Heneghan is the comeback king
A quickfire double from Luke Heneghan saw Kempston Rovers come from behind to win against Marlow
Kempston Rovers arrived at this fixture on the back of one defeat in four league games, looking to do the double over Marlow this season. The midweek defeat at Hitchin Town saw Rovers exit the League Cup at the quarter final stage, leaving Rovers with a clear run at the end of the season with one eye on the play off positions.
The game took a while to get going on a very heavy surface, Jamaine Ivy had the first half chance of the game with a flying header wide from a deep cross by Hateley Mercer on the quarter hour. On twenty minutes, Josh Crawley laid the ball off on the edge of the box for Jake Newman to hit first time, beating the keeper but not the far post. The ball came back off the upright and was cleared to safety. The visitors took the lead with their first attack of the game just before the half hour. English surged into the box from the right wing, cutting inside before releasing a shot that was too hot for Carl Knox to handle. The keeper’s parry bounced off the feet of Bell, who probably didn’t know too much about opening the scoring from seven yards. English saw a shot over the bar after a well worked throw in shortly afterwards. Seven minutes before the break, Marlow were looking to the referee as Bell went to ground in the area after bursting through. The official was unmoved and play continued. As the clock ticked into first half stoppage time, Ben Shepherd played through Crawley who shot low across the goal only to see the ball cleared from the goal line. In first half stoppage time Rovers should’ve levelled the score as a corner was headed down to Robbie Goodman, whose snap shot was blocked at point blank range by Grant in the Marlow goal, although Grant may not have known too much about it. Despite the late pressure in the half from Rovers, Marlow held the lead at the break.
The second half took a similar time to the first to get going, and much as the first half it was Rovers that looked to ignite the game first. Luke Heneghan played the ball into the box, where Jake Newman had perfectly beaten the offside trap, but couldn’t make enough contact on the ball to trouble Grant. Josh Crawley couldn’t quite get his foot to a Heneghan cross on sixty seven minutes. The game was to turn in the seventieth minute. A Rovers free kick was nodded down by Robbie Goodman to Josh Crawley, who flicked the ball toward Luke Heneghan. The midfielder directed the ball goalward and saw it bobble in after the keeper couldn’t get down to it quickly enough. Less that sixty seconds later, Crawley was free on the left hand side coming in to the box. Heneghan was free in the middle, screaming for the ball. He was duly found and tapped in from a handful of yards. Marlow rushed to the linesman, claiming offside, but the officials were unmoved and the goal stood. Marlow hit the post with fifteen minutes to go, a flick on a cross from the left hand side hit the far post before Hateley Mercer manfully blocked the follow up. As the game wore on, Marlow keeper Grant was booked for foul and abusive language to the referee and his assistant, before he completely air kicked a back pass from his full back – fortunately for him, the ball rolled wide of the goal. Jake Newman had a late header over the bar to seal the win, before in stoppage time Marlow sub Holder-Spooner was given a last warning for aggressive behaviour toward Robbie Goodman. Rovers held on to pick up back to back league wins.
In the bar afterwards, players and fans said their goodbyes to crowd favourite Samuel Johnson as the winger leaves to play for Lower Hutt City in New Zealand. His last act as a Rovers player was to name Hateley Mercer man of the match.
Next weekend, Rovers travel to Ashford Town (Middlesex). The next game at Hillgrounds will be against high-flying Beaconsfield Town on the 24th February at 3pm, where entry to the game is ‘pay what you want’.