Bedford lost their first home league game of the season to county rivals Leighton on Saturday afternoon.
The Eagles threw nearly everything at the Leighton goal from the off. Just 35 seconds in, Leighton keeper Dan Child saved from Rob Parker.
Within two minutes, Child was beaten by an angled shot from Aaron King, but the ball was kept out by Mark Bunker’s goal line clearance that hit team mate Chris Crook before rebounding to Sam Macrae, whose own shot hit the side netting.
Josh Winters then sprung the offside trap, and should have done better than the tame shot aimed at Child.
With the game only six minutes old, another attack went begging when Tommy Glasscoe and Aaron King combined, with the latter sending in a low cross from the right to the far post. Tom Liversedge was the target, but as with Macrae, could only hit the side netting.
With such a spirited start, Bedford should have been at least two goals to the good, but instead, fell behind in the 23rd minute when Phil Draycott directed the ball goalwards from a Leighton corner. Joe Hopewell had to hook the ball off the line, and Lester Christian fired the clearance back, from the edge of the area, beating everyone in the area.
The goal took the wind out of the sails of the home side, and it wasn’t until late in the half that the Eagles’ seriously troubled the Leighton defence.
A corner in from the right was head in the right direction by Macrae, only to see another goal line clearance; this time from Tyrone Taylor.
Neil King’s free kick looked too much for the forwards, but Child made a hash of collecting the ball and had to scramble on his hands and knees to beat the ball away. From this clearance, Hopewell tried an audacious lob from 35 yards. Child was beaten and the ball bounced off the top of the bar. Into 1st half stoppage time, Glasscoe, with a venomous shot from the right hand corner of the area, saw it beaten away.
Eight minutes into the second half Bedford went two goals down when Paul Lyon’s run resulted in a cross into the area, and Phil Draycott had the easiest of tap-ins to increase the lead.
Tom Rawlings and Scott Cross were introduced off the bench early in the half, and the former’s twisting run to inside the area, just after the hour mark, turned Alvin Rajaram inside out. After all the good work, Rawlings elected to shoot from an impossible angle when a simple pass into the middle may have produced a more satisfying ending.
Glasscoe and Macrae contrived a 1-2 into the Leighton area, with 20 minutes left on the clock, but the timely intervention of a Leighton defender thwarted the move.
A few minutes on, desperate defending from the visiting side denied shots from Macrae and Cross.
Winters again beat the offside trap, late in the game, but Rajaram raced across to push the ball away.
The last real chance for Bedford came just before the whistle when Russell Bull’s cross was hit wide by Winters. Bedford were punished for not punishing their opponents, and hopefully a valuable lesson has been learned.
Eagles: Lee Crockett, Tommy Glasscoe, Joe Hopewell, Neil King, Jeff Woodward, Paul Cooper, Josh Winters [c], Sam Macrae, Tom Liversedge (Tom Rawlings 54), Aaron King (Scott Cross 59), Rob Parker (Russell Bull 72).
Subs not used: Simon King, Ben Grant.
Reds: Dan Child, Mark Bunker, Alvin Rajaram, Chris Crook, David Murphy [c], Paul Lyon (Gary Ridgeway 67), Jamie Nicholls (Jerry Lyons 90), Lester Christian (Aaron Morgan 62), Tyrone Taylor, Danny Watson, Phil Draycott.
Subs not used: Rory Prendergast, Stephen Kemongoa.
Referee: Mr R Hart, Assistants: Mr W Bright and Mr C Druce.