Battling win for the boys in Blue

Rovers entertained Thame United in this latest league fixture at Sharpenhoe Road with both sides on the fringes of the play-off spots so all to play for. Early on, Rovers striker Goldy Capela had a shot that drifted wide before captain Victor Osobu narrowly failed to get on the end of a Ty Ward cross. The visitors showed their attacking intentions on 10 minutes when dangerman Dan West got his head on an inviting cross but failed to find the target. However West was to make his mark on this game and, with United growing into this match, he opened the scoring on 12 minutes capitalising on a piece of hesitant Rovers defending to score low to Rovers keeper Niall Cooper’s left hand. United were providing the more cultured football in the first half but Rovers were breaking fast with intent and Osobu had a golden chance from midfielder Charlie Smith’s pass to level affairs but blazed over from well inside the United box after 28 minutes. Further scoring opportunities fell to the home side’s Dean Dummett and, when his effort was pushed out team-mate Keanu Williams tested United keeper Chris Rackley who kept his goal intact. Rovers midfielder Nathan Tshikuna had a couple of wayward efforts at goal before the whistle went to signal the half-time interval with the visitors hanging onto their single goal advantage.

Rovers were on the front foot as the second half unfolded and left-winger Connor Furlong’s fine cross after 49 minutes found no takers but the home fans waited only a couple of minutes more for Williams to level things up with a smart turn and shot from an Osobu pass that beat the United keeper low to his left. United burst into second half life when both Greg Hackett and Jack Stevens had shots on 53 and 56 minutes but these never forced home keeper Cooper into action. Rovers action man Osobu had a brilliant shot crash back of the bar and in the ensuing melee Furlong was dispossessed when looking likely to score but the referee spotted a handball by United right-back Jordy Ngathe and Rovers had a spot-kick. Nathan Tshikuna has proved dependable from the spot this season for Rovers and, once more, he sent the keeper the wrong way to fire Rovers ahead in the match after 66 minutes. United midfielder Jack Tutton shot wildly over before Tshikuna did the same before Dummett’s shot on target lacked power and was comfortably saved. Furlong might have finished the contest when clean through in added time but his shot was blocked by the diving keeper’s legs. Rovers stretched their winning run to four games and make the trip this week to Aylesbury United who sit immediately above them in the league – who knows the Sharpenhoe lads may yet have a say in the promotion battle?

Final Score: Barton Rovers 2 (Wiliams 12, Tshikuna Pen 66) Thame United 1 (West 12)

Rovers Team: Cooper, Jibodu, Ward, Smith, Thomas, Andrews, Osobu (Palmer 89), Dummett, Capela (Williams 14), Tshikuna, Furlong.

Rovers MOM: Lewis Thomas

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