Kempston Rovers began 2020 with an away drubbing at fellow strugglers St. Neots Town.
St. Neots dominated this New Year’s Day clash between two of the league’s bottom three sides in front of a larger than normal crowd at Rowley Park.
Kempston named rookie keeper Michael Hudson in the starting line up, after regular keeper Knox couldn’t shake off the injury that forced him off against Biggleswade last time out.
It was Rovers that created the first real chance of the game, Izale McLeod’s ball across the box was fractionally too far ahead of the incoming Jake Newman and Ben Baker for them to divert into the net.
Hudson at the other end had to be alert after his poor clearance let to Mutswunguma having a one on one with the young keeper, but Hudson was equal to it and smothered the danger.
Midway through the half and the hosts took the lead through a wonderfully placed shot from outside the box by Sam Gomarsall, beyond the desperate reach of Hudson.
Thereafter, the hosts turned the screw and doubled the lead shortly before half time. Winning the ball back in the corner, the cross came in for Joe Sutton to nod into the bottom corner of the net.
McLeod thought he had the chance to pull one back before half time, but his point blank range effort was blocked by Crosby.
Less than ten minutes into the second period and St. Neots had their third of the afternoon. Sutton beat the offside trap and squared to Gomarsall to sweep home.
Ben Baker curled Rovers best effort wide of the mark before Prince Mutswunguma had an easy finish to make it four nil.
With a quarter hour to play, Rovers pulled one back. A smart cross from the left by Finlay Brennan found Jake Newman, who scuffed his left foot shot into the opposite corner, extending his streak to ten goals in his last ten games.
Any faint hope of a comeback was quashed with ten minutes to go. Joe Sutton scoring directly from a corner to compound Rovers’ miserable afternoon. Frustration got the better of Rovers in stoppage time, as a flurry of late cautions saw four names taken for niggly offences.
At the final whistle, captain Jordan Wright led the majority of the Kempston players over to the loyal band of followers behind the goal and apologised for the sides performance.
The result keeps Rovers in eighteenth place, but now only two points ahead of St. Neots, for whom two of their four wins this season have now come against Kempston. Rovers must dust themselves off ahead of this Saturday’s game at home to Daventry Town
1 Hudson, 2 Stratton, 3 Brennan, 4 Wright ©, 5 Bailey, 6 Sage, 7 Johnson, 8 Goodman, 9 Newman, 10 McLeod, 11 Baker
Subs 12 Birch, 14 Hunt, 15 Shortt (unused Hyde)
1 Crosby, 2 Shaw, 3 Smith, 4 Butler, 5 Goode, 6 T.Boxer ©, 7 Gomarsall, 8 Bell-Toxtle, 9 Mutswunguma, 10 P.Boxer, 11 Sutton
Subs 12 Watkins, 15 Bissett-Clarke, 17 Massaro (unused Foster, O’Hara)
Attendance – 245
Rovers Man of the Match – Robbie Goodman