Phillips returns to haunt Rovers

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A late double from former Kempston Rovers forward Drew Phillips settled the Bedfordshire derby in Barton Rovers’ favour on Tuesday.

Kempston’s only home league fixture in October ended in a 3-1 defeat as Barton proved too strong at Hillgrounds.

The visitors started brightly and a surging run from James Verney needed smothering in the fifth minute.

Kempston’s first chance was 20 minutes in coming, Nathan Tshikuna curling over the bar after Alex Collard had nodded the ball on.

Moments later, a corner swung in from the right by Josh Crawley required a Barton head to clear to prevent him scoring.

The visitors took the lead on the half-hour mark. A ball was played across the area to Jimmy Hartley and his volley was not the cleanest contact but the ball bounced in off the post with Rovers’ keeper Martin Conway scrambling.

The goal seemed to spark Kempston into more action and they created several decent chances before the break.

Six minutes into the second-half a long ball over the top found Ben Acquaye running beyond the Barton defence. The quick winger broke the offside trap and squared the ball to the waiting Crawley, who bundled home the leveller for his eighth of the season.

Further opportunities came and went for Rovers as Barton soaked up the pressure. The visitors then hit a sucker punch on 72 minutes. Luke Warner-Eley found himself with space on the left and his cross came back off the bar into the path of Phillips, who gleefully tapped home.

As Kempston pressed for an equaliser, gaps opened up at the back. In the last minute of normal time, Phillips fully exploited this by latching on to a long clearance and surged towards goal. With Kempston caught upfield, he was able to place the ball past Conway to seal the victory.

The defeat dropped Kempston one place in the table to 13th. This Saturday they travel to Thame United before another midweek away trip on Tuesday to Sutton Coldfield.