Kempston Rovers blown off course after missed chances on blustery day

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Kemspton Rovers 3 – 3 Cranfield United

Kempston Rovers drew their pre-season campaign to a close at Cranfield United with a thrilling three all draw, that really should have been a win for the Walnut Boys.

As early as the fifth minute, Rovers should have taken the lead, Ben Shepherd striking the post from a considered free kick attempt.

The hosts managed to capitalise on some slack play at the back by Rovers on the quarter hour, winning the ball back before slipping the shot beyond Knox to take the lead.

The lead lasted nine minutes, as a corner whipped in by Cameron Hyde was flicked on by Izale McLeod, poked goalward by Alfie Powell before receiving a final touch from a Cranfield boot to nestle in the back of the net.

Rovers completed the turn around three minutes later as McLeod crossed beautifully to find Evan Beldon on hand to tap in to the net.

Shortly after the half hour mark, Kempston extended their lead with the best goal of the game.

Marcus Campbell turning his man and finding the space to shoot from the edge of the box, curling his left footed effort into the bottom corner beyond the helpless Cranfield keeper.

Kempston seemed good value for the three one lead at the interval.

Early in the second half, Izale McLeod forced a point blank range stop from a corner. Cranfield somehow managing to keep the ball out of the net with several Kempston players in attendance.

Midway through the second period and Cranfield hauled themselves back into the game. One of their forwards managed to skip into the area and slip a neat shot beyond Knox to halve the deficit.

The goal should’ve been a wake up call to Rovers, but moments later Cranfield found themselves in again, but Robbie Goodman was in the right place at the right time on the line to effect the clearance.

As the home side continued to press forward, Carl Knox produced a stunning save, low at the bottom corner to deny a snap shot. Knox is rapidly establishing himself as Rovers’ number one choice keeper.

Rovers, having ridden the storm on the pitch, then had to play through the storm from the sky as the heavens suddenly opened.

The unannounced shower almost became torrential, but blew away just as quickly as it had arrived thanks to the stiff winds around Cranfield’s rather exposed ground.

Kempston then forced a good save from the Cranfield keeper to deny Izale McLeod’s free kick.

Sub Callum Shortt, rounded the keeper with a late chance for Rovers, but slipped his effort wide of the post.

Kempston were almost made to pay for their wasteful finishing as the clock ticked over ninety minutes, but Cranfield couldn’t force the ball over the line with several chances in what can only be described as a ‘good old fashioned goalmouth scramble’.

But deep into time added on, a tap in finish at the far post salvaged the home side a draw that had looked quite unlikely at half time and proved that football is really a game of two halves.

The draw rounds off Rovers pre-season schedule and begins the countdown to next weekend’s league opener with Didcot Town at Hillgrounds.

Kempston also today learned their FA Cup opponents for the following weekend and it is a trip to Eastern Counties League Gorleston after they edged out Pinchbeck United.

Rovers:

  1. Knox
  2. Goodman
  3. Hyde
  4. Wright
  5. Powell
  6. Hunt
  7. Beldon
  8. Shepherd
  9. McLeod
  10. Dahie
  11. Campbell

Subs: Andrews, Stratton, Atta, Trialist S, Shortt, Trialist E, Trialist Sh

Words: Matthew Wilmot