Cousins injury casts shadow over game
By Gary Brigden
A Daryl Cooper-Smith deep into stoppage time kept Rovers faint promotion hopes alive, but the draw was overshadowed by a horrible injury to popular fullback Anson Cousins.
There was a certain amount of familiarity between the sides, with former SCR men Kofi Quartey, Dan Jones and Sean Bradley in the squad, alongside Rovers all time leading appearance maker Liam Holden and all time record goalscorer Jay Holden.
Banstead started brightly and almost took the lead inside the opening minute when a tremendous ball by Danny Penfold split Jeff Addo-Dankwa and Aaron Bogle and only a brave save by Michael Eacott prevented Quartey from opening the scoring.
After the initial scare the game settled, and there was very little in the way of goalmouth action. We had a decent chance on nine minutes, Matt Ferdinando released Cooper-Smith on the right, but he was stopped by a well timed challenge by Harry Wise. From the quick throw, Michael Campbell had a shot blocked, before we were caught offside.
Almost immediately, Cooper-Smith proved too strong on the left for Jake Treagus, and although he was fouled the ball found Ferdinando but tried to beat his man and Banstead were able to clear.
It should have been 1-0 on 13 minutes, a deep free-kick by Bogle was headed back across goal by Asa Rixon-Nicholls to Ferdinando and his shot was brilliantly blocked on the line by Daniel Rose.
Banstead almost took the lead on 16 minutes, we were caught over-playing in the middle of the park, Craig Hastings underhit a backpass to Eacott, and Quartey was quick to shut him down, with the ball rebounding wide of the right hand post.
Quartey got away on 28 minutes but Bogle was well positioned to make the clearance and on 36 minutes we went close again when Cooper-Smith nodded back a Ferdinando free kick and the final shot was put wide by Hastings.
Five minutes before the break and Jack Minchin was able to gather a Cooper-Smith header. Cooper-Smith and Ferdinando then linked up to release Campbell but he was adjudged, somewhat harshly to have been fractionally offside. Half time came with the scores level.
Banstead started brightly in the second half and forced an early free kick on the left, it was only half cleared and quickly played back in to Sean Bradley but his volley was comfortable for Eacott.
Ferdinando and Addo-Dankwa then linked up well to fire over a dangerous cross but Nathan Upton did well to clear the danger as the ball headed towards Cooper-Smith, from the clearance Campbell was felled by a poor challenge by Rose.
Darren Salmon made his first change on 48 minutes with Andrew White replacing Matt Ferdinando who was struggling with a dead leg. From the free kick Minchin half cleared, Hastings set the ball back to Cousins, and his loopy cross was headed wide by Cooper-Smith.
Bradley and Holden then combined nicely on 52 minutes with Holden seeing his shot well saved away to his right by Eacott. White then put a free header high over the bar on 55 minutes after a great delivery by Addo-Dankwa.
Cooper-Smith fired a volley wide of the right hand post on the hour, and on 63 minutes, after Addo-Dankwa had lost possession in the middle of the park, Quartey found Bradley, he for probably the first time all night skipped passed Cousins, but his cross was well defended by Hastings.
With twenty five minutes remaining Rovers should have taken the lead. Allen fed Cooper-Smith on the right, his cross found Campbell and his first time effort was superbly saved by Minchin with his feet.
We were starting to exert some pressure and probably having our best spell of the game. A Bogle free kick with twenty minutes remaining found Rixon-Nicholls but he could only put his header wide.
At the other end and Bradley toyed with Hastings before delivering a decent cross which we scrambled clear. With fifteen to go, Rixon-Nicholls again picked out White at the back post but he put his header over the bar, and almost immediately Salmon made his second change introducing Matt Auletta for Hastings, as SCR went for that important goal.
Before the change could have any impact Banstead took the lead, as Holden took aim from 40 yards and sent a looping effort over Eacott and into the back of the net.
White dragged an effort wide of the left hand post on 79 minutes before Salmon made his final change with ten minutes remaining, introducing 17 year old midfielder Mason Seagroatt for the hard-working Farrell.
Bradley did well again on 83 minutes, forcing a corner after a good block by Bogle, and from the corner Allen was on hand to clear the SCR lines.
Rovers finally levelled deep into stoppage time, a deep free-kick by Bogle dropped to Cooper-Smith and his hooked ball into the box was adjudged to have struck the hand of a Banstead defender and Cooper-Smith converted the spot kick.
Rovers regained possession and launched one final attack, Rixon was fouled on the edge of the area, but in attempting to regain the ball Cousins suffered a horrible ankle injury, leading the referee to blow time on proceedings.
Two huge points dropped, and Bedfont Sports now have the luxury of knowing a win from either of their remaining fixtures will put them up.