduce skipper Loyiso Recci following his long lay-off through injury.

Adams added: "I had been hoping to give Loyiso some minutes on Saturday, but didn't want to risk it once we had been reduced to ten."

Luke English was pushed in the back for penalty
Madundo Semahimbo had a lively game on the left wing