Wisbech Town took the plaudits and the place in the next round of the FA Trophy as Kempston just couldn’t take their chances, slumping to their sixth straight loss.
A Layton Maddision strike midway through the first half was enough to settle this tie, despite all of the home side’s huffing and puffing.
Kempston handed a debut to Stefan Bailey for this game, having been drafted in from Barton Rovers this week. A place on the bench was granted to teenage keeper Ollie Kirkup, having been with the club since the age of four, Ollie represents the first player to have represented in each age group and the reserves before earning a spot in the first team. His father Neill played for the Walnut Boys in the late seventies and his mother, Paula, is now the first female chairperson of the Colts section of the club.
Rovers started the game brightly enough, an early cross from Gareth Hunt found Emmanuel Dahie in the area, but the makeshift forward headed over. Izale McLeod tested Wilson in the visitors goal, getting on to a threaded through ball from Ben Baker, before unleashing a snap shot at the near post, which was well beaten away. Wisbech scored the game’s only goal on twenty five minutes, Richardson bustling into the box found his way to goal blocked, the ball broke to Maddision on the edge of the area and he swept home. Moments later McLeod could’ve levelled the tie, dancing and weaving his way past three defenders, his shot from a tight angle was well saved by Wilson. In the dying embers of the half, Baker drew another smart save from Wilson at his near post, from the resulting corner, Finlay Brennan found Alfie Powell, who could only head wide. The visitors holding the smash and grab lead at the break.
In the early moments of the second half, Wisbech could’ve doubled their lead. Sub Nassunculo saw his effort smartly saved by Carl Knox after he had gotten in behind the Rovers back line. Just before the hour mark came a moment that perhaps summed up Rovers entire month of September. Dahie squirmed his way into a good position and cut the ball back to McLeod in the box, the usually reliable veteran forward miskicked and the chance to level the scores was gone. After a string of substitutions the game settled into a familiar pattern of both teams looking for the long ball. Neither side in sterling league form had the confidence to take the game by the scruff of the neck and dominate the play. In the last ten minutes, Kempston had their two best chances, firstly Robbie Goodman heading just wide at the near post from a Ben Shepherd cross, before a goal mouth scramble following a corner saw several players with a good chance to turn home the loose ball, but Wisbech stood firm and weathered the storm. In the final moments of normal time, they almost added a gloss to their performance. Earps finding the net with a tap in after Knox had parried a shot back into the area, but Earps delight was short lived as the linesman had flagged for offside.
Rovers bow out of the FA Trophy at the first hurdle for the second time in three seasons and finished the month of September with six defeats out of six. Kempston will be looking for an improvement as they enter October, North Leigh the visitors next weekend.