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Johnson 7', 51', 54'
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Rugby Town

Wellingborough Whitworth
McCall 40'

Danico Johnson - Rugby Town 4-1 Wellingborough Whitworth - October 2018
Striker Danico Johnson netted his fourth hat-trick of the season to seal the points against Whitworths at a wet and cold Butlin Road

Saturday 27 October 2018

United Counties League Premier Division
Butlin Road, Rugby
Attendance 157
Valley Star Man

Valley maintained their excellent home league record with another high scoring victory against the struggling Northamptonshire opponents.

It was a stuttering first half display from Town though, despite being given a seventh minute lead by Danico Johnson - with Wellingborough levelling in the run up to the interval.

However a three goal blitz within six minutes early into the new period - including the completion of another Johnson hat-trick - saw Rugby once more coast to a Butlin Road three pointer

Dominic Perkins and Lewis Hayden returned to Carl Adams's starting line-up in place of Justin Marsden and Richard Bunting in two changes from the midweek cup defeat at Redditch, and Valley were soon ahead when Johnson capitalised on a defensive mix-up following a long clearance from deep inside the home side's half.

Whitworth full-back Callum Ward and keeper Adam Honour's subsequent poor inter-communication led to the ball falling into the path of Johnson, who easily stroked home into an unguarded net.

Honour did then do well in tipping over a swerving effort by Trey Brathwaite from more than twenty yards, ahead of an easy take to Stefan Blake's shot from a similar distance.

Aside from a Liam Francis strike which was disallowed for offside after Charlie Evans's initial goalbound header had been parried by Honour, Town failed to kick on from their early success.

The visitors had lacked any real threat themselves though, and there were thirty seven minutes on the clock until they registered their first attempt on goal when Carvell Jarvis's shot was deflected over for a corner.

However from the resulting set-piece by Ryan Baxter, Cal McCall did well to swivel and volley the ball past Matt Hill to equalise.

Therefore the hosts were in need of a significant uplift after the break if they were to maintain their 100% UCL home record, and they were certainly back on their game from the restart.

Lewis Rankin soon re-established Rugby's lead by showing quick feet to bamboozle a couple of Whitworth defenders before steering home from the edge of the area.

Rankin nearly scored again almost immediately after when he helped wide an Evans' cross, after the front man had done well to dispossess his marker.

It was not long before Valley's third though, with a strong run from Blake ending in a decent cross which Johnson rammed in. Three further minutes had passed when Rankin's on-target strike was blocked and Johnson secured another Town treble by powering home past Honour.

It was virtually one way traffic for the remainder of the encounter, but despite a number of good chances, the home side were unable to add to their tally.

Johnson smashed a great strike from distance against the crossbar, Rankin was denied by a last ditch clearance near the goal-line and Honour then saved from Johnson's effort from a tight angle.

A further chance for Johnson - after Rankin had played him in - saw him round Honour before lifting the ball wide.

Twice in close succession Honour used his legs to keep out potential Valley goals, with substitute Richard Blythe and Rankin the ones to miss out.

Rankin's audacious flick was also saved by the away keeper, whilst Rankin and Johnson both put chances wide in the closing stages - with Wellingborough's only real chance of the half coming earlier when McCall guided one over after a neat one-two with Dayne Wood.

Valley Line-up: Hill; Rosser, Brathwaite (Tulloch), Recci, Francis; Perkins (Blythe), Hayden (Steele), Blake; Rankin, Evans, Johnson. Subs not used: Kavanagh, Marsden. Booked: Perkins.

Wellingborough Line-up: Honour, Ward, Baxter, Jefferies, Purser, Mallows, Brittain, McCall, Judge, Giles, Jarvis. Subs: Charlton, Wood, Brown, Hazel, Baxter.


Valley Line-up - Rugby Town 4-1 Wellingborough Whitworth - October 2018
Photos: Martin Pulley
Dominic Perkins - Rugby Town 4-1 Wellingborough Whitworth - October 2018
Dominic Perkins was deployed in an unfamiliar midfield role against Whitworth at Butlin Road

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