The small Cambridgeshire outpost of Yaxley is not a trip into the unknown for Kempston, having had more than their fair share of run ins with the Cuckoos in the United Counties League down the years and it was to be the setting for the curtain to come down on the 2018-19 season.
Rovers were forced to name young Jonathan Thick in goal, the youngster making his first start for the club having been a part of the double winning under eighteen side last season, becoming the fourth player to have broken through this season.
The game was played in blustery conditions at a ground that was wide open to the wind sweeping across the surrounding farmland, meaning that the ball needed to remain on the deck.
The hosts began the brighter and should have done better with their four early chances, Cotton forced Thick into one save.
Rovers found a rhythm midway through the half and with neat build up on the left hand side between Cameron Hyde and Josh Crawley saw the latter cross the ball into the box, where it wasn’t dealt with by the Cuckoos’ keeper Butcher, allowing Dean Dummett to nod home his second goal in as many games for Rovers.
The lead lasted just five minutes, as Cotton shot low across Thick and over the line before Waumsley made sure on the line for the equaliser.
Hyde and Crawley combined superbly ten minutes from the break, the young full back’s diagonal raking pass found Crawley whos lobbed volley wouldn’t dip quickly enough to come under the crossbar.
Late in the half, Cotton, a constant danger for the hosts, crossed the ball in. It was lost in the air by Thick, dropping perfectly at the feet of Waumsley to tap home and complete the first half comeback for Yaxley to go in ahead at the break.
Three minutes into the second half and there was nearly a carbon copy of Waumsley’s goal. This time after the ball was spilled, Waumsley’s shot was blocked on the line.
Ten minutes into the half and Rovers found an equaliser. Cameron Hyde crossing low into the box, finding Josh Crawley who stabbed at the ball at the near post and into the net for his twelfth strike of the season, putting him clear at the top of the club’s scoring charts.
Kempston then nearly took the lead, Hyde whipping in a set piece for Alfie Powell to head just wide.
Crawley then curled a shot wide after being found by Kye Andrews’ long pass, the elegant forward cut inside his man and aimed at the far corner, but couldn’t get enough bend on the shot.
Midway through the half Jordan Wright spectacularly preserved the scoreline, being in the right place at the right time to acrobatically head off the line after a quickly taken Yaxley corner saw Cotton shooting from the edge of the box.
Twenty minutes from time, Waumsley found himself unable to miss the target as the ball was crossed it, the midfielder couldn’t believe his luck with his second tap in of the game to restore the hosts’ lead.
In stoppage time, Yaxley could’ve added a gloss to the scoreline as Sanders and Waumsley contrived to set up Butterworth in the area, but the midfielder’s first time effort came rattling back off the woodwork.
The final whistle signalled not only the end of the game, but the season as well. Rovers ending the campaign in thirteenth place in the table, twelve points ahead of the relegation places after a season of upheaval and transition.
With the summer to re-shape the side in his own image, manager Tony Joyce will be expecting a higher finish next season.
- (not used Bush)
- (not used Blake, Harris, Sparrow)
Att – 95
Words: Matthew Wilmot