Seven goal thriller but pointless

The sides produced a goal-fest and a great advert for Non-League football in this midweek league clash at Bedworth. Both sides went into the match on the back of an undefeated start to their league campaigns so all to play for. The home side were quickest into their stride and midfielders Jorran John and especially Reece Blackmore were prominent in all that was good about United’s pressing game. John might have opened the scoring for United but fired wide from a good position with 8 minutes gone and this was quickly followed when full-back Josh Steele also failed to hit the target. Rovers finally got in on the goalmouth action with 20 minutes gone when wing-back Jerome Jibodu crossed from the right but striker Jermaine Hall clearly had his satnav on the blink and inexplicably failed to find the target when looking certain to open the scoring with Rovers first scoring opportunity. Rovers paid dearly for this miss as United took a two-goal lead, thanks mainly to some inept and naïve defending, midway through the first half. Firstly, prolific marksman Mitch Piggon, unmarked in the box, converted a right-wing Richard Blythe cross after 25 minutes and this was followed five minutes later when Rovers keeper Niall Cooper flapped at a United corner and presented Elliot Parrott with one of the easier goals he will ever score. Fair to say that, at this stage of the match, United were value for their two goal lead as Rovers, playing the three centre back plus wing backs system, seemed to be feeling their way into this methodology. Credit where credit is due though, the Rovers heads never went down and dynamic midfielder Nathan Tshikuna continued his early-season goal-scoring run with a double on 39 and 44 minutes, the first courtesy of a pinpoint pass from Keanu Williams and the second with a direct run finished of with a curving shot into the corner to bring parity to a much that, thus far, had been dominated by the home side. However, there was still time for yet another Rovers defensive faux pas to present Piggon with his second of the match in first-half added time to send the sides in with United back in the lead.

Clearly, the outcome of this match could well hinge on which side scored next and regrettably for Rovers and, despite an encouraging start to the second half, United scored their fourth goal with 63 minutes gone when a right-wing Sam Walton looping cross found its way past Cooper with just a suggestion of a touch from Piggon but Walton ultimately got the credit and Piggon was denied his hat-trick. Rovers Manager Tony Fontanelle then threw on his substitutes in an effort to turn this game around and, to an extent, this almost realised a point for Rovers. First of all, on 85 minutes and with Rovers in all-out attacking mode, Christopher Regis bagged his first Rovers goal with a close-range effort and, just a minute later, captain and midfielder Charlie Smith’s thunderbolt of a left-foot shot crashed against a post with the United keeper beaten all ends up. There was still time for more Rovers pressure but the away side were unable to conjure anything to trouble the United defence. Tempers got a little frayed and, in a match played in a good spirit, there was still time for both Tshikuna and Kai Phelan to find their way into the referee’s notebook. A case then of what might have been for Rovers with nothing to show in yet another high scoring encounter at Bedworth United. The Rovers management team will no doubt analyse the function of their new defensive formation but, once again, the highlight will be on the lack of quality service to the two main strikers particularly from the wing-back areas. Rovers travel to local rivals Bedford Town in the first of this season’s local derbies this Saturday.

Final Score: Bedworth United 4 (Piggon 25 & 45+1, Parrott 30, Walton 63) Barton Rovers 3 (Tshikuna 39 & 44, Regis 85)

Rovers Team: Cooper, Jibodu (Palmer 80), Ward, Smith, Phelan, Thomas, Andrews, Powell (Regis 69), Williams (Osobu 62), Hall, Tshikuna.

Tshikuna Yellow Card 88 mins, Phelan Yellow Card 90+2 mins.

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