A game of two wins

A team performance to savour, an eight-goal thriller, goal of the season contenders, plenty of controversy and Rovers occupying the lofty heights of second in the league table.......no Rovers fan could ask for more. Within 15 minutes of kick-off a whirlwind start by Rovers saw them two goals up, the first coming in the 3rd minute from a Nathan Tshikuna direct run at the Town defence who made the fatal mistake of backing off the Rovers midfielder who had been fed by a Charlie Smith pass, and were duly punished when his low right-foot shot beat keeper Lustin Cerga all ends up. The second came via a rocket shot by Rovers striker Connor Vincent from a slide rule Bradley Bell pass and, whilst the keeper got the merest of finger-tips on it, it fairly bulged the Town net. Rovers wide men Victor Osobu and Bell were a constant threat and chances came and went for Vincent and defenders Lewis Thomas and Kai Phelan before Rovers keeper Niall Cooper one-handed a brilliant lob from Town striker Jack Bowen out for a corner in Town’s first real attack of the half after 36 minutes. The ensuing corner came to nothing but Bowen again was in the right spot at the far post but was adjudged to have handled before firing in his goal-bound shot. Half-time came and the only surprise was that Rovers domination of the game had not yielded more goals.

Just two minutes into the second half Rovers looked to have sealed the win and three away points when Osobu’s left-wing cross was brilliantly volleyed home by Bell to put Rovers in a three-goal lead. Rovers captain Smith almost made it four with a mazy run and shot which was blocked for a corner after 55 minutes. Then the controversy intervened when Town were awarded two penalty-kicks in five second half minutes. The first of these came on 59 minutes when, during a penalty area melee, a Rovers defender was adjudged to have committed a foul but, from the excellent viewing area Town provide, no Rovers fan saw anything but contact with the ball but, the man that matters saw it different, and up stepped Bowen to open Town’s account from the spot and completely against the run of play. The second award was even more farcical when Phelan was punished for a bout of wrestling, off the ball I might add, with the Town player appearing equally aggressive in the exchange concerned but the award stood and Bowen scored his second penalty-kick to put Town right back in this match. Understandably, the Rovers players were unsettled and composure was temporarily in short supply and Town took full advantage to level matters with 68 minutes played when their captain Adam Confue poked home an equaliser after Rovers failed to clear their lines. However, it was Rovers who reacted best and, with 80 minutes gone, from raking right- wing Chris Regis cross found Rovers midfielder Dean Dummett all on his own at the far post and he made no mistake to put Rovers ahead and to open his goal-scoring account for the season. Substitute Regis was to have the final say in the action and slotted the goal of the match when he drove in off the left-wing to fire home a thunderbolt 5th goal for Rovers in added time. Easily, the team performance of the season thus far from the Rovers lads and hopefully they can repeat this form in the upcoming away trip to Whitehawk FC in the FA Trophy next Saturday.

Final Score: Daventry Town 3 (Bowen Pens 59 & 64, Confue 68) Barton Rovers 5 ( Tshikuna 3, Vincent 15, Bell 48, Dummett 80 & Regis 90+3)

Rovers Team: Cooper, Jibodu, Ward, Smith, Phelan, Thomas, Ososbu (Burnett 62), Dummett, Vincent (Regis 73), Tshikuna, Bell.

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