Southern League Division East: Barton Rovers 2 Kempston Rovers 2
Barton Rovers bounced back from their 5-2 mauling at the hands of Thame United on Saturday with a battling point during a 2-2 draw at home to local rivals Kempston Rovers on Tuesday night.
It was Kempston, playing with the Barton ‘slope’ first half, who got off on the front foot with early efforts from Jake Newman and Munashe Sundire that failed to trouble keeper Matt Finlay.
Barton striker Drew Phillips wriggled free after 13 minutes but could only find the side-netting.
Straight from the restart, Kempston’s top scorer Jake Newman found himself completely unmarked and cracked home a lovely left-footed strike to put the visitors in front.
Kempston had their tails up and a free-kick from Ben Shepherd forced Finlay into a decent save.
Barton clawed their way into the match when Michael Gyasi, becoming renowned for the quality of his striking from distance, cut inside from his left-wing berth, beat a couple of Kempston defenders and hammered home leaving Martin Conway grasping thin air.
Phillips had another effort that went wide and Darryl Harrison was then cautioned just before half time.
Barton came out with all guns blazing and were by far the better side in the second half as Romaine Walker emphasised that superiority by firing the hosts ahead with a lovely finish that nestled into the far corner.
With games coming thick and fast, both managers committed their full allocation of substitutes and Kempston were forced to play a more open style which gave Barton some breakaway opportunities.
However, the visitors’ pressing proved fruitful when, on 73 minutes, substitute Josh Crawley was afforded too much room and fired a low past Finlay to make it 2-2.
There were chances at both ends late on, but both sides had to make do with a share of the spoils.
The result for Barton, coupled with Arlesey Town’s 2-0 defeat at Aylesbury FC means that Tony Fontanelle’s side are safe from relegation and remain in step four next season.
They visit AFC Dunstable tonight (Thursday), host Aylesbury on Saturday and then travel to Cambridge City on Monday night.
Barton: Finlay, Keating, Harrison, Alban-Jones, Andrews (C), Walker, Verney, Jarvis, Phillips, Hayford, Gyasi.
Subs: Parsons, Lincoln, Naseri, Gould, Fontenelle.