Collard steals the show against his former side
Alex Collard put in a battling man of the match display, including scoring the winning goal, against his former side to quiet the dissenting voices among the home crowd.
Kempston Rovers came away from this fixture with three vital points and a clean sheet as the home manager Ben Williams admitted after the game that the Walnut Boys back four and keeper were “the best organised unit” that he had come across this season, which included one of his former players in Alex Collard.
Rovers could’ve taken the lead as early as thirty nine seconds, as from the kick off, the ball was played forward and worked out wide. Luke Heneghan cross into the box, where the ball was nodded back toward goal by Robbie Goodman. Jamaine Ivy then laid the ball back to Seb Simpson who just couldn’t keep his shot down. Jake Newman then had a shot hit the side netting, still within the first ninety seconds. The home side took until the quarter hour to register a meaningful attack, Hirst beat the offside trap to cross for Seaton, who saw his shot blocked by Alex Collard. Collard, returning to face his former side for the first time since joining Rovers in December, had to tolerate taunts and cat-calls from his former fans with every touch of the ball. In the twentieth minute, Ieuan Riley was shown a yellow card for a lunging challenge. With less than ten minutes to go of the half, Rovers made the breakthrough. A Luke Heneghan corner was met by Robbie Goodman. The header was blocked on the line and in the ensuing melee, Alex Collard struck goalwards. Young Aylesbury debutant keeper Sampat did his best to deflect the shot wide, but it trickled agonisingly inside the post. It was Collard’s first goal for Rovers in his seventh appearance, silencing the dissenting home fans. Collard proved a hero at the other end of the pitch before the break, recovering well to tackle Hirst when the forward was bearing down on goal. In first half stoppage time, Riley received a last warning from the referee after a perceived high foot on Hogg in the middle of the park. The Ducks midfielder went down clutching his face, but received treatment to the shoulder. Rovers led one nil at the break.
At the start of the second half, Rovers withdrew Riley to replace him with Nathan Tshikuna. The young attacker nearly made an instant impact, with a long range shot on goal in the fifty fifth minute, Sampat dealt with it well in the Ducks goal. On the hour mark, Jake Newman found himself free wide on the left, his pull back cross found Seb Simpson in the D on the edge of the box, the Kempston captain checked back on to his left foot and curled the ball toward goal. With the keeper rooted to the spot, the ball came back off the post. With fifteen minutes left on the clock, there was a worrying moment for Kempston as keeper Carl Knox came out to meet a deep cross, bravely blocking the attack but taking the full force of a boot to the chest. Thankfully, he was able to see out the game, moments later producing a crucial save from Ducks’ sub Berry to keep Rovers in front. Jake Newman would’ve hoped for better with a late chance, blazing over when he had done the hard part and wiggled himself through on goal. In the eighty ninth minute, Rovers sealed the points. A poor throw out from Sampat was seized upon by Luke Heneghan. The creative midfielder drove with the ball toward the edge of the box before unleashing a daisy cutter in to the near bottom corner of the net. As Rovers celebrated, home fans made for the exits, making sure that the home bench knew exactly what they thought of their new goalkeeper. In stoppage time, Rovers had the chance to add gloss to the scoreline, as Newman was threaded through by Heneghan. The forward did everything right as he rounded the keeper, but he paid the price for wanting to check back and finish with his left foot, allowing a defender to get back and clear off the line. Man of the match Collard finished the game with a bloody nose after a clash of heads in stoppage time before right at the death, Alex Stoyles threw his body on the line to manfully block an Aylesbury shot and help preserve the clean sheet.
With the other results of the day, Rovers stay in eleventh place despite the win. Next up is Monday night’s trip to Hitchin for the League Cup Quarter Final, kick off is at 7:45. Full preview of the tie is already on our website.