Southern Premier League
Chesham United 2 Bedford Town 2
An injury time goal denied Bedford a sixth win in a row after the side pulled back from an inauspicious start to take the game by the scruff of the neck at Chesham United on Saturday, writes Roger Worsley.
Boss Nick Platnauer kept the same starting line up that toppled league leaders Stourbridge in midweek, but from the start there was a lacklustre look as Chesham spent a large chunk of the opening 45 minutes inside the Bedford half.
With the home side looking dangerous the Bedford defence had to be in top gear to repel any attacking flow, and in the 17th minute it was no surprise to see the home side take the lead.
A long corner from the right was headed back deep into Eagles territory by Robert Bartley, and although Ollie Wilkinson, under pressure, tried to clear, the ball landed at the feet of James Potton, whose strike from eight yards out flew past everyone and into the top left hand corner.
Two minutes later Bedford were under attack again but this time Josh Beech blocked Daniel Braithwaite’s effort.
The Eagles’ first chance came just before the half hour when Nat Peacock found space to square the ball to Jamaine Ivy who after rounding Braithwaite fired just wide of the left hand post.
An instinctive save from Ian Brown in the 34th minute thwarted a potential second goal for the Generals.
Chris Watters and Simon Thomas combined to set up Danny Talbot, in the Bedford area, and Brown, with no time for thought, spread himself out to deny the midfielder’s close range shot.
After coming second for the first 40 minutes, the last five belonged to the visitors.
Two corners from Ashley Fuller and Eugene Libertucci’s long throwing technique caused consternation in the Chesham defence, and on 41 minutes the Eagles were level.
Peacock laid the ball into the path of Beech, whose determination took him past Braithwaite, and with two other defenders closing in, drilled a low shot from just inside the right side of the area across goal and into the bottom left hand portion of the net.
A couple more corners were forced by Bedford, but the last actions of the first half came from the hosts. Brown got the slightest of touches to a Watters shot and from the corner Callum Lewis cleared a header off the line.
The Eagles came out for the second half looking like the team that have won five in a row and should have taken the lead seven minutes in when Ivy ended his run at the defence with a resplendent pass into space for Mark Bell to run on to. With the defence nowhere and just Shane Gore to beat, Bell hit his shot against the left hand post and watched it bounce across the goal before spinning out for a goal kick.
Ex-Eagle, Michael Lyon squandered a chance at the other end when it looked easier to score but put his header over from 10 yards.
Another glorious chance to take the lead came and went in the 75th minute when Ivy picked up a bad pass from Talbot. The young attacker released his striking partner, and with the defence again missing it was up to Gore to deny Bedford and his actions did enough to force Peacock to stick the ball just wide of the left hand post.
Bedford took the lead with six minutes left with a goal that was strangely reminiscent of Brazil’s fourth in the 1970 World Cup Final.
Gareth Price found Beech, on the left hand corner of the area, who squared the ball to substitute, Nick Beasant, who in turn opted to to lay the ball right and without breaking stride, Bell came racing in to fire the ball across goal and into the net.
As the clocked ticked away and the game entered time added on, Chesham committed everyone forward.
Two minutes in, from a corner, some desperate head tennis ensued with Thomas hitting the top of the bar. From the goal kick the ball was played back and Thomas’ run to the left byline ended with a low cross into the crowded area, that had Michael Chennells stooping to head the ball into the net. Barely 30 seconds later the whistle went for full time and despite the winning run ending, the unbeaten run continues.
Bedford Town: Ian Brown (c), Ollie Wilkinson, Steve Kinniburgh, Eugene Libertucci (Michael Built 64), Josh Beech, Jamie Grimes, Mark Bell, Callum Lewis, Jamaine Ivy (Nick Beasant 75), Nat Peacock (Gareth Price 75), Ashley Fuller.
Subs not used: Dan Crowie, Seb Simpson.
Chesham United: Shane Gore, Scott Thomas, Daniel Braithwaite, Mark Lambert, Robert Bartley (Andrew Fagan 80), Danny Talbot (c), Michael Lyon, James Potton, Chris Watters (Toby Little 74), Simon Thomas, Bruce Wilson (Michael Chennells 70).
Subs not used: Dave Fotheringham, Lewis Rolfe.
Star Man: Callum Lewis.