Rovers battle for a superb point
Kempston showed class and determination to take a point away from high-flying Cambridge City
A very hastily re-scheduled date with The Lilywhites saw the hosts simply re-use the programmes from Easter Monday. The pitch being passed fit to play less than an hour from the scheduled kick-off time. The game then had to be delayed anyway as not all the flood lights were working, perhaps some of that flood water was still causing mischief around the ground. There was an eyebrow raised when the team sheet was handed over too as the ‘C’ to indicate Jamaine Ivy as captain had been added to his name, leading to a pronunciation over the tannoy that you had to hear to believe.
The game started positively for Kempston, Josh Crawley having the first sight of goal, lobbing just over in the opening minutes, before Wilson for the hosts tested Martin Conway in the Rovers goal. Leading scorer Jake Newman had two big chances in the opening quarter hour, shooting wide from a long throw and then just failing to control a long ball over the top when through one on one. Jake was then cautioned for simulation in the penalty area after a coming together with Jordan Gent. It appeared to be a simple coming together of legs, but the referee had deemed Jake’s fall too dramatic. Newman had the last laugh however, as just on the half hour mark, a free kick was pumped long into the Cambridge area where a little head tennis ensued as City struggled to clear, before the ball fell invitingly for Rovers leading marksman to smash home from seven yards to put Rovers in front. Newman had two further chances in the half, out muscling his man to get onto an Alex Collard flick on before shooting just wide, and right at the whistle, being blocked as he attempted to fire a shot on the turn. On a very muddy, heavy surface it was difficult to tell which of the two sides were in the play offs as Rovers left the field having had much the better of the first period.
After the break, Cambridge came out the stronger and from a cheaply conceded free kick, Towner played the ball in where it was met by the head of Sharman. The league’s top scorer glanced a header into the top corner of the net to level the scores with barely a minute of the second half played. Ben Shepherd had a shot fly just wide from the edge of the area before City captain Paterson collided heavily with Robbie Goodman. The referee took into account the pitch conditions and decided that it wasn’t an intentionally reckless tackle and that the free kick was all that was merited. The two sides then proceeded to exchange chances for fun. Sub Luke Heneghan firing just wide either side of chances for City, falling to Seymore-Shove and Hall. Midway through the second half, City should’ve taken the lead. A ball down the right channel was chased down by Hall, who managed to keep the play alive as he played it square to Olukanmi, who was unmarked six yards out. The lively wide player somehow managed to lift the ball over the bar with Conway beaten. City then had the ball in the net, but Hall was judged to have been off side. Hall had a further chance to put the hosts in front for the first time on the night, but his lofted cross shot went just wide. Rovers rallied late on and Robbie Goodman linked up with Ivy on the edge of the area, before slipping a shot away across goal, only to see it blocked on the line. With four minutes of normal time remaining, Jake Newman found himself free in the area on the end of a right wing cross, his header falling just the wrong side of the post. Luke Heneghan volleyed just over from a half cleared throw before City broke to the other end and saw Sharman head inches wide. As the clock ticked into stoppage time, City sub Relizani worked an angle for a shot, blocked manfully by Robbie Goodman.
Rovers held out for the draw on a pitch that made any kind of football difficult and keeps Rovers in ninth place, still with an outside chance of the play offs. Seb Simpson’s late departure through injury will be a cause for concern ahead of this weekend’s game at home to Aylesbury. The Easter Saturday game against Hartley Wintney that was also postponed has been re-arranged for Tuesday the 24th April.
A special mention must go to Russell, a Scarborough Athletic fan working in Cambridge this week who came out to support Kempston this evening. He got involved, cheered and chanted for The Walnut Boys. We wish them well in their promotion push in their league this season.