Rovers take three points for a Merry Christmas
Kempston rallied from a goal down to win with style against Moneyfields
Josh Crawley and Luke Heneghan scored wonder goals in this tough encounter to seal a sensational turnaround victory for the Walnut Boys against combative opponents in the last game before Christmas, and indeed last home game of the year.
For those that don’t remember or weren’t there, Moneyfields were our hosts on the opening day of the season. Rovers were extremely unfortunate not to come away with a point, despite playing much of the game with only nine men as they fell victim to Moneyfields’ tactics.
The referee was in action as early as the sixth minute when he had to sort out some afters following an innoculous challenge. Jordan Lee was shown a yellow card for Rovers for his part in the transgretions and there was a yellow card shown for the visitors but it was unclear who to. The visitors were the better in the opening ten minutes, despite arriving at the ground late, and were in front on the nine minute mark. Rovers switched off for a throw in which allowed Joe Briggs in to score the opening goal. Rovers dug in and responded to the physical tactics that the visitors were emplying and matched them in the challenge. Nathan Tshikuna rode several challenges, interplaying with Crawley and Jamaine Ivy before his shot unfortunately hit the side netting. On the half hour, Jake Newman had a chance from the edge of the area, but the defender closing him down did enough to take all the sting out of the shot. Shortly afterward, Luke Heneghan put an excellent cross in to the area looking for Newman, who appeared to have been fouled as he burst in to the box. The forward couldn’t believe that none of the officials saw the foul. As Rovers pressed forward more, Crawley had a volley saved superbly by Mowthorpe in the away goal. In the thirty eighth minute, the pressure told. A ball into the box found its way to Jamaine Ivy, who found the half yard he needed to get a shot away. It trickled gleefully into the bottom corner for the equaliser. Jake Newman appeared to be book in the celebrations trying to retrieve the ball. As the half wore on, Tshikuna saw a cross headed off the line, before in stoppage time; a needlessly conceded free kick gave Luke Heneghan a chance on the edge of the area. The midfielder stepped up and curled the ball deliciously into the top corner leaving Mowthorpe no chance.
Rovers carried their momentum into the second period. Firm challenges from Kyal McNulty, Seb Simpson and McNulty again regained the ball for the hosts and allowed Crawley to cross in to the box, finding Tshikuna, who unluckily shot wide. This was a different Rovers from the one that played on Tuesday night, clearly. There was fire in their eyes. Just before the hour mark, Kempston made the game safe. A flick on from Newman saw Josh Crawley run clear on goal. The ball sat up perfectly for him to caress it up and over the advancing keeper from the edge of the box for a gloriously lobbed goal. Mistakes began to occur for the visitors as a panicked clearance hit against Heneghan had the keeper scrambling back to prevent a calamitous goal. On seventy minutes, Martin Conway came out to collect a hopeful long punt upfield. Having caught the ball, he was then needlessly kicked by Pennery, who could’ve received worse than the yellow card he got. Josh Crawley headed wide from a free kick late on. Brett Poate found his name in the referee’s notebook as well near the end for a reckless lunge. Sub Ben Shepherd also found his name in the book in stoppage time for a late tackle. Rovers were roared from the field at full time for their steely, determined performance. Rovers’ fans stayed long into the night, enjoying the Supporters Club Race Night along with the victory.
The result lifts Rovers back up to seventh place ahead of two tough looking games. Rushden & Diamonds is the destination on Boxing day, 3pm kick off. Before we kick off the new year with a visit from high-flying Cambridge City.
Rovers would like to thank fans for their support in 2017, have a very merry Christmas.
Man of the Match – Kyal McNulty – although every single player deserves credit for this performance and their commitment and desire to win today.