Kempston Rovers complete dry January without a single point

Kempston Rovers action
Credit: Aidan Huxford

Kempston Rovers fell to another defeat at Hillgrounds on Saturday afternoon, but felt aggrieved after a controversial opening goal changed the game in the visitors’ favour. 

The game then survived a floodlight failure before Yaxley sealed the victory late on.

A changed home side, featuring four of manager Tony Joyce’s new signings, started the brighter and had a terrific chance to take the lead with just three minutes  on the clock when Robbie Goodman flashed a header wide from a terrific Sam Johnson free kick. 

Moments later they should’ve scored again, this time Andrew Phillips blazing over after being put through by Ben Baker.  At the other end, Michael Hudson produced a miraculous one-handed flying save to deny Sam Bennett.

Midway through the half however, the game was completely changed.  Yaxley opened the scoring through Dan Jarvis but there appeared to be a clear use of the hand to control the ball.  Rovers were incensed players surrounded the referee while the majority of the crowd expected the strike to be ruled out. 

The officials, all of whom had a clear view, were unmoved.  Perhaps dwelling on the perceived injustice, Rovers minds were elsewhere and within forty seconds of the restart, the ball was in the net again.  This time Bennett finding the net after being given time to shoot. 

Rovers rallied and avoided going three down as Dan Cotton hit the post.  Ben Baker then burst forward, crossing to Phillips.  The veteran forward saw his initial shot blocked, but was alive enough to square the ball on to Harry Stratton who had his shot smothered by a plethora of bodies. 

The fractious atmosphere that had been created after a string of questionable referee calls threatened to boil over as Sam Gibson was shown a card for a charging down the goal keeper before Jarvis was cautioned for blatantly throwing himself to the floor to try and get Michael Hudson sent off after he had initially impeded the young Rovers stopper.

After the break, the game became scrappy as Yaxley used their experience to manage the game while Rovers endeavoured to claw back the deficit. 

With a quarter of the game to go, proceedings were brought to a halt as the floodlights went out – a problem that affected the entire local area and forced the closure of a supermarket.  Power was eventually restored and Sam Bennett added a late third for the visitors, thrashing home at the near post, but the game was effectively long since over.

Defeat keeps Rovers in nineteenth place in the table after a month without a league point and only one goal.  Kidlington are the visitors on the first of February, as Rovers hope that it was just a case of dry January.


1 Hudson, 2 Marsh, 3 Hyde, 4 Gibson, 5 Mensah, 6 Hunt, 7 Baker, 8 Goodman ©, 9 Phillips, 10 Johnson, 11 Stratton

Subs 14 Birch, 15 Shortt, 16 Simms (unused Knox, Bailey)


1 Butcher, 2 Duncliffe, 3 Garner, 4 Butterworth, 5 Watson ©, 6 Johnson, 7 Bennett, 8 Hook, 9 Earps, 10 Cotton, 11 Jarvis

Subs 14 Waumsley, 15 Woodcock (unused Salmon, Bettles)

Attendance – 121

Rovers Man of the Match – Robbie Goodman

Words by Matthew Wilmot and Tom Carr

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