Rovers cement play-off place with solid victory

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Southern League Division One Central: Barton Rovers 4 Kidlington 2

Barton Rovers made hard work of seeing off a resilient 10-man Kidlington at the weekend.

With Jimmy Hartley ruled out injured and Lee Close serving a suspension Rovers were forced to shuffle the pack to the team that beat Histon the week before.

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From the off, Kidlington had the advantage of the wind and made good use of it for the opening exchanges, with the unmarked Anaclet Odhiambo putting a great chance wide.

Connor Calcutt had the ball in the net for Rovers on 24 minutes only to see it rulged out for offside and Kidlington took the lead moments later in somewhat fortuitous fashion as a viciously deflected shot from Lewis Coyle deceived keeper Kyle Forster.

However, recently signing Scott Sinclair levelled things up on the half hour when he powered an effort into the net.

Rovers had the advantage of the wind in the second half and it wasn’t long before Steve Gentle’s towering frame headed home from close range to give put the hosts in front on 56 minutes.

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Kidlington were then reduced to 10 men on the hour as stopper Sam Warrell was shown a straight red for a last man challenge on Calcutt just outside the box.

The resulting free kick came to nothing and from the next Kidlington attack, the visitors were level when Adhiambo beat Forster on 65 minutes.

The lead only lasted a matter of seconds though as Elliot Bailey scored his 15th of the season to give Barton a 3-2 advantage.

Rovers never appeared in trouble from that point and put the result beyond doubt when Sinclair scored his second of the afternoon with five minutes left.

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Assistant boss Mark Boyce said: “The conditions were tricky for us in the first half but we made it difficult for ourselves with a game littered with mistakes.

“We coped better in the second half and I thought we showed that we can finish a game off when needed.

“Scott Sinclair has been a revelation since he joined us and deserved being named man of the match.”

Third-placed Rovers entertain rock bottom Petersfield Town this weekend.