Kempston Rovers’ captain, Shane Bush rescues Kempston Rovers

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Captain fantastic epitomised the never say die spirit to salvage a draw.

Kempston Rovers’ captain, Shane Bush, popped up in stoppage time to bundle home his tenth goal of the season to grab his side a well earned point against one of the division’s play off chasers.

Ahead of the game at Hillgrounds this weekend, Rovers were thrilled to hear that Shane Bush had been called up to be part of the Bedfordshire FA Representative side to take on England at Luton Town as part of the county’s 125th anniversary celebrations.

Just over four months ago, the reverse fixture was Tony Joyce’ first league game in charge. Only three players from his first team sheet remained in today’s match day squad, such is the re-build he has done since taking charge.

The game started with Didcot showing just why they were placed so highly in the table. Quick, direct, purposeful football kept Kempston on their heels in the opening exchanges.

With a subtle inevitability, they took the lead on nine minutes. A right wing corner found its way through to Luke Carnell who powerfully headed home.

Rovers thought they were level three minutes later, Ben Shepherd – making his 150th Rovers appearance – lofted a ball in to Shane Bush, who bustled his man to win the ball.

Josh Crawley applied the finish to the loose ball, but the whistle had already gone for Bush’s over-eager challenge. The early goal seemed to change Didcot’s game plan somewhat, their pace dropped and they began to take their time with every set piece and dead ball situation, almost as if they were content to sit on the single goal lead.

Bush and Crawley forced good saves from Matt Crowther in the Didcot goal as Rovers pressed forward. The moment of the first half came just after the half hour as Josh Crawley received the ball with his back to goal and a defender right behind him.

His first touch, with the outside of his foot, flicked it around his marker, allowing him to pirouette around the other side of his man, akin to a very famous Dennis Bergkamp goal nearly fifteen years ago at Newcastle.

Unfortunately for Crawley and Kempston, the similarities ended there, as the shot couldn’t match the turn and went wide of goal. George Boland had Rover’s final chance of the half, putting the ball over after good work from Bush and Crawley to set him up with a pull back.

Didcot had the lead at the half, but looked as though they were playing to keep the lead and wind the clock down.

The second half saw the introduction of Izale McLeod, who got himself straight into the action.

On the hour mark, laying a glorious through ball to Josh Crawley, who was just beaten to the ball by Crowther. Didcot could’ve doubled their lead moments later, a corner played in saw a header cleared off the line by Rovers.

Dean Dummett saw a long, curling shot tipped wide midway through the half. There was growing unrest on the terraces at Didcot’s perceived gamesmanship as Rovers continued to reach for the leveller.

The visitors third and final chance of the match came and went with fifteen minutes to go, another right wing corner came in and was flashed wide by Carnell.

With just over ten minutes on the watch, Rovers broke in behind the Didcot back line.

Josh Crawley racing clear, forcing a great save from Crowther at his feet. Deep into stoppage time, Rovers salvaged the point that their endeavour had deserved, a high ball was allowed to bounce in the box.

Shane Bush was on hand to bustle his way through and bundle the ball over the line for his tenth goal of the season.

In the immediate aftermath of the goal there were some confrontational scenes between the two sets of players in the goal mouth.

The draw has lifted Kempston into twelfth place. The result was cheered in both halves of Bedford as the draw has allowed our neighbours Bedford Town to leapfrog Didcot into fourth place.

Rovers now have mathematically sealed survival in the division this season with four games to play.

Manager Tony Joyce doesn’t want to waste the final fixtures however, committing to go “as far and as high as we can this season” over the final month, starting next weekend with a home game against AFC Dunstable.


  1. Knox
  2. Jones,
  3. Hyde
  4. Dummett
  5. Powell
  6. Boland
  7. Joseph
  8. Shepherd
  9. Crawley
  10. Bush
  11. Mercer


  • McLeod
  • Beldon
  • Fisher
  • (not used Andrews, Lee)


  1. Crowther
  2. Barder
  3. M.Williams
  4. Hayden
  5. Carnell
  6. McNeill
  7. Dennis
  8. McNish
  9. Barcelos
  10. L.Williams
  11. Hackett


  • Humphries
  • Thomas
  • (not used Gardner, Young)

Words: Matthew Wilmot