In many ways, this was a highly disproportionate battle. Those insurgents fighting under the banner of Robin of Redesdale were largely inexperienced, while those traveling from Wales with Pembroke were professional spears-men.
The problem lay in that last word. The Welsh had a reputation throughout Europe for their prowess on the battlefield, but only in archery. The formidable Welsh archers were mostly ten miles away in the camp of the Earl of Devon.
Nevertheless, for much of the battle it seemed that the Welsh would win on behalf of Edward IV. Especially when the man hailed as Robin of Redesdale was overwhelmed and killed. He turned out to be Sir James Conyers, son of one of Warwick's men in York.
However, just when Pembroke's forces were about to finish the day, the distinctive war-cry of the Earl of Warwick was heard in the distance. The Welsh reformed in a defensive position. The rebels surged forward, morale high and convinced that the famous and ferocious Warwick was coming.
He wasn't. It was a mere vanguard of a small troop, made up largely of Warwick's household. Had the Welsh ignored their cry, they would have won the day. Had they not returned to their defensive position, they would have won. Had the rebels hung on to check precisely who was coming, the Welsh would have won. Had the Earl of Devon caught up with his archers, the Welsh would have won.
In the event, the uncertainty meant that the Welsh were trapped in their defenses, with no archers to stem the tide of rebels approaching. Between 2,000 and 5,000 Celts were killed within an hour. None fled, they fought to the bitter death.
And then the Earl of Devon arrived. But seeing the carnage, he immediately sounded the retreat. Thousands of men from Gloucester, Wiltshire and Devon, plus the Welsh archers, fled south and west for home.