Olney Town – 3
Kempston Rovers – 4
Olney Town put up a resilient fight against higher level and near neighbours Kempston Rovers on Thursday night at East Street; after surviving a tough opening forty-five minutes two quick goals early in the second period seemed to have put the game to bed, but Olney dug in and responded well, and after Kempston were reduced to ten men Town put their guests under some pressure and were mighty close to pulling level.
Rovers attacked from the off and in the second minute a cross was cleared by the home defence to the edge of the box and new signing Callum Lewis thumped at goal only to see the ball rebound off the post, across the goal face and away to an Olney defender who cleared.
Another searching ball then saw Jake Newman in behind the Town backline, his attempted lob over Josh McAdoo dropping just over the top, and Olney’s first sight at goal fell to Josh Crawley who cut in from the right before firing straight at Kempston keeper Tom Wyatt.
McAdoo then denied the opening goal when a ball over his defence saw Jamaine Ivy in on goal but his low drive was well saved by the Town keeper getting down to his right, before Newman then flashed another drive across goal and wide. A couple of crunching tackles in midfield then saw the referee talking to both sets of players before Nathan Tshikuna curled an effort just around the Olney post.
On twenty-eight minutes, a ball threaded between the Kempston back line saw Josh Crawley almost set away on his own but quick reactions from Wyatt saw him race out some twenty-five yards from goal and thump clear, and within a minute his team took the lead at the opposite end when a ball across the Olney area found Tshikuna and he fired inside the near post.
Drew Mitten spear headed an Olney attack ten minutes before the interval, feeding in Josh Crawley on the left but his shot again was collected comfortably by Wyatt, and moments later left back Luca Seminerio brushed the side netting with a low drive.
Jason Crawley thumped an effort over the bar, and seconds before the whistle looked to have equalised when he met a good cross with a powerful header some eight yards from goal, as the ball looked to be heading top corner keeper Wyatt produced a stunning save to palm over his crossbar. H/T: 0-1
Two minutes after the restart Kempston doubled their lead when a shot from Tshikuna squirmed through McAdoo’s gloves, and it was three on fifty-three minutes when Jake Newman collected the ball in midfield and powered his way forward before smashing home from eighteen yards.
Credit to Olney at this stage who rallied and pulled a goal back within three minutes. A ball across the Rovers box saw their defence all rooted claiming offside, but with the flag staying down Jason Crawley collected the ball and slotted home into the bottom corner.
On the hour mark Rob MacDonald seized upon a poor defensive clearance from Kempston, and with an open goal to aim at his effort looked to be heading in from some forty yards however the spin on the ball took it away from goal as it bounced just feet away from the goal line & away to safety.
A flash point on sixty-four minutes saw Ash Fuller red carded after some discussion with several players and the referee, and a minute later Jordan Appleton pulled another goal back for the home side when he was fed in by substitute Vinny Shrives to run in straight on goal and curl around the advancing Rovers keeper.
Just as Olney looked to be turning the game in their favour Kempston hit back, a free kick floated into the Town box saw Grant Fryer rise highest to head home from close range. But with seven minutes remaining MacDonald chased a ball down the Olney left and skipped past the advancing keeper, just as it looked to be a lost cause with the ball running away from the midfielder he somehow from the acutest of angles chipped across goal and into the far corner of the net.
Olney battled hard in the remaining minutes but could not find their equaliser, & had McAdoo to thank for a very late one on one save when a Kempston break away threatened to kill the game off. F/T: 3-4
Olney manager Neil Griffiths spoke to Sports Shots after the game:
For match photography click here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm1iBKS1