Bedford Town started 2015 in the best possible way after beating St Ives Town 2-0 on New Year’s Day.
The win was especially sweet for Russell Bull, whose brace helped secure the points in this Southern League Division One Central clash for Craig Adams’ boys. Despite scoring on the opening day, the season hasn’t been kind to Bull, as he was forced out of the side, in September, through injury.
Bull may have scored for Bedford after only 45 seconds, after Ross Oulton had given him the ball down the right wing. And only he can say whether the final ball from the right was a cleverly disguised shot, designed to confuse the opponents, or whether his intended cross went unintentionally too near the goal. Either way it didn’t matter, as the cross/shot had to be tipped over the bar by Tim Trebes in the St Ives goal.
Tom Liversedge was the next player to force Trebes into a save, when his stinging shot from the left corner of the area could only be parried. A half clearance from the visitors meant that Bedford came right back at them, and Greg Ling ended the move with a shot that went the wrong side of the left hand post.
The opening goal came in the 24th minute, and the moves that preceded it heightened the anticipation of the Bedford fans. First of all, Tom Liversedge, in the centre circle, intercepted a wayward pass from Will Muzuimbiri. The striker turned provider, as he pushed the ball to the right for Paul Cooper, whose surging run down the right took him to the edge of the area. Cutting in, Cooper’s cross was nearly headed into his own net by Jordan Lambert, but luckily for the defender, went the other side of the post. From the corner, St. Ives cleared, but the pressure was still on, and the ball was eventually played out to Cooper, on the right. One cross to the far post and Russell Bull rose to head the ball into the net. Making his fourth full appearance since coming back from injury, the look on Bull’s face was a picture of joy, as he secured only his second goal of the season.
Three minutes later, Bedford were at it again from a corner. This time, Ling’s effort was blocked on the line.
St Ives slowly got back into the game, dominating the remaining few minutes of the half. In this time, Danzelle St. Louis-Hamilton, making his home debut, saved a 25-yard free kick from Jack Higgs, and on the cusp of half time, the Bedford ‘keeper had to be alert to save another shot from Higgs. This one took a slight deflection, and forced St. Louis-Hamilton save before finally bringing it safely into his hands.
There was a sense of deja-vu with the events that preceded Bedford’s second goal, two minutes into the second half. Like his captain in the 1st half, Charlie De’Ath also nearly headed the ball into his own net whilst attempting to clear a cross, and had to watch as the ball flew across goal before it went off.
The resulting corner from Oulton was powerfully headed goalwards by Liversedge, looking for a seventh goal in four games. This time it didn’t happen. The ball came off the underside of the bar,
And in the ensuing melee, with the St. Ives defence trying to clear, Bull put in his two penn’orth to get the vital touch and push the ball over the line.
For the rest of the half the visitors had to push forward and all Bedford needed to do was defend the lead. For some strange reason, St. Ives didn’t make any vital inroads, and the defence tightened up enough not to panic unnecessarily.
In the dying seconds, Ollie Wilkinson denied Kieran Fitzgerald a clear shot at goal, and the same player a few seconds later was denied by St. Louis-Hamilton’s save.
Frustrating as it is, the Eagles are still in 18th position in the Central Division, but are as much as 13 points above the last relegation place, and just 13 points behind the last playoff position.
Eagles: Danzelle St. Louis-Hamilton, Paul Cooper, Josh McGoldrick, Stuart Smeathers, Jeff Woodward, Ollie Wilkinson [c], Josh Winters, Ross Oulton (Rob Parker 57), Tom Liversedge (Kerran Birch 66), Russell Bull (Joe Holmes 90), Greg Ling.
Sub not used: Sam Macrae.
St. Ives: Tim Trebes, Luke Smith, Jonathan Hall, Jordan Lambert [c], Charlie De’Ath, James Peters (Daniel Moyes 77), Scott Sinclair, Jack Higgs, Will Muzuimbiri (Jonathon Stead ht), Keiran Fitzgerald, Ben Symour-Shove.
Sub not used: Stuart Eason.
Referee: Mr T Hancock.
Assistants: Mr C Darling & Mr A Shaaban.