Barton Rovers made the short journey up the A6 to face local rivals Kempston Rovers in this midweek league fixture. Barton were forced, through several injuries, to reshuffle the pack and in came Jack Keating, Jonny Butler and James Verney to the starting line-up. Barton started the match well and were good in possession, combative in midfield and solid at the back all through the first half. There could be no doubt that Barton were the dominant force from the off and James Verney, Drew Phillips and Jimmy Hartley were looking lively up front supplied with some good service from both Sam Gibson and Steph Bailey in midfield. Martin Conway in the Kempston goal dealt comfortably with everything Barton threw at him but could no nothing when, after 29 minutes, Barton scored through winger Jimmy Hartley - a pinpoint cross from Phillips on the right was volleyed home via a post to open Barton's account. Some frustration on both sides crept into this match and both Gibson for Barton and Ben Shepherd of Kempston were recipients of yellow cards for separate incidents of jersey pulling just prior to half-time but the whistle went with Barton holding onto their one goal lead.
Barton made a sluggish start to the second half allowing the homesters to dominate and they made Barton pay on 51 minutes when Josh Crawley fired home an equaliser - not without controversy this one as Kempston's Nathan Tshikuna looked miles offside in the build-up!! Barton were under pressure at the back and with some good defending and several slices of luck survived intact though some wasteful finishing by Kempston's centre forward Crawley assisted. On 69 minutes, Kempston substitute Jermaine Hall ought to have put them ahead but contrived to head wide of the target. Just three minutes later though, Barton's Hartley broke clear on the left, drove in on goal and smashed a shot off the near post but the ever-alert Drew Phillips was on hand to pick off the rebound and fire Barton ahead somewhat against the run of play it must be said. Barton were not done though and, on 90 minutes, Phillips broke free of the Kempston back line and fired past Conway in the Kempston goal, to seal the win and three points for Barton.
So, Barton's fine recent form on the road continued - this Saturday sees a return to Sharpenhoe Road and a home derby match against AFC Dunstable KO 3.00PM.