Robbins delivers knockout blow on boxing day
Kempston scored early but were undone by a first half hattrick in front of a bumper bank holiday crowd.
The pitch at Hayden Road passed a pitch inspection ahead of this game and even survived a floodlight failure to ensure the hosts stayed top of the league in this tough encounter. The heavens opened in the second half and left the majority of the 679 crowd looking rather damp come full time.
Diamonds began the better and could’ve scored three times in the first five minutes, early chances calling to Gyasi, Farrell and Lorraine came and went before it was Rovers that took the lead. Luke Heneghan threaded the ball into former Diamond Jake Newman who took aim low and across the goal to open the scoring. The metaphorical equivalent of throwing a hand grenade into a hornets nest. The lead lasted ten minutes, Lorraine flicked on for Robbins who held off his man to beat Martin Conway at the near post for one one. Two minutes later, Heneghan found himself in the notebook, perhaps fortunate that it was only yellow, after a lunging challenge on Punter. Rovers found themselves behind midway through the half, as Robbins found himself with the time and space to bear down on goal after possession was given away cheaply. He measured the finish low across Conway into the far corner of the net. Kempston had chances to get back level, Nathan Tshikuna and Seb Simpson troubled the Rushden goal before the highlight of the game. Just after the half hour, Robbins received the ball on the edge of the area, wide to the right. He pulled the ball down out of the air, turned and launched a rocket shot into the roof of the net, Conway seemed to be deceived by the movement of the ball in the air. The superb Fairlamb had a stinging shot saved late on, before Robbie Goodman saw a stoppage time effort flash wide.
The second half was eight minutes old when the floodlights went out suddenly. The referee immediately took the players off the field. It is to the credit of Diamonds that there was only a fifteen minute delay for the game to be restarted. The enforced break in the play seemed to do Rovers the world of good as they came out and started to play with more composure and created some really good chances. A corner resulted in a good old fashioned goal mouth scramble that saw Jamaine Ivy stab wide. Jake Newman saw an effort flash wide of the post. Diamonds began to regain their edge and could’ve extended the lead as on sixty five minutes, a free kick was whipped in and headed on by Farrell. The ball flew just wide. With fifteen minutes to go, the game was almost ended in cruelly fortuitous circumstances. A clearance by Martin Conway fell straight to Robbins, who instinctively hit it back toward goal with Conway struggling to recover his position. The ball rolled just, and it was millimeters in it, wide. The game continued in a lively fashion with both sides playing some good football in increasingly poor conditions. Goodman and Alex Collard proved solid at the back as Diamonds were limited to half chances as the game wore on. After three minutes of added time, the game was over. over the game, the Rovers performance was superb in the face of the league’s most in-form side. Jake Newman’s goal was the first that Diamonds had conceded in seven games.
AFCRDTV filmed the game. Highlights can be found here
Rovers finish the calendar year in seventh place after today’s results, four points off the play off places. There are several sides that have played less games around Rovers, so it will be interesting to watch the table level out over the spring. The first game of the new year for Kempston will be on new year’s day at home to high-flying Cambridge City.
Happy New Year to all our supporters.