Bedford Town 2 Maidstone United 3
The Eagles were dumped unceremoniously out of the FA Trophy after they were put to the sword by Ryman Division One South outfit Maidstone United on Saturday afternoon, with another ex-Eagle returning to dish the misery out, writes Roger Worsley.
Boss Nick Platnauer made two changes to the starting line-up with Ollie Wilkinson coming back into the right side of defence and Will Green making his first start in a blue shirt.
Perhaps the team and the fans should have known what was to come on a very blustery and cold afternoon when, with just 18 seconds gone the visitors missed a golden opportunity to take the lead when former striker Ian Draycott crossed in from the left to the totally unmarked Shaun Welford, who, from five yards and with the goal at his mercy, sliced the ball wide.
A glancing header from Nat Peacock following Ashley Fuller’s free kick went just wide of the mark in the ninth minute, and with the half just 13 minutes in a substitution was forced on Platnauer when Green pulled up with a hamstring problem and Jamaine Ivy took his place.
With the wind at their backs, Bedford played too many heavy balls forward and the Maidstone defence were able to easily clear up. For the visitors, the wind provided a vehicle to hold the ball up for the forwards to run on to.
Ian Brown made a comfortable save from the head of Nick Humphrey midway through the half and a minute later another free kick tested the Bedford keeper when he did well to get down to Welford’s shot following another free kick.
The visitors took the lead soon afterwards when a long throw from Alex Flisher was headed on straight into the path of Draycott, whose stooping header hit the back of the net.
Maidstone defender Graeme Andrews was lucky to only receive a yellow card in the 32nd minute when he scythed Peacock down from behind and five minutes later there was more pain and misery for the home side when Josh Beech limped off injured and replaced like-for-like by Dan Crowie.
Bedford’s best chance came with just three minutes of the half remaining when Ivy managed to get the ball back to Callum Lewis, and from 22 yards, he forced a save of Charlie Mitten with a hard and low shot towards the right hand post.
Lewis had Bedford’s first chance of the second half when he was again set up by Ivy, but this time the shot was splayed wide.
A Mark Bell effort went just wide in the 57th minute, but 60 seconds later the deficit was two. A corner from the left was headed to the edge of the area by Tim Olorunda to Welford whose resulting shot was turned into his own net by Ollie Wilkinson, whose efforts to deny the poaching Draycott slapped him in the face.
With Bedford reeling, Flisher was denied by the post three minutes later after an innocuous looking throw found him with acres of space to run at goal.
Brown then made to crucial saves from Olorunda and Welford respectively, but could do nothing to prevent Maidstone’s third goal, in the 77th minute when a long ball forward to Welford bypassed the defence and the striker made no mistake in slotting the ball past the helpless guardian.
The Eagles finally woke and Ashley Fuller had a shot blocked on the line, before in the 81st minute a goal was pulled back when Ivy stabbed the ball home from eight yards when Fuller’s corner caused confusion in the Maidstone defence.
Eagles kept coming back at their opponents and a minute into stoppage time netted again when Steve Kinniburgh’s run down the left was rewarded as his cross was met by and directed into the net by Michael Built.
For the remaining couple of minutes Bedford kept attacking, and even with a couple of free kicks played into the area no equalising goal was forthcoming.
Bedford Town: Ian Brown (C), Ollie Wilkinson, Steve Kinniburgh, Michael Built, Josh Beech (Dan Crowie 37, Eugene Libertucci 87), Jamie Grimes, Mark Bell, Callum Lewis, Nat Peacock, Will Green (Jamaine Ivy 13), Ashley Fuller.
Subs not used: Seb Simpson, Paul Cooper.
Maidstone United: Charlie Mitten, Tommy Osbourne, Tom Mills, Nick Humphrey, Graeme Andrews, Tim Olorunda, Ben Davisson, Kayne Woolery (Sam Bewick 74), Shaun Welford (c), Ian Draycott (Danny Lye 70), Alex Flisher.
Subs not used: Ade Olorunda, Ryan Cooper, Deren Ibrahim.
Referee: Mr I Rathbone.
Assistant Referees: Mr K Seckington, Mr L Kowalewski.
Star Man: Ashley Fuller.