Bedford Town’s early domination came to nothing as they crumbled to a 4-0 defeat at home to Potters Bar Town on Saturday.
Bedford took the game to their opponents from the start of this Calor Southern League Division One Central fixture, and it looked as though the pain of going out of the FA Cup in midweek would lessen.
Fluent movement through midfield opened up the Potters Bar defence early on, when Tom Liversedge and Sam Macrae combined to allow Russell Bull a chance from the edge of the area. Mike Underwood, in the Scholars’ goal palmed the shot away for a corner.
Bull turned provider a little later, as he also turned his marker, on the left wing, to set up Liversedge, but the striker’s header hit the base of the post before it was cleared.
Liversedge also ran clear of the Potters Bar defence soon after, but the decision to shoot early may have been premature, as Underwood got down comfortably to save.
Then suddenly the game changed. Potters Bar made a rare foray into the Eagles’ half. Alex Shepherd pushed the ball to Josh Hutchinson, and from 18 yards, the centre forward struck a true shot past Lee Crockett and into the roof of the net.
Disbelief was the feeling from the majority of the crowd - incidentally at 225 the biggest in the division for the day.
Surely Bedford would come back. A minute late, Hutchinson tried again, but fired wide from distance. Crockett then tipped another long range shot over the bar, before the second goal came.
A cross from the left evaded the Bedford defence, allowing an unmarked Dipo Akinyemi to hit a first time effort from five yards into the unguarded right portion of the net.
After 31 minutes, it was a matter of time before Bedford scored. Goals for the visitors on 32 and 36 minutes flipped the game completely on its head.
A minute before the break, Neil King’s free kick rebounded in the area, off Tom Boxer and into the arms of a grateful Underwood.
There was disbelief again as Bedford came out for the 2nd half with purpose. Four minutes into the half, and a long ball from the visiting defence, Shepherd found the net from 22 yards with a clinical strike that gave Crockett no chance whatsoever.
Bedford had to come back.
Bull put a centrally placed free kick over the bar, then just after the hour a double substitution changed the formation to 3-4-3 as Scott Cross replaced Bull in a straight swap, whilst Josh Winters came on in attack for defender, Sam Macrae.
Whilst the side were adapting, Crockett had to deny Hutchinson twice; palming a shot round the post or tipping the ball over the bar.
Formation adapted, Bedford looked for the elusive goal. Underwood saved a long range shot from Dan Burke, then Liversedge shot wide.
A passing movement from Cross, Jordan Jarrold and Winters enable King a go, but Underwood saved well.
Underwood was in good form, saving twice from Winters. The first time, the ball came through a crowded area before he deflected it off for a corner, and the second time was when the Bedford support realised that Potters Bar had the pot of gold from the rainbow, and Bedford had run over the leprechaun. Joe Hopewell’s cross from the left found Winters, just six yards out. Winters’ hook shot had goal written all over it until Underwood somehow managed to push the ball over the bar.
Bedford were finally ‘killed off’ with six minutes left, when Hutchinson rode a couple of tackles on the edge of the area before unleashing a shot that flew into the net and had Crockett grasping at air.
Bedford go to Bedworth United on Tuesday evening (September 9) in the league, before hosting Leighton Town on Saturday (September 13) in a rearranged Red Insure League Cup game.
Bedford Town U18s start their own cup campaign on Wednesday evening (September 10), at home to Bugbrooke St Michaels U18s in the preliminary round of the FA Youth Cup.
Eagles: Lee Crockett, Sam Macrae (Josh Winters 64), Jordan Jarrold, Neil King, Jeff Woodward, Dan Burke [c], Tommy Glasscoe, Josh McGoldrick, Tom Liversedge, Russell Bull (Scott Cross 64), Rob Parker (Joe Hopewell 78).
Subs not used: Paul Cooper, Jamie Wright.
Scholars: Mike Underwood, Laurence Rispoli, Matt Clifford, Connor Sullivan, Tom Boxer, Ashley Harrison-Barker [c], Evandro Delgado (George Atkinson 88), Dipo Akinyemi (Spencer Cleland 82), Josh Hutchinson, Alex Shepherd (Tom Laxton 86), Lamar Simpson.
Sub not used: Mark Brown.
Referee: Mr T Donnellan.
Assistants: Mr A Rayment & Mr T Harkin.