Phillips brace earns Rovers the points

Rovers travelled to Kidlington for this latest league fixture looking to build on a strong recent run of away results. One minor change in the line-up from midweek saw Lee Close return to partner skipper Paul Andrews at centre-half with Gary Jones reverting to his more familiar left-back role. The first half proved to be scrappy affair not assisted by a bumpy surface that also made the players footing somewhat precarious at times. Kidlington were first to show when their livewire centre forward Darius Browne won the first corner of the match after seven minutes but the corner was well defended by Rovers and came to nothing. Victor Osubu and Jimmy Hartley were lively in the wide areas for Rovers but, despite delivering some inviting cross balls throughout the half, no Rovers attackers were on hand to finish some good lead-up work. Neither side had any spells of control with the ball constantly bobbing around in midfield and the nearest we had to a goal was when Hartley blasted over from a good position after 39 minutes but the sides went in at half-time level.

A much livelier start to the second half saw Gary Malone the Rovers keeper in action saving from the home side's Lewis Coyle straight after the restart. Two minutes in a reckless late challenge on Rovers right-back Matt Hall by Kidlington's Declan Benjamin led to some ugly scenes and, ultimately, to Hall being stretchered off with what looked a bad injury and Benjamin receiving a somewhat fortunate yellow card when to all intents the referee should have taken sterner action. The incident seemed to spark Rovers into action and, from the resultant free-kick, the ball was played into Steph Bailey in midfield and he sent a swinging cross into the Kidlington area which Drew Phillips rose to nod home and give Rovers the lead after 53 minutes. Chances followed quickly for both Osubu and Connor Vincent but they wanted time the Kidlington defenders were not prepared to provide and they went begging. Kidlington came more into the game chasing an equaliser but further chances fell to Osubu and Vincent after 58 and 65 minutes which would have put this game to bed. Kidlington's Marvin Martin pulled a save from Gary Malone the Rovers keeper before Drew Philips broke free from halfway and finished coolly to put Rovers two up after 84 minutes. There was still time for Kidlington's substitute Piers McGlyn to score what proved to be a consolation goal and for Rovers to manfully hold out for the three points during the substantial added time resultant of Hall's injury. So Rovers pick up another hard-earned three points away from home and we all hope Matt Hall will make a quick recovery from his injury.

Rovers have a blank Saturday upcoming.

Final Score: Kidlington FC 1(McGlyn 86) Barton Rovers 2 (Drew Phillips 53 and 84)

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