Robbie Runs Riot
Kempston full back and fan favourite Robbie Goodman grabbed a twelve minute first half hat-trick as Rovers edged a thrilling encounter at Hillgrounds
An extraordinary afternoon at Kempston Rovers saw a seven goal thriller, in which five of the goals were scored by defenders, as The Walnut Boys tore up the form book to edge out promotion hopefuls Beaconsfield Town on a bitterly cold afternoon.
Kempston began the brighter of the two sides and had three early chances to take the lead, Jamaine Ivy was put through by Nathan Tshikuna and lobbed the on rushing Constable only to see his effort dip just wide of the post from the edge of the area. Ivy could’ve scored again on ten minutes, his shot somehow bundled wide after being set up by Josh Crawley. But it was the visitors who opened the scoring. Mitford latched on to an under-hit back pass from Seb Simpson and rounded Martin Conway before slotting home. Ben Shepherd saw a terrific free kick turned behind for a corner in somewhat unorthodox fashion by Constable. Kempston were level just before the half hour, Hateley Mercer wound up a long throw into the box, which was inadvertently flicked into the path of Robbie Goodman to smash home a volley at the far post. Tshikuna had a effort from the edge of the box moments later that was juggled to safety by an increasingly unsettled Constable in the Beaconsfield goal. Less than a minute later, Rovers took the lead. Patient build up play between Tshikuna and Ivy saw the latter roll the ball back to the on-rushing Goodman to sweep home across the goal. The lead lasted all of five minutes as Callum Webb broke a challenge and showed great composure to curl in an equaliser for the visitors. Five minutes before the break, Kempston re-took the lead. Beaconsfield had conceded a cheap free kick wide on the Rovers left, which was whipped in by Shepherd and turned home by a combination of Robbie Goodman and defender Peacock. Closer inspection of the match photography at half time confirmed Goodman’s as the crucial contribution for the defenders first ever Rovers hat-trick. Josh Crawley had a chance to extend the lead right on half time but his effort was wide of the target.
The second period began with a moment of confusion. Crawley was surging toward goal, cut inside two defenders and appeared to be clipped. A free kick was awarded to Beaconsfield for apparent simulation, leading to outcry among the Rovers players. The referee consulted his assistant, who had appeared to flag for a Kempston free kick, but the decision stood as a free kick to the visitors. No yellow card was shown to Crawley for the apparent dive, which left both sets of supporters bemused. Beaconsfield had two golden chances to level the scores, first a header over from sub Capela and then a cross-shot that just went wide of the far post from Pashaj. Jake Newman hit the side netting for Kempston before with twelve minutes to go, Beaconsfield conceded another cheap free kick on the edge of their box. Ben Shepherd stepped up to take and curled the ball into the top right hand corner beyond the desperate flail of Constable to make the game safe at four two. Kempston survived a late rally, despite a strong header from visiting captain Neville to pull a goal back, it was Kempston who had the more chances as the clock ticked down.
The victory keeps Rovers in tenth place, just behind the play off picture, which has blown wide open with the top four all losing on the same day. Rovers travel to nineteenth placed Hanwell Town next weekend before, in two weeks time, hosting Bedford Town.