Rugby Town's feint promotion hopes over after defeat by leaders Harborough Town

By Jon Venner

New signing Harry Eden
New signing Harry Eden

It looks like it is just pride left for Rugby Town to play for this season, after their failure to take any points off the current UCL Premier South leaders Harborough on Tuesday evening.

With just nine games of their 2021/22 league campaign now remaining, Valley lie nineteen points adrift of the table toppers and seventeen shy of the other potential promotion place holders Hinckley following Harborough's 2-0 Butlin Road success and Hinckley's 8-0 demolition of Bugbrooke at the same time.

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Tuesday's visitors had put in a dominant first half performance, before finally taking the lead on 43 minutes through Freddie Robinson's flicked header to a Josh Walsh free-kick.

The opening goal finally sparked Rugby into life, and both Adam Shaw and Alex Lock missed out on chances immediately after Robinson's strike.

The second period was a much more even affair though, and Town could have easily have got themselves level, with their best opportunities to do so coming from a Caine Elliott effort that drew a decent save from Elliott Taylor and an in-swinging Max Johnson corner that cannoned onto the back post, before just being scrambled away from the Bees goal-line.

Nat Ansu added Harborough's second on the break with three minutes of normal time remaining to seal Town's fate and limit them to the best realistic target of third come the end of April in the process.

Rugby are due to visit the current third place incumbents Newport Pagnell next Tuesday (15th) in a rearranged fixture following the postponement of the originally scheduled one last Saturday due to a waterlogged pitch.

Before that Town travel to mid-table Eynesbury Rovers this weekend, where they will be looking to complete a double over the Cambridgeshire club after securing a 3-1 home victory over them in October thanks to goals from Danico Johnson, Loyiso Recci and Edwin Ahenkorah.

Newport were also dispatched back down south with the same scoreline in their reverse fixture with Town six weeks later, with a Johnson brace and David Kolodynski strike doing the damage this time.

Valley boss Carl Adams has added to his squad for the run-in with last week's signing of left-sided Harry Eden from Northern Premier League Division One outfit Sutton Coldfield.

Eden made his Rugby debut at wing-back in Tuesday's Harborough defeat, having previously featured regularly for the Royals this season.

Following their two upcoming away games, Town then finish March with back-to-back weekend Butlin Road outings against Godmanchester and Biggleswade, before five final fixtures in the campaign concluding month of April.