Rovers Thame the hosts
Kempston Rovers extend their unbeaten run to eleven games on the final weekend of the regular season
Rovers arrived in Oxfordshire on the back of a fine run of form recently that has seen them keep the pressure on the play off push right until the last week of the season. This fixture should have represented the end of the season for Kempston, however, the wretched spring weather around certain parts of west London still mean that there is one game left to play after the conclusion of the season.
Rovers started brightly, backed by a large travelling contingent, and were awarded a penalty as early as the third minute of the game. Benjamin Acquaye bursting into the box on the right hand side, where he was unceremoniously bundled to the floor by a clumsy challenge. Without the suspended Shepherd, spot kick duty was passed on to top scorer Jake Newman. He duly dispatched the kick low to the right, deflecting in off the foot of the post, beyond the goal keeper’s reach, to open the scoring. Thame had a glorious chance to level things up a few moments later, a Lynn cross into the area fell perfectly for their top scorer Lynton Goss, who somehow contrived to completely miss his kick as Rovers scrambled the danger clear. Before the half hour, Kempston doubled the lead. A long ball forward saw Munashe Sundire chasing a seemingly lost cause into the corner. Miraculously, he not only managed to keep the ball in play, but he beat his man and put a low cross into the area where Acquaye was waiting. The young winger’s quick feet helped him ride some challenges and find the half yard he needed to slip the ball under the keeper from close range. Robbie Goodman headed over the bar moments later from a deep Seb Simpson free kick. Goss was looking the most likely danger figure for the hosts, shooting wide of the post when clean through on goal and then playing in a dangerous cross which caused Goodman a heart in mouth moment as his sliced clearance hit his own crossbar.
Rovers could have scored early in the second half as well as the first, Jamaine Ivy threading through the lively Acquaye, but his one on one effort was smothered. It took until the sixty fifth minute for the hosts to register on the scoresheet, with their first effort on target of the afternoon, a free kick was played in for McGowan to tap home at the far post. A goal that had huge similarities to the equaliser conceded at Chalfont two weeks previously. The goal forced Rovers to have a re-think and a double change was made, seeing the introduction of Josh Crawley and Luke Heneghan from the bench. Crawley nearly had an immediate impact as he cross for Jake Newman, for once, the forward fluffed his lines and miscued the shot. With fifteen minutes to go, Acquaye forced Hill into making the save of the game, shooting from the edge of the box, he drew a fine, full length diving parry from the Thame stopper. A bad back pass let Crawley in on the right hand side, but his shot was smothered, while another effort was tipped for a corner at the near post after good work from Acquaye. Newman saw a snap shot fly just wide of goal before the game was made safe in the eighty fifth minute. Acquaye surged forward into the box, riding two tackles and laid the ball back on a plate for Josh Crawley to tap home into an empty net for a couple of yards.
Both sides were applauded from the field by both sets of supporters, even the match officials drew a standing ovation as the curtain came down on Thame’s first season in the Southern League. Kempston have one more game, scheduled for Tuesday evening, at Hanwell to contend with. Rovers go in to the game knowing that a win will see them finish seventh, one place outside the play offs. In the bar after the game, the Thame vice-chairman was full of praise for Kempston’s attitude on and off the field, from the backing of the travelling fans to the club officials who swept out the changing rooms.
Winning against Thame has also meant that Rovers have taken at least a point from all opposition in the league this season.
The fixture at Hanwell is due to take place on Tuesday the first of May, but given the local weather forecast over the coming days, fans are urged to check both club’s official twitter feeds before making the trip as any news of further postponement will be announced as soon as possible.