Table toppers toppled

Table-topping Corby Town were the latest side to visit Sharpenhoe Road and looking to avenge a heavy defeat in the corresponding fixture last season. Rovers began brightly and an early corner saw some half chances go begging before the ball was cleared upfield. Rovers striker Goldy Capela was unlucky not to put his side in front after ten minutes when he just failed to get on the end of midfielder Charlie Smith’s cross. That was followed on 12 minutes by a Victor Osobu shot that Town keeper Alastair Worby gathered at the second attempt. Town striker Elliot Sandy threatened a score with 15 minutes gone but the Rovers defence crowded him out and the danger passed. Midway through the opening half, Town were bossing possession and both their wingers, James Clifton and Jordon Crawford, were making inroads into the Rovers defence from wide areas. Clifton had a decent effort at goal after 27 minutes but, once again, the Rovers defence stood firm and his team-mate Crawford was next to go close with an angled shot that drifted just wide of a post after 36 minutes. Rovers striker Connor Vincent made a great run down the right with just 3 minutes remaining of the half but his fellow forwards were nowhere in sight when his fine low cross fizzed across the six yard line and the ball drifted out of play. Right on the half-time whistle Town were knocking on the door and efforts in quick succession by Crawford, Gregory Ling and Jake Duffy were thwarted by both some last-ditch defending and fine goalkeeping from home keeper Niall Cooper and the interval came with the score-sheet blank.

Rovers winger Connor Furlong might have put the home side ahead just 2 minutes into the 2nd half when a mazy run left him with just the Town keeper top beat but he got his shot all wrong and the chance passed. On 49 minutes another fine run saw Furlong put in a telling cross but Rovers midfielder Dean Dummett couldn’t get a touch at full stretch. Town came storming back and the save of the match after 50 minutes saw Cooper finger-tip a Crawford rocket over the bar for a corner that came to nothing. Cooper was immediately in on the action 3 minutes later when he saved a point blank Sandy effort to keep the score level. On 56 minutes Cooper saved another Crawford shot and from the resultant clearance Capela broke free only it seemed to be thwarted by Town keeper Worby, but Worby slammed his attempted clearance into Capela’s midriff and the ball broke kindly for Capela who, with the away keeper stranded, rolled the ball into an empty net to give Rovers the lead. Rovers joy was short-lived though as just two minutes later Town were back on level terms following another Cooper save from Joe Burgess, the resultant corner lead to yet another point blank Cooper save but, this time, Rovers luck ran out as Town centre-back Charlie Wise bulleted home from the rebound. This was now a very open affair with both sides committed to all-out attack in an effort to secure a winner and, with just 4 minutes remaining, Rovers won a free-kick on the edge of the Town box and up stepped Smith with a wonder strike leaving Worby clutching at thin air to fire Rovers ahead for the second time in the match. Before the full -time whistle sounded, Cooper came to the home side’s rescue with a save at the feet of Town substitute Stephen Diggin before Vincent looked to have made the game safe for Rovers with a goal-bound effort which Worby somehow kept out. A thoroughly entertaining encounter which Town will feel their possession warranted something from the game but give Niall Cooper and this Rovers side plenty of plaudits for their fighting spirit. Rovers move up to 8th in the table as a result of securing three home points from the match.

Final Score: Barton Rovers 2 (Capela 57, Smith 86) Corby Town 1 (Wise 59)

Rovers Team: Cooper, Palmer, Jibodu, Smith, Thomas, Phelan, Osobu, Dummett, Vincent, Capela (Tshikuna 76), Furlong.

Rovers MOM: Niall Cooper

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