Pointless Rovers

Near neighbours St Neots Town were the Sharpenhoe Road visitors for this midweek Central League 1 clash. The visitors threatened early with a fine Liam Bennett cross which was well defended by Rovers centre-back Kai Phelan and this was quickly followed by a Dequan Wilson-Braithwaite effort which keeper Niall Cooper saved comfortably. The homesters found their feet though and striker Tony Burnett had an opening but his shot was blocked after 10 minutes. Winger Brad Bell might have done better than shoot wide from a good position before team-mate Victor Osobu failed to bring the Town keeper into action after a good run on the right. Midway through the half and Rovers were on top and efforts by Chris Regis, Charlie Smith and Nathan Tshikuna in quick succession failed to realise an opening goal. Rovers superiority was telling though and from a free-kick some 25 yards out, Rovers captain Smith fired an unsaveable effort past George Whitehall in the Town goal to put the home side ahead on 22 minutes. Town came straight back at Rovers though and efforts by Jake Battersby and a free-kick from Bennett kept Copper on his toes. Then, having looked the stronger side up to this point, Rovers conceded twice in the space of 5 first-half minutes. Centre-back Lewis Thomas got wrong side of Town danger man Ryan Robbins and brought him down in the box to give Town an opportunity to level things up and Robbins picked himself up and made no mistake from the spot to make it 1-1. On 38 minutes Battersby made a surging run down the Rovers right side and fired in a beauty of a cross and team-mate Benjamin Worman headed his side in front from just two yards out. Bell had a decent chance to score for Rovers and Arel Amu for Town before the half-time whistle cam with the visitors ahead.

Tshikuna made space for himself just two minutes into the second half but his shot failed to match his clever footwork and sailed over. For Town, Bennett crossed onto Robbins head and Rovers breathed a sigh of relief when his header landed in Cooper’s arms with 49 minutes played. Osobu sent in an inviting cross from the right but his fellow forwards were not on the same wavelength and the chance went begging for Rovers. Bennett had another scoring opportunity for Town but shot wildly over the bar before Osobu, with another mazy right-wing run shot narrowly over.....what a good chance for a Rovers equaliser. Home full-back Ty Ward got in the action with just 15 minutes remaining but, despite two inviting crosses into the Town box, Rovers were unable to convert either opportunity. Bell had a decent chance of an equaliser on 80 minutes but his shot deflected for a corner which came to nothing, Town were dangerous on the break and both Worman and Lewis Simper might have done better but Cooper came to Rovers rescue in both instances. Despite a couple of substitutions, Rovers were unable to find an equaliser in a finely balanced match and the visitors secured all three points and condemned Rovers to their second consecutive single goal defeat at home.

Rovers Team: Cooper, Jibodu, Ward, Smith, Phelan, Thomas, Osobu (Dummett 72), Regis (Powell 72), Burnett, Tshikuna, Bell.

Attendance: 221

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