Rugby Town 4–0 Walsall Wood

Rugby have picked up form just in time, and a thumping win has given them a slight advantage going into the final day of the season

Patrick Hollis
3 min readApr 21, 2024
Rugby Town gave themselves a huge chance of survival

The football season is hurtling towards its conclusion, and many teams are sitting nervously near the dreaded dotted line of the relegation zone. In the Pitching In Northern Premier League Midlands Division, two sides who before kick-off on Saturday sat on either side of the drop zone remain separated by just goal difference- and I caught one of them- Rugby Town- on what turned out to be a brilliant day.

Before kick-off, Rugby were one of three teams on 26 points. Gresley Rovers were bottom having played a game more and also locked in with them was AFC Rushden & Diamonds. Rugby came into this match against mid-table Walsall Wood on the back of a three-game unbeaten run, and this momentum would prove to be vital.

Butlin Road is a great ground, as I have written previous times this season. On a sun-kissed April afternoon, just under 300 people were in attendance, and with a fresh pint in hand, the players made their way out onto the pitch.

The home side’s intensity was clear from the off, they knew the importance of getting three points and giving them a fighting chance of survival. The opening goal arrived just 10 minutes in, a swinging Chris Clements corner was spilled by Walsall keeper Dale Eve, and centre back Liam Francis was on hand to head home. Jubilation and relief for the Valley.

Walsall had few chances all afternoon, but a snapshot from outside the box did need Pal Hathaway to be alert to parry the ball away. This was a wake-up call for the hosts, but their persistence at the other end was maintained despite this scare.

Mike Taylor was proving to be a nuisance to the Walsall defence, and he made a powerful run toward goal. The striker was brought down, and the ref had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Loyiso Recci, Rugby’s other centre-back, was on penalty duties and he dispatched the ball comfortably to give the hosts a well-earned 2–0 lead. Any lingering nervousness from this crowd had lifted, perhaps the pints played some part in that.

284 people watched on as Rugby Town ran out 4–0 winners

Halftime came and Rugby could take stock of a very good half of football- something that has been far too much of a novelty this season. AFC Rushden were 0–0 at this point, meaning at the break Rugby were clear of the drop zone by two points.

Much of the second half was spent with Walsall trying but failing to break down a stubborn Rugby backline. The game always looked and felt out of the visitors' reach, and two goals in the final 10 minutes put the match to bed.

With 83 minutes on the clock, the tricky Ryan Sahota was brought down in the box and The Valley were awarded their second spot kick of the afternoon. Recci returned to do the honours, and he tucked the ball into the bottom corner of Eve’s net. This was the match won for Rugby, but a clinical attacking display had time for a fourth.

Sahota fired a shot goalwards and Eve got a hand on the effort, but could only parry it back into play. Silvano Obeng was there to find the back of the net, and Rugby’s goal difference was given a huge boost that could, given how tight the bottom of the table is, could be huge come 5pm on April 27.

AFC Rushden & Diamonds snagged a late winner, meaning both they and Rugby go into the final day on 29 points. Rugby move out of the relegation zone on goal difference and are two better off than Diamonds. Rugby have a trip to Boldmere St Michaels, whilst Rushden travel to Walsall Wood. Just how it’ll go down, no one knows- but it will be dramatic either way.



Patrick Hollis

I am a journalist with an honours degree from Coventry University. I’m a published author and journalist with several years experience in the industry