Gorleston 0 – 1 Kempston
A first half Gareth Hunt goal was enough to separate the teams in this FA Cup tie.
Kempston Rovers progressed to the First Qualifying Round of the FA Cup for fifth successive season with a single goal victory away at a spirited Gorleston side.
Rovers arrived in Norfolk naming the same starting eleven that won on the opening day of the season last weekend to play against a Gorleston team who currently sit bottom of the Eastern Counties league with three defeats from three and a minus thirteen goal difference.
Rovers looked sharp early on and nearly took a fifth minute lead as Cameron Hyde threaded a ball up the left flank for Jake Newman to chase, the forward looked up and saw the keeper out of position and fired first time from the wide position, beating Milligan but not the post from a long distance.
Around the quarter hour, there was a lengthy stoppage in play as Gorleston’s Blake required a stretcher after an innocuous looking slip in the middle of the park under no pressure.
Midway through the half, Rovers had three chances in quick succession, first Newman flicked on to Izale McLeod, who saw his snap shot saved.
Newman then found himself in behind the defence after a smart turn, his right foot shot was saved and as the ball fell back to him, his left foot effort was cleared blocked.
Kempston were dominating the game and in the twenty fourth minute saw Jordan Wright head wide from a corner. just under ten minutes from half time, Rovers did take the lead.
McLeod had drifted to a wide position on the left and pulled the ball back into Newman on the corner of the box.
Newman found a gap and curled a delicious outside of the foot cross into the area, where it was met on the full by Gareth Hunt to power home for the only goal of the game.
In ten minutes of first half stoppage time, both McLeod and Newman had further chances to add to Rovers lead, but couldn’t get shots on target and Gorleston suffered a second injury blow with Burrage forced to come off.
The second period had barely begun when a third change was forced on the hosts, this time Brown needing to leave the field.
Rovers found that they could not match the pace and intensity of their first half display in the Bank Holiday weekend heat and allowed the hosts to come back into the game.
Midway through the second half, Gilfedder had a shot cleared off the Rovers line by Lewis Jones before Watts forced Kempston Keeper Carl Knox into a smart save across to his left.
Just before the hour mark, Newman was fed by McLeod but as the livewire forward bore down on goal, he couldn’t get the shot inside the far post and it whistled across the goal.
Tabakovic fired just wide for the hosts, looking for all the world as if the ball would creep in at the far post, from the resulting corner, Gorleston did have the ball in the net, however the referee blew his whistle long before for a foul on Knox.
A decision that didn’t go down too well with the fans behind the goal. Five minutes from time, a sweeping Kempston counter attack nearly brought a second goal.
Sub Evan Beldon squared the ball back to fellow sub Harry Stratton, who waited for Cameron Hyde on the overlap on the left hand side.
Hyde’s shot from a very tight angle grazed the crossbar on its way over.
As Gorleston pressed forward for the goal their second half endeavour probably deserved, there were gaps for Rovers on the counter attack.
Jake Newman nearly capitalised three minutes from time, as his snap shot needed to be cleared off the line by Ellis and in stoppage time as Stratton tried to bustle forward, the ball was played back to Milligan in the home goal by Pinherio, there were huge shouts for the back pass, but the match officials were unmoved.
The victory earns Rovers a tidy sum in prize money and a guaranteed place in the First Qualifying round draw, made on Tuesday.
Credit must go to Gorleston, their performance, especially second half, hugely belied their league position and current form.
Next up for Rovers is a Bank Holiday Monday date with St. Neots Town at Hillgrounds. The Reserves are also in midweek action and travel to Raunds Town on Tuesday night.
Subs: Stratton, McGrath, Beldon
Subs: Barnes, Gilfedder, Pinherio (not used Hemmings, Allan, Hannant, Rich)
Att – 107
Rovers MOM – Gareth Hunt
Words: Matthew Willmot