Cambridge City returned to winning ways as they secured a 1-0 victory over Kempston Rovers.
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City went into the game following 2 straight defeats, and were keen to get back to winning ways against a Kempston side who arrived at Bridge Road in 11th position in the table.
The pre-match talk was all about Josh Simpson as the former City favourite signed on Friday and went straight into the starting line-up. Jordan Gent was unavailable so Adam Capel filled in at centre back and Ross Paterson did the same at left back as he replaced the suspended Jack Wilkinson.
For once, City didnt concede the customary early goal and it was Ryan Sharman who had the best opening of the early exchanges when Josh Oyinsan picked him out, but his effort went wide of the post.
Elsewhere, Simpson was already stamping his authority on the game with a visibly commanding presence in midfield, but it was a cross from Ben Robinson that next caused the Kempston defence problems as he picked out Josh Oyinsan who saw his effort saved by Thomas Wyant in the visitors goal. Simpson went close with a long range effort late in the first half but his shot went over the bar.
The first half was played in heavy rain and as the players emerged from the tunnel for the start of the second period, the rain if anything had got heavier.
But it was City who put the conditions behind them as they started the second half on the front foot, and should have taken the lead when good work from Oyinsan picked out James Hall but he failed to control a close range effort and his shot went over the bar when he should have at least hit the target. Shortly after, and Hall thought he had made the breakthrough but his effort was ruled out for a foul by Josh Oyinsan. Next it was the turn of Nathan Olukanmi as the wide man was played in, but his effort was saved by Wyant.
Despite the chances and superiority from City, Kempston were still in the game and Ben Acquaye was unlucky when his effort from the edge of the area went wide of the post.
The match turned with just over 20 minutes to go when Ben Robinson was upended by Hateley Mercer who was given his marching orders. From the resulting free kick, Adam Capel pressurised a Kempston defender who duly headed it past his own keeper to give City the lead.
The Lilywhites continued to dominate following the goal and Oyinsan forced a good save from Wyant who did well to save and keep City with just the goal advantage.
However, with 10 men Kempston kept at their task and went close to an equaliser when City substitute Isaac Maynard was penalised and Liam Gooch was forced to make a save from the resulting free kick.
It was Maynard who then played in Ryan Towner, but his effort was saved by Wyant. Then, James Hall was played in but his effort went agonisingly past the post for what would have been a deserved second goal for City.
So City return to winning ways and have a difficult trip to fellow top six team Berkhamsted next Saturday. That match coming after a midweek trip to Soham Town Rangers in the Cambs Invitation Cup.
FROM ROBBIE NIGHTINGALE
After the disappointment of last week, it was really important that we returned to winning ways. Kempston are a good side who made things difficult for us. We needed to be patient and wait for the opportunity in difficult conditions. In the second half, we controlled large periods and on chances I think we deserved to win the game.
We played with much more tempo in the second half, which is our trademark. This resulted in us moving the ball around well and how we did that resulted to the opportunity that lead to the goal. The sending off for them was slightly harsh, and I feel for the lad but in this day and age you cannot get away with much but its all down to interpretation. On another day he may have got away with it.
It was a good time to score, and an equally good goal to score. Their guy has headed it into the net and Adam Capel is claiming it but it was good to keep a clean sheet. I thought we defended really well today especially with the changes we have had to make and Liam Gooch has not had a great deal to do.
Josh Simpson did excellent for us. He hasnt played a lot of football recently, but was a real asset to us today and when he is up to speed he will be magnificent for us and we are really grateful that he is back with us. He will be massive benefit for the likes of Isaac Maynard and the other youngsters in the squad.