Kempston Rovers lose out to Bedford in local derby

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Bedford V Kempston March 2019
Credit: Facebook.com/bedfordtown

Kempston Rovers’ winless run was extended to eleven games as Bedford Town jumped into the play-off spots in the BetVictor Southern Central Division at the weekend.

Tom Hitchcock proved the second half difference between the two sides as his brace overcame Jake Newman’s opener for Rovers and sent the visitors home with all three points.

A scrappy opening half was lightly peppered with half chances as the two sides looked to get the measure of one another.

But, it was the visitors that nearly landed the first punch inside ten minutes. Connor Tomlinson saw a snap volley come back off a teammate on its way to goal.

Nathan Olukanmi whipped a cross toward the near post on the quarter hour which required Carl Knox in the Kempston goal to be alert to tip it away.

Rovers clearest sight at landing a blow came just before the half hour when James Sage, formerly of Bedford Town swiped at a loose ball from a poorly cleared corner.

His effort was snatched at and lacked the necessary accuracy to worry Dillion in the Town goal. The energetic Connor Tomlinson tested Knox’ reflexes with a long shot after a clever jink and run from the middle of the park.

Ten minutes into the second period, a corner whipped in deep by Finlay Brennan was nodded back across by James Sage, Robbie Goodman was on the corner of the six yard box and attempted to flick the ball back from whence it came but could only divert it wide in the second half’s first real opening.

Town didn’t heed the warning as Rovers took the lead moments before the hour mark.

A free kick midway in the Town half was pumped long and not fully cleared, Stefan Bailey managed to nod on in the direction of Jake Newman.

The forward brought the ball down and slipped it beyond Dillon to open the scoring for the home side.

The lead could’ve been short lived, however as Bedford got straight back up off the canvas and nearly levelled two minutes later as Tomlinson broke clear of the Rovers back line and was thwarted by Carl Knox in the area as he tried to round the dependable keeper.

Midway through the half came the turning point. Bedford Town were awarded a penalty with Tom Hitchcock emphatically dispatching the spot kick to level matters.

Ten minutes from time, Bedford managed to delivered the fatal blow.

A right wing corner was swung in and met at the near post by Hitchcock to score what proved to be the winning goal.

Bedford held firm, despite some late Rovers pressure, and secured the bragging rights in this local derby.

Rovers, bloodied but not broken, now need to pick themselves up to face another of the league’s heavy weights next weekend with a trip to leaders Corby Town.

Bedford, meanwhile, have nudged their way into the play off scene with the win and will look to keep their promotion aspirations going with their next match away at Bedworth.

Kempston Rovers

1 Knox, 2 Marsh, 3 Brennan, 4 Wright ©, 5 Sage, 6 Bailey, 7 Goodman, 8 Stratton, 9 Newman, 10 McLeod, 11 Hyde

Subs 12 Baker, 14 Dahie, 17 Birch (unused Massaro, Hunt)

Bedford Town

1 Dillon, 2 Stephens-Abbey, 3 Olukanmi, 4 Swain, 5 Steele, 6 Green, 7 Nelson-Addy, 8 Donnelly ©, 9 Hitchcock, 10 Tomlinson, 11 Walker

Subs 12 Vasey, 14 Phillips, 15 Milne (unused Benney, Lilaj)

Attendance – 329

Words: Matthew Wilmot