Kempston Rovers battled hard and came away with three points from play off chasing Coleshill this weekend.
The Rovers were given a helping hand, but stood firm and came away from this game with three vital points in their quest to pull away from the bottom end of the league table.
Spectators were barely in their seats when the game’s first incident took place, a left wing corner was whipped in to the box by Josh Crawley toward the towering figure of Alfie Powell.
The defender was judged to have been pulled back and the referee pointed to the spot after just thirty nine seconds. Izale McLeod took the responsibility, as he has done many times in the past in the Football League, and calmly dispatched the kick to the left of goal, sending Hathaway the wrong way to give Kempston a second minute lead.
Coleshill took until the twelfth minute to register an effort on goal, a corner played in was headed wide by the unmarked Nadat. The first caution of the game came in the twentieth minute, as Matt Jackson was booked for dragging back McLeod, who was proving a handful for the Coleshill back line.
Nadat looked the most likely threat for the hosts, but a tame shot from the edge of the box and a header over the bar was the best that he could muster in the first half as Coleshill struggled to get the better of Kempston’s dominant defensive pair of Jordan Wright and Alfie Powell, who were winning every header in the first period.
Right on half time, Jackson, already booked, looked to play out from the back. The defender let the ball get away from him and then lunged in at George Boland, leaving Rovers’ midfield man prone on the turf. The referee took a moment to defuse the situation before showing the Coleshill man a straight red card.
The hosts made a double change at the break, including bringing off the lively Doyle, who despite his pace and trickery had not got the better of Daniel Akubuine in the first period.
Seven minutes into the second half, Coleshill got the goal that had eluded them in the first period. Dan Clifton’s clearance was charged down, allowing sub Deakin to slip the ball through to Nadat, who slotted past Carl Knox, who just got fingertips to the ball.
After the leveller, the game became bogged down in midfield, with neither side gaining control of the ‘trenches’. It took a rapid counter attack to trouble the goals once more, as a deep cross found Jack McMillan, but the Coleshill player couldn’t keep his header down.
Moments later, it was Rovers that re-took the lead. A raking ball from Josh Crawley found Scott Joseph wide on the right hand side, beating his man to the byline, he pulled a cross back in to the box where it was touched home by the unfortunate Green as he attempted to clear.
The goal brought the game to life as the hosts’ ten men looked to get back into the game again they left more space for Kempston to exploit on the counter. Another Joseph cross caused all sorts of chaos in the penalty area with Izale McLeod lurking, but the referee blew for a foul on Hathaway before the veteran forward could turn the ball home.
Moments later, Carl Knox denied Joe Smith with a point blank save after some very neat interplay at the edge of the box sprang the midfielder into prime shooting position. Dan Clifton tested Hathaway from distance, but the save was comfortable as Rovers again utilised the extra space on the counter.
With eight minutes left a cross from sub Nathan Tshikuna was laid back into the path of Josh Crawley by Shane Bush, only for a last gasp clearance to stop Rovers leading scorer from adding to his tally this season.
Clifton, Joseph and Shane Bush had chances in the dying moments to add a gloss to the scoreline for Kempston, but all found Hathaway in no mood to be beaten again. The game could have ended in bizzarely controversial circumstances.
Alfie Powell attempted to shepherd the ball out for a corner and appeared to be wrestled to the floor by Nadat, neither had touched the ball, but the referee awarded a corner. Rovers, incensed that neither a goal kick nor a free kick was given, had to defend the set piece as Hathaway came forward in search of a late equaliser.
The corner broke down and in the attempted counter attack, the ball fell to Dan Clifton just inside the Coleshill half, with Hathaway still stranded upfield, the midfielder went for goal. The shot drifting just wide.
The win, coupled with other results, lifts Rovers up a place in the table to sixteenth. Next weekend, the Tony Joyce Revolution is on the road again, this time a short distance down the A6 to Barton Rovers.
Att – 96
Words: Matthew Wilmot on Behalf of Kempston Rovers FC