Rovers made the short trip to face local rivals AFC Dunstable for this Bank Holiday Monday Fixture. Callum Wilson replaced the unavailable Gary Jones at left back and Victor Osubu regained the captain’s armband .
Rovers started brightly with Osubu prominent and in both 3rd and 5th minutes firstly through an intercepted backpass and then at the back post threatened to open the scoring but the opportunities came to nought.
The home side got into their stride and Kyle Forster, the Rovers keeper, was in action saving a rasping shot from AFC’s Josh Crawley after 10 minutes. Leon Cashman AFC’s centre-forward was next to get in the action when he shot wide from good position with 12 minutes played and the home side were exerting control at this stage. Rovers cohesion in possession was sporadic and the side seemed reliant on individual bursts of brilliance. With 22 minutes gone an Osubu free-kick found the head of Tony Williams Jr who headed just over. The best chance of the match thus far fell to the head of AFC’s Cashman who, from what seemed under the bar, somehow headed onto it and over to the safety of a Rovers goal-kick. Nearing half-time Osubu then broke into the action with effect when a brilliant run and low shot beat keeper Dan Green inside the his left hand post to open the scoring on 39 minutes. There was still time for Rovers Nathan Tshikuna and AFC’s Kyle Ajayi to go close to scoring before the half-time break arrived.
The second half was barely 3 minutes old when AFC’s Grant Fryer levelled the scores when he was given the freedom of the Rovers penalty area to head past Forster in the 48th minute. Rovers continued to struggle with retaining possession but both Sam Gibson and Tshikuna had efforts at goal in the 54th and 56th minutes without really troubling Green the AFC keeper. AFC’s Crawley was next to go close when he side-footed wide when it looked easier to find the target after 58 minutes. Then, with an hour on the clock, and a spell of Rovers pressure, Osubu’s right wing cross was met by Williams Jr who was felled by an AFC defender in the act of scoring – the reefree pointed immediately to the spot and up stepped Tshikuna to fire Rovers ahead once more. Rovers lead lasted all of 4 minutes when, after a needlessly conceded free-kick on the edge of the Rovers box, Newman Carney fired home a left-footed effort to level the scores once again. On 70 minutes, Rovers defender Jemal McKenzie-Lowe was unlucky when, following a corner, his rocket of a shot was blocked near the line. Rovers defending came fatally unstuck in the 74th minute when AFC’s Crawley got a couple of kindly deflections as he ran through the Rovers backline to score a third for AFC. A flurry of substitutions on both sides then ensued as Rovers attempted to breathe life into their challenge and AFC wanting to see the game out for the three points. AFC’s Nick Elliot, Kyal McNulty and Taylor Rhiney all had chances to add to the AFC scoreline before the end but the game came to a close with the home side narrow winners on the day.
Rovers Team: Forster, Griffiths, Wilson, Sonuga, McKenzie-Lowe, Gibson (Didik 69), Dummett, Osubu, Williams Jr (Gittens) Vincent (Lukulay 51).