Rovers succumbed to their eighth defeat in nine since Christmas at the hands of neighbours Bedford Town in a local derby clash at The Bright Management Eyrie, as Bedford Town turned around their poor form to climb to 14th in the Southern League Central Division One.
The opening stages of the game were the archetypal ‘blood and thunder’ of what derby games typically evoke within the souls of all connected with football.
An early flash point came in the twentieth minute when returning Rovers keeper Carl Knox tangled with a Bedford forward he was convinced had gone to ground easily; and was shown a yellow card for his troubles.
Moments later, Kempston had their only real opportunity of the half, Andrew Phillips put clean through on goal, rounded Schmid and was about to pull the trigger before he fell to ground, adamant the keeper had fouled him. To Kempston’s dismay, the referee booked Phillips for diving and the penalty was denied.
Bedford began to turn the screw and eventually had the reward that their pressure had deserved seven minutes before half time. Connor Tomlinson firing across goal from distance into the corner of the net after being given too much time on and space on the ball.
The second half mirrored the first in terms of quality and direction of play, with the hosts comfortably holding Kempston at bay without seriously threatening to kill the game off.
However, in stoppage time, with Kempston looking to create the chance of an unlikely point, Bedford struck the killer blow.
An initial effort from the ever dangerous Tomlinson was denied by Knox, span up into the air and caused all kinds of confusion on the goal line between two defenders and ex-Rovers front man Newman saw the ball bundled over the line. The goal was credited to Tomlinson.
The 2-0 win picks Bedford up out of their recent slump and completes their first ever league double over Rovers, but the thirteen point gap to the play-offs looks insurmountable for the Eagles in the remaining games.
Rovers sit ever more uncomfortably at the wrong end of the table having collected only four points from the last twelve games.
Mercifully, thanks to a restructure of the leagues in the coming summer, only the bottom placed club need to fear the drop this season. Kempston currently sit thirteen points clear of Wantage Town with eleven games to go in 19th place.
Next up for Kempston are 3rd placed Corby Town, looking to avenge the shock defeat that Rovers inflicted on them back in November to end their unbeaten start to the season, while Bedford Town host Bedworth United with both teams looking to reignite their slim play-off hopes.
1 Knox, 2 Hunt, 3 Marsh, 4 Wright ©, 5 Bailey, 6 Nicholls, 7 Johnson, 8 Goodman, 9 Phillips, 10 Dahie, 11 Baker
Subs 12 Stratton, 14 Birch, 15 Shortt (unused Mienambolo, Hudson)
1 Schmid, 2 Sinclair, 3 Hall, 4 Mensah, 5 Watson, 6 Harriott, 7 Draper, 8 Donnelly ©, 9 Calcutt, 10 Tomlinson, 11 Walker
Subs 12 Hitchcock, 14 Newman, 16 Stephens-Abbey (unused Steele, Magagada)
Attendance – 341