Derby disappointment as Kempston Rovers suffer first defeat in five to AFC Dunstable

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AFC Dunstable scored two first half goals to take the spoils in this Bedfordshire Derby game, which despite the high tempo and blood and thunder spirit, lacked the usual intensity that this fixture brings.

Unlike both previous seasons, neither of the two sides could harbour even outside hopes of the play offs at this stage of the campaign, this was a mid-table end of season fixture.

The game opened with a flurry of activity, as both sides looked to impose themselves on proceedings.

It took a while for the first real effort on either goal, which came from Cameron Hyde, who dragged his shot across goal on twenty seven minutes.

Moments later, a long ball caused chaos at the back for the visitors, but Josh Crawley couldn’t capitalise on the confusion and bouncing ball as Dan Green was smartly off his line to smother any danger.

The familiar Dunstable forward line of Christie and Hall, once of Rovers, looked for all the world to have opened the scoring just after the half hour, but Christie’s cross was just beyond the reach of Hall’s outstretched boot.

Ten minutes from the break and the visitors were gifted the chance to open the scoring; a corner was played in and while trying to control the loose ball, Tony Burnett fell to ground.

The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, despite protests. Christie took the mantle and dispatched the kick low to the keeper’s right, sending Knox the wrong way.

The same player doubled the lead, right on half time. Dunstable choosing to go route one, flicking the ball on in midfield for Christie to latch on to, hold off the challenge and powerfully finish past the advancing Knox.

Cameron Hyde had one final chance in the half for Rovers in stoppage time, but sliced his shot wide of the near post when put through.

Just before the hour mark, Dan Green had his first serious save to make.

Dan Akubuine’s fierce low drive from the edge of the box was too hot for the giant keeper to hold first time, but he recovered before the loose ball could trickle over the line.

Rovers were beginning to create a little more going forward and tested Green again as Michael Fisher and Dean Dummett combined on the edge of the box, allowing the former to shoot from the edge of the box.

Midway through the second period, Dunstable should have put the game out of sight, Christie powerfully moved by his man and got in behind Rovers, squaring the ball to Hall. Lewis Jones produced a superhuman piece of blocking to deny the visitors a certain goal.

The visitors began to manage the game and the clock carefully as the match entered it’s final throws. Rovers were cast a lifeline with six minutes remaining however, Josh Crawley fed the ball to Dean Dummett.

The elegant midfielder lined up the shot from the edge of the box, which was deflected up and through to Crawley, who had continued his run into the box.

A simple placed volley was enough to beat Green and half the deficit. The visitors were appealing for an infringement earlier in the build up.

Rovers attempted to huff and puff toward a late leveller, but could not blow the house down. The visitors closing out a two one victory, not a classic, but an entertaining afternoon.

Defeat drops Kempston one place to thirteenth in the table with three games to play.

The Easter weekend schedule sees The Walnut Boys travel to Berkhamsted on Saturday, the same day that both clubs Development sides meet at Hillgrounds, ahead of Easter Monday’s home game with North Leigh.

Rovers:

  • Knox
  • Akubuine
  • Hyde
  • Wright
  • Powell
  • Jones
  • Boland
  • Dummett
  • Crawley
  • Fisher
  • Joseph

Subs

  • Shepherd
  • Andrews
  • Beldon
  • (not used Mercer, Lee)

Dunstable:

  • Green
  • Baird
  • Ajayi
  • Fryer
  • Carney
  • Tavernier
  • Griffiths
  • Powell
  • Christie
  • Hall
  • Burnett

Subs

  • Roberts
  • Cashman
  • Abraham
  • (not used Frater)

Words: Matthew Wilmot