Diamonds deny Kempston

AFC Kempston Rovers v AFC Rushden & Diamonds. Picture: June Essex. PNL-170830-094959002
AFC Kempston Rovers v AFC Rushden & Diamonds. Picture: June Essex. PNL-170830-094959002

Rovers so nearly grabbed all three points against AFC Rushden & Diamonds on a sunny Bank Holiday Monday in front of a bumper 482 crowd at Hillgrounds

Table-toppers Diamonds arrived having won all games in all competitions with only one goal conceded – and that was in a 7-1 win.

Rovers were dealt a blow in just the sixth minute when they failed to clear their lines, allowing Joel Gyasi to tap in .

Ben Shepherd, Robbie Goodman, Ash Fuller and Jake Newman all had chances either just wide or saved by the visiting keeper Ben Heath.

In the 21st minute did find the net. A Ben Shepherd free-kick was nodded back across goal and slotted in by Jake Newman for his sixth goal in as many games. It was the first time he has scored against his former club.

Diamonds had the last clear chance of the half when a free kick caused confusion in the Rovers box, but the ball was eventually blazed over.

Rovers made a change at half-time, bringing Hateley Mercer on for Damon Herbert as part of a defensive reshuffle.

Diamonds thought they had a penalty seven minutes into the half when the ball was played against Alex Stoyles, but the ref rightly agreed that the ball had come off his chest.

After drinks breaks in the stifling heat it was Rovers who found their second wind. After being under pressure for much of the second half, a quick break was flicked on by Jamaine Ivy into the path of Newman, who set up Shepherd. The midfielder bore down on goal but was denied by a desperate challenge.

Shepherd hit the bar with a free-kick in the 80th minute with Heath stranded in goal.

Diamonds responded with two late free-kicks of their own but they ultimately led to nothing.

Rovers nearly stole all three points when a ball floated into the area in stoppage time was met by the diving head of Grant Fryer, only to see the ball fly a whisker wide of the post.

The draw was just about the right result in the end as both sides coped well with the hot conditions to produce a brilliant game of football.

Rovers play host to United Counties League side Wisbech Town in the FA Cup qualifying rounds this Saturday.