Daventry Town 2 – 1 Kempston Rovers
Kempston travelled to Daventry for this fixture naming the same match day squad from Saturday’s opening day win over Didcot Town.
The game was in its infancy when the first moment of contention occurred.
Izale McLeod was making a nuisance of himself on the edge of the box and through his control and lay off, the ball clearly hit the arm of a Daventry defender.
The match officials, however, were on the blind side of the incident and nothing was given.
Rovers keeper Carl Knox then made three superb saves within fifteen minutes to keep the scores level.
First denying Creaney’s snap shot, then keeping out a corner before spectacularly denying Emery after he cut inside and looked to finish low.
Cameron Hyde nearly caught Cerga napping in the home goal with a whipped in free kick from a wide position.
The keeper was a mere spectator as the ball dipped just over the bar, had it have been on target he would not have saved it.
Just before the half hour mark, Daventry skipper Harris needlessly tripped McLeod and got the caution that had been coming for some time.
From the resultant free kick, Gareth Hunt brilliantly curled the ball in from fully twenty five yards, leaving Cerga flapping and Rovers in the lead.
Not so much bend it like Beckham, but guide it like Gareth. Knox produced a magnificent double save to deny Orosz and Emery in quick succession and then another splendid block to thwart Creaney from close quarters.
Orosz then hit an effort from the edge of the box that Knox acrobatically got the finest of touches on to tip on to the post.
Rovers could hang on no longer, as from the corner, Harris found himself unmarked at the far post to divert the set piece home to level the scores.
One all perhaps favouring Kempston at the break on the balance of play.
In the early moments of the second half, Daventry thought they had a penalty as George Boland committed a clumsy challenge on Emery, but despite having a clear view, the referee awarded a goal kick.
The challenge appeared to have taken more man than ball, Boland with a lucky escape this time.
On the hour mark, the niggling nature of the game to that point exploded with former Rovers man Aaron King lunging in with studs up on Gareth Hunt.
The veteran forward was quite rightly shown a straight red card for the appalling challenge. Kempston had half an hour to capitalise against the ten men, but Hunt could play no further part thanks to King.
Daventry appeared to be galvanised by the sending off and showed a dogged determination and some good pressing to keep themselves competitive in the game.
With just over ten minutes to play, they were handed the chance to win the game. Emery closed down Knox in possession, forcing the keeper to make a mistake and clumsily bring him down for the penalty.
Emery dusted himself down and dispatched the kick beyond Knox to give the hosts an unlikely lead in the circumstances.
As the game wound down, Daventry stood firm and managed to repel Kempston’s attacking threat to salvage the game.
On the final whistle, Rovers were stoic in defeat, knowing that but for Knox’ astonishing amount of top drawer saves earlier in the game it could’ve been a very different evening.
Rovers attention now turns to the FA Cup at the weekend and a trip to Gorleston, meaning knotted hankies and board shorts are at the ready for the seaside adventure.
Bank holiday Monday sees a quick turnaround for Kempston as they host St. Neots Town. On Tuesday evening, the Reserves travel to Raunds Town.
Substitutions: Wright, Campbell, Beldon (unused McGrath, Shepherd)
Substitutions: Lukeman, Stanbridge, J.Orosz (not used Liburd, Jackson)
Words: Matthew Wilmott