Battling result against basement side
The experienced goalkeeper Niall Cooper was the sole change in the established Rovers line-up for this league fixture against strugglers Wantage Town. The opening minutes were subdued in terms of action as both sides took time to settle but Rovers danger man Victor Osobu might have poked the home side in front when he broke free in the Wantage box but he was unable to get the ball clear of his feet and the chance went begging after 6 minutes. Charlie Smith then had a pop at goal from well outside the area but his effort sailed over the bar two minutes later. Nathan Tshikuna was next in the attacking action for Rovers but saw his goal-bound effort cleared off the Wantage Rovers line. On 13 minutes Osobu again cut in from the right but his cross met no Rovers takers as it passed in front of goal and just a minute later Wantage keeper Renell McKenzie-Lyle turned Osobu’s shot from a Tshikuna pass round the post for a corner. Wantage midfielder Joey Broadbank had a pop at goal after 16 minutes but his shot never troubled home keeper Cooper. 22 minutes gone and Rovers were punished for their earlier missed scoring opportunities when Samir Regragui put the visitors in front with a fine strike from the edge of the box. From the restart Wantage robbed Rovers of possession and Regragui should have doubled the Wantage lead but was denied by a fine smothering save at his feet by Cooper. An equaliser looked likely after 32 minutes but Osobu’s header from a cracking Jerome Jibodu cross went wide when it seemed easier to score. A Regragui free-kick from a good position was off target for Wantage before Osobu once more got into a great scoring position on the end of a Connor Furlong cross but only succeeded in a pass-back effort which the away keeper saved easily. Half-time was creeping nearer and finally Rovers got some reward for their attacking endeavours when Osobu got on the end of a long through ball with 41 minutes gone and, this time, made no mistake and Rovers were on level terms. Rovers midfielder Dean Dummett might have put the home side ahead right on half-time but delayed his shot and when the ball broke loose Tshikuna fired it straight into the arms of the Wantage keeper and the sides went in 1-1 at the interval.
Just a minute into the 2nd half and Rovers were immediately on the attack when striker Connor Vincent got free on the right and squared the ball across the six-yard line but, once again, no Rovers forward was there to take advantage. A minute later Tshikuna put Osobu in on goal with a great through pass but McKenzie-Lyle in the Wantage goal was equal to the shot and parried it away for a Rovers corner. From the corner, a fine Osobu delivery was met by central defender Lewis Thomas who put Rovers in front with a fine header. The visitors came back at Rovers and former player Sydney Ibie was unlucky to see his shot clip the Rovers bar and over to safety on 50 minutes. Wantage right-back Ryan Fry was next to try his luck with a shot that also went narrowly wide two minutes later. With 58 minutes gone, a bout of wrestling in the Wantage area led to the referee pointing, without any hesitation, to the spot and up stepped Vincent to fire home and give the homesters a two-goal cushion. 62 minutes gone and it was game over as Vincent at the bulleted home a fourth goal from a tremendous Osobu delivery from the right. Furlong had a couple of good opportunities late on to add to the scoreline but failed to capitalise and Rovers ran out time comfortably to put the three points in the bag. A much needed win for the home side but commiserations to the Wantage lads who are still seeking their first points of the season.
Final Score: Barton Rovers 4 (Osobu 41, Thomas 49, Vincent 58 P & 62) Wantage Town 1 (Regragui 22)
Rovers Team: Cooper, Jibodu (Palmer 76), Jones, Smith, Sonuga, Thomas, Osobu (Griffiths 79), Dummett, Vincent, Tshikuna (Williams Jr 66), Furlong.
Rovers MOM: Lewis Thomas